“We had our field tarp out there overnight, and we took that off at 8 a.m. and that really helped with the red clay making that playable for the first game,” Grand Haven coach Morey Wagenmaker said. “But the rain just never let up, and the balls got too wet, too heavy for the second game. The thing of it is, once those baseballs get wet, they get heavy, and it’s just not safe for the kids to be throwing a heavy baseball.”
Things looked good for the visiting Lakers early on Saturday as they pushed five runs across the plate in the top of the first inning against Grand Haven starter Mike Ginocchio.
That lead didn’t last long, however, as Lakers’ starter Michael Zietlow also had trouble getting outs. Grand Haven bounced back with three runs in the bottom of the first inning, then five more in the second for an 8-5 advantage.
The teams traded runs until the bottom of the sixth, when Grand Haven exploded for seven more runs to build an 18-8 lead, ending the game.
Wagenmaker praised the mental toughness of his team, particularly Ginocchio, who earned the win on the mound. After a shaky first inning, he settled down and went five innings, allowing five hits, four walks and four earned runs. He struck out a pair.
Danny Cotter pitched a scoreless sixth inning for the Bucs.
“Mike had one of his better games on the mound. He was tough as nails out there,” Wagenmaker said. “The biggest thing is that both teams had to play in those conditions, and we were mentally tough. Mike was mentally tough on the mound, especially after that rough start.”
Jeff Stevens went 4-for-4 for the Buccaneers, including two doubles and four RBIs. Batting second in Grand Haven’s lineup, he also scored three runs.
Matt Kroll went 3-for-4 for the Bucs with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored. Adam Poel had a pair of hits, drove in two runs and scored three times. Doug Zelenka also scored three runs thanks to a base hit and three walks.
Three Spring Lake pitchers combined to issue 12 base-on-balls.
Wagenmaker noted that Will VerDuin played well defensively at first base.
Adam Clauss went 2-for-3 and scored a run for the Lakers. Adam Walling drew three walks and scored twice, while Zietlow was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Michael Dillingham added a pair of RBIs for Spring Lake.
With the win, Grand Haven improves to 4-1 on the season, including 2-0 in O-K Red Conference games. Spring Lake falls to 1-4 on the year.
With several inches of snow on the ground today and rain expected the next two days, the spring sports schedule for the coming week could be thrown into disarray. Wagenmaker said it’s difficult to stay sharp when you can’t get outside to practice.
“It puts you in shut-down mode with the weather,” he said. “You can’t get outdoors to practice, you can’t play games, and you can only do so much indoors. It looks like we should be able to get our game in with Grandville on Thursday.”