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Tough opening

Duncan MacLean • Mar 28, 2019 at 12:15 AM

With barely a handful of practice days under its belt, the Spring Lake baseball team traveled to Grand Rapids Christian on Wednesday to open the 2019 season against the Eagles.

While the Lakers had yet to face live batters from the mound, GRCH was suiting up for their third game of the season. The discrepancy showed, as the Eagles slugged their way to a 12-0 win in six innings.

“The weather hasn’t been good, so we haven’t been able to do much of anything,” said Spring Lake head coach Jeff Lindsey. “But, that isn’t an excuse. There are still things we can get done and accomplish. Our strength is supposed to be our pitching and we didn’t show up today. Our top three didn’t do their job.”

Spring Lake managed five hits total, with three coming in the final half inning, as Aaron Waugh, Isiah Lindsey and Mason Holmes all cracked singles to load the bases, only to be stranded to end the game scoreless.

Kenyon Bolling and Connor Saxe knocked singles in the third and fourth innings to round out the Lakers’ hits.

Spring Lake’s mound was a rotating door early as coach Lindsey tried to get as many of his young pitchers in the game as possible.

Zach Foster got the start, giving up four runs in his one inning of play. Trace Van Dyke started the second inning, allowing three runs in two-thirds of an inning. James Duer entered in relief to get the third out before giving up another four runs in the bottom of the third. Lucas Lyyski finished the game, throwing three up, three down in the fourth and letting just one by in the fifth.

The Eagles finished with 12 runs on 13 hits.

“We made sure to play everybody today,” Lindsey said. “I know what Isiah (Lindsey) and Connor Saxe can do for our pitching, so they didn’t throw, but everyone else we are trying to see what we have. We just are trying to get reps. We only play this one game before spring break and then come back and play 15 games in 12 days or something. So, we have to see what we have.

“We got a couple of good signs out of it. I liked Lucas (Lyyski). This was his first time throwing varsity and he showed a lot of poise. Aaron Waugh was nice behind the plate along with Zach Keyser they did a good job. Jimmy Duer threw for us out of the pen last year, but will be a starter this year and he looked good at spots.

“(Grand Rapids Christian) has had two games and they are a very good hitting team from top to bottom. They are pretty stacked. They returned all of their guys from a solid year last year. So, I told the guys this would be a test for us. It was going to go one way or the other, and it went the wrong way.”

The 2019 Spring Lake season may take a while to warm up as a mostly young team finds their best fit on the diamond.

A few familiar faces dot the Laker field as with four starters returning from their regional-finalist team last year.

“It’s a new team. We have to find our identity, bottom line,” Lindsey said. “We have four returners who start. The rest, we have to figure out.”

With one game down, Spring Lake will split for spring break. They return at full-speed with a rivalry doubleheader at Fruitport on April 12. They will follow that up with the Coldwater Tournament before beginning conference play at Sparta on April 15.

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