The Lakers made the most of a sparse day at the plate, sweeping the afternoon with a total of seven hits. Their 10 total runs came mostly courtesy of timely Fruitport errors, as they repeatedly threw the ball away on routine and heroic plays alike.
Game 1 was over early, as Spring Lake used a 4-run third inning to pull away in their 7-4 victory. Game 2 was close throughout, as the Trojan pitching staff rose to the occasion. Spring Lake strung together just enough timely hits late in the game to push the 3-2 difference.
“We did some things well today and we did some things not well today,” said Fruitport head coach Nick Reed. “It was two well-played games. Spring Lake is a good team and put the ball in play and made us make plays, and we made some errors.
“If it was Game 35 and we made those, there would be frustration. But, it's Game 5, its 40-degrees out, hands are cold and we are a young team. You have to be able to pick it up and make the play regardless, but we’ve got time.
“We scored a few runs late in Game 1 to try and come back and Game 2 was back-and-forth. We had chances we didn’t get done and that was the difference.”
“It felt great,” said Spring Lake head coach Jeff Lindsey. “We know we have to work on our hitting, so that’s all we’ve done since break. We knew our pitching and defense would come around and it did today.
“Their pitcher was keeping us off balance early, so it was just about timing and seeing the ball. Game 2 we switched the whole lineup, so it was great to see the new kids out there doing their jobs at the end of the game.”
Isiah Lindsey took the win from the mound in Game 1, throwing five innings and giving up one run on four hits with one walk and a pair of strikeouts. Kenyon Bolling picked up the save.
Brodie Boes took the loss for Fruitport, throwing five innings.
The game was decided in the third inning, as the Lakers scraped together four runs on a bevy of Fruitport errors.
Kenyon Bolling kicked things off with a single, before zipping all the way to third base on a wild pick-off attempt by Boes. Jack Leech brought him home on a sacrifice fly to tie the game 1-1. Austin Schubert followed up the score with a single, advancing to third on a single by Zach Keyser.
James Duer hit the basepath to pinch run for Keyser, immediately stealing second base.
Lindsey entered the box with runners on second and third, sending a short single toward third base. Another Trojan error on the pickup turned it into a double, scoring Schubert.
Pierce Glore then played cleanup, cracking a 2 RBI single to score Duer and Lindsey. Mason Holmes added a double before he and Glore were stranded to end the inning.
The Lakers added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning, dulling a Fruitport comeback attempt in the final half inning.
Nick Kleinhecksel started off the Fruitport rally with a double, followed by an RBI double by Jordan Carlisle. Aaron Sander added a single, setting up a sacrifice RBI by Matt Lord. A strikeout and groundout would cut the rally short.
Zach Foster got the win in Game 2, giving up five hits and two walks. Lucas Lyyski pitched well in the save.
Landon Fiesltra pitched well in the loss, throwing four innings and giving up two hits with two walks and one earned run.
Spring Lake took an early lead in the second game, as Duer reached first on a wild pitch, stole second, advanced to third on a Connor Saxe bunt, and flew home on another wild pitch.
Fruitport answered in the second, scoring two to take back the lead. Chase Campbell reached on a two-out single, advancing to second on a single by Luke Hronek. David Ross did the honors, scoring both runners on a single before a groundout ended the inning.
The third inning passed without consequence, setting up a pivotal fourth.
Isiah Lindsey started the inning with a single, streaking to third on a sacrifice bunt by Duer. Saxe did the honors of bringing Lindsey home with a single, aided by a Fruitport error.
Lyyski entered the game in the bottom of the fourth, shutting down any Fruitport hopes of taking back the lead.
Robert Tabor kicked off the decisive sixth inning with a double, aided by yet another Fruitport error on the throw to first. The next at-bat saw a wild pitch, advancing Tabor to third base, where Bolling drove him home with a game-winning single.
“The second game was a good game, a nice back-and-forth,” Reed said. “The guys are learning you have to play 14 innings in a doubleheader and what happens in the first game can’t carry over into the second. That is how you get steamrolled.”
Despite the close contests, the two rival teams left the field in good standing as respected, friendly opponents.
“We want to win games, but this is also about building the love for the game of baseball,” Reed said. “We have a mutual respect for each other and people don’t see that. Jeff (Lindsey) and I have a great relationship, we text weekly and talk ball.
“Luke Hronek had a great day today with four hits, but he plays travel ball with Isiah Lindsey. So, you could see when he got into the batter’s box they were smiling at each other. They are competing hard, but are still friends, and that’s what makes this rivalry good.”
Spring Lake pulls their record to 2-1 with the sweep, while Fruitport is still seeking their first win.
The Lakers return to action today as they travel to the Coldwater tournament at Coldwater High School, while the Trojans will host Allendale for a single game Monday.