The Big Buc Invitational baseball tournament was slated to showcase Grand Haven and three other baseball teams in a celebration of the new spring season, but failure to schedule a fourth team and a failure to show by the third left just one opponent for the Bucs to beat up on.
In an on the fly doubleheader, Grand Haven took both victories by mercy, totaling the day at 29-0 over Fremont in seven innings. The Bucs took Game 1, 14-0, through four innings, and Game 2, 15-0, after three innings, improving their record to 2-3 on the year.
“I expected that we would play good baseball, and that is all I expected,” Grand Haven head coach Mike Hansen said of the schedule change. “I felt good about the way we approached the game. We try to not let those things bother us, we just show up and play ball and have a good time.”
The Bucs certainly showed up in Game 1. Any worries of a lack of focus were erased as they raced to crack 15 hits in four innings of play.
The hitting streak combined with poor Fremont fielding added up to 15 runs to trigger an early mercy.
Leading the clean plate club was Ryan Mattson, who went 3-for-3 at the dish, while driving in three runs. All three trips to the bases ended at home for a run, along with a bonus trip around as a pinch runner.
“Mattson hit the ball real hard all day long. Had a couple doubles and a triple. I was happy about that,” Hansen said.
Jake Hansen followed suit, batting in three runs, going 2-for-4 from the plate, while Brandon Turk finished 2-for-3, batting in two runs and scoring two of his own.
Seven Grand Haven sluggers recorded a hit in their first outing against the Packers.
“The pitchers in the O-K Red have a real firm fastball and know how to pitch and can mix it up,” Hansen said. “Then here today, the kids were still patient looking for a pitch they can hit, I was happy with that, how they adjusted their play based on what was coming at them from the mound.”
A strong day from the mound for Grand Haven complemented the hitting, keeping Fremont far from rounding the bases.
Max Schweikert pitched all four innings in Game 1, giving up three hits and no runs, striking out two.
“I was real happy with our pitchers today,” Hansen said. “Max Schweikert did what Max Schweikert does, just pumping in strikes.”
After a short break for orange slices and electrolytes, the Packers were ready for another crack at getting on the board; one coach Hansen and his team did not take lightly.
“You win the first game 15-0 and I have seen teams drop the second game because you expect the other team to roll over, that just doesn’t happen,” Hansen said. “Go at your business like a professional, we will have a good time but you got to take are of business first.”
Business was taken care of, as the Packers would fail to score once again, this time getting the hook after just three completed innings.
Grand Haven put up 10 runs in the opening inning, held back in the second due to some uncanny fielding by Fremont and a few convenient fly balls. A 5-run third inning put the nail in the coffin, triggering another early mercy rule.
The pair of blowouts served as an angst reliever after Grand Haven dropped three tough games to Hudsonville last week.
“I was proud of the boys today,” Hansen said. They didn’t take anything for granted, they just came out and played baseball.”
The Bucs will play more baseball against O-K Red Conference foe Grandville at home on Tuesday and on the road Thursday.
Junior varsity: The Grand Haven junior varsity baseball team finished 2-0 at the Zeeland East Invitational on Saturday.
The Bucs defeated Lowell in the opening round, and moved on to defeated host Zeeland East, 9-5, in the championship game.
Alex Kapala pitched seven innings against Lowell, striking out five and allowing just two hits. Riley Walcott provided a punch for the Bucs’ offense late in the game with an RBI double.
In the championship game against Zeeland East, Grand Haven racked up nine runs on 11 hits. The Buccaneers pitching proved to be too much for East down the stretch. Starter Caleb King got the win, throwing four and two-thirds stringing out five, while giving up nine hits and five runs. Jax Mast slammed the door shut on East, throwing the final innings of relief, giving up one hit and striking out four.
Freshmen: Grand Haven defeated Mona Shores, 9-4.