Posted by Dylan Savela, Manistee News Advocate
ONEKAMA — The West Michigan D League will likely be a battle to the end of the season. So, win early, stay in the hunt.
That’s why when Onekama hosted Manistee Catholic Central on Monday for both teams’ league opener, neither squad gave an inch.
“When you start the league, you’d like to get those early wins,” MCC coach Dave Ranville said after his team split with Onekama. “So to be honest, I think both of us are happy to come out of this with a win tonight.”
After the Sabers won an 8-4 opener, Onekama rebounded with 3-2 victory in the nightcap.
“They’ve got a lot of bounce-back in them,” said Onekama coach John Neph of the Game 2 victory. “They were excited after that one. And it’s such a nice feeling as a coach when you’ve got a team that’s playing for each other, vocalizing and playing hard. That’s the way we were playing that second game.”
Despite Onekama’s 1-0 lead after the first frame of the series, MCC put together a three-run second and a five-run third for a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Paced by a strong performance by Nathan Papes on the mound, the Sabers spread just six hits around the lineup which helped score eight runs. Papes threw 11 strikeouts while allowing five hits and four walks.
“We were up basically most of the way, enough to keep the pressure on them at least,” said Ranville. “We felt pretty good after that first game. I’d like to have a few more hits (than six), but I’ll take that any time if we’re not giving up more.”
Onekama plated three runs in the bottom half of the third, but were unable score the rest of the way.
Stephen Verrett threw the first four innings, allowing eight runs (two earned) on two hits and eight walks with four strikeouts while Dallas Hearit threw the last two frames, allowing just a hit and no runs.
At the plate, Joe Eno batted 2-for-3 including a double.