Saline swept Pioneer to clinch a share of the SEC Red baseball championship Monday. The Hornets won 9-2 and 12-2.
In the opening game, Brendan Nearing (6-0) held the Pioneers to two runs through 5 1/3 innings but with a man on 2nd and 1 out in the 6th inning, older brother (by 4 minutes) Brett (2 saves) came in to shut down the threat, holding the Hornets 4-2 lead. Saline scored 5 runs in the bottom of the 6th to open the game up with a 9-2 lead and Brett finished off the 7th to secure the win. Brendan finished his day allowing 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 8.
After an unearned run in the first gave the Pioneers a 1-0 lead, Senior Michael Hendrickson hit his first home run of the year to lead off the second and tied the game at one. In the 3rd, Trent Theisen followed a Thomas Miller single with his second home run of the year and a 3-1 lead that the Hornets did not relinquish. A double by Hendrickson and a Zachary Owings ground out produced another run and extended the Hornets lead to 4-1 to end the 3rd. That would be all the scoring until the bottom of the 6th. Senior Michael Barnett, Senior John Malbone, Joey Sweigart all singled to load the bases. Thomas Miller hit a two-run single and Josh Smith drove in a run with a sac fly. Then an error by the right fielder off the bat of Brandon Baldus scored two more runs to make it 9-2.
The second game proved much the same as Saline's pitching dominated the opponent, Senior Matt Willis (6-1) pitched 4 innings of one-run baseball and Andrew Bennett-Belch closed it out with an inning of relief. The Hornets took no prisoners with a nine-run first-inning outburst. 13 hitters went to the plate in the inning. Joey Sweigart walked, Thomas Miller singled, Trent Theisen drove in two with a single, Josh Smith doubled in a run, and Michael Hendrickson walked as the first five batters reached base. A Zachary Owings single plated two runs. John Malbone walked and Sweigart singled in a run and Miller got his second hit of the inning driving in two. Theisen finished the scoring with a single and RBI giving him two hits and 3 RBI in the inning. The 4th inning brought life back into the Hornets as they scored three runs after two were out. Jacob Porada singled, Barnett singled to score Porada, followed by a Malbone walk. Richard Hovde had an RBI double and Malbone scored the 12th and final run to finish the Hornet mercy rule five-inning win.
It was senior night at the complex and the seniors did the team proud. Matt Willis won game two . The other seniors combined to reach base 14 times and score 10 runs.
Thank you SENIORs
What a great year but we are not done yet.