The Saline Hornet varsity baseball seasons started the season right.
Gage Hammond led off the first inning of the first game of the season with a home run and Saline swept a tripleheader at Blissfield, defeating Monroe Jefferson, 12-2, Fenton, 13-3, and Blissfield, 9-1.
Coach Scott Theisen said he liked what he saw from the Hornets, who made it to the state semifinals last season. He’d been waiting to get a chance to see his kids on the field.
“I wanted to see the kids in action. I’ve seen them in the gym all winter and practicing. It was good to see a lot of different things today,” Theisen said.
In the first game against Jefferson, Eric Berki went five innings for the win. He gave up six hits but walked none. He struck out five.
Both of the runs he gave up were in the bottom of the first.
“He struggled in the first, but he settled in and got his off-speed pitches over. He was solid after that,” Theisen said.
Andrew White and Trent Theisen each went 3-for-3 for Saline. White drove in three runs and scored three runs. Theisen drove in two. AJ Korzuck was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Saline erupted for five runs in the second inning to take command of the game. They added four more in the third and won by mercy rule with two runs in the fifth.
Sophomore Brett Nearing won his first varsity start. Nearing survived a rough first inning, giving up three runs, but shut down the Fenton Tigers for three innings in the 13-3 win.
“He was trying to get his off-speed over and was a little up, but it was his first varsity start and he might have been a little nervous. He settled in and did a good job,” Theisen said.
Nearing gave up six hits, walked two and gave up three earned runs in four innings. He struck out five. Andrew White pitched a scoreless fifth, giving up a hit. Bryan Homberg struck out two in a hitless and scoreless sixth.
The Hornets scored 13 runs on eight hits, eight walks and four Fenton errors.
Trent Theisen’s bases loaded single in the fourth helped bust open the game. AJ Korzuck and John Malbone each scored two runs for Saline. Bryan Homberg also drove in two runs.
Saline moved over to Blissfield’s varsity stadium to play the host Royals, coached by seven-time state champ and Michigan’s all-time wins leader Larry Tuttle.
Junior Michael Hendrickson pitched four innings of hitless baseball for the win. He gave up one unearned run in the fourth inning. The lefty struck out seven and walked two for the victory.
“Hendrickson looked good for his first time out. I think he got a little bothered by the strike zone and let that affect him, but it was a good performance, for sure,” Theisen said.
Trent Theisen went 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored. Shortstop Thomas Miller was 2-for-2 with two RBI and three runs scored. Michael Barnett was 2-for-3 with two RBI and Gage Hammond was 2-or-4 with two runs scored.
The Hornets defense made three errors in three games on a windy day, compared to eight by their opponents.
Senior Gage Hammond said defense and speed are going to be key for the Hornets.
“We might not have a lot of power hitters in the lineup. But we’re fast, athletic and we’re sharp in the field,” Hammond said. “That gives us a big advantage early in the season until our bats really come around.”
The Hornets host Plymouth for a doubleheader Wednesday. The first game is at 4 p.m.