It wasn’t pretty. Games in April seldom are. But Saline defeated Fenton 3-2 to win a long-delayed opening day of the 2018 season.
Fenton scored two runs in the fifth and Saline replied with three runs in the sixth.
Reliever Ryan Steinhauer pitched one shutout inning in relief and earned the victory. Jack O’Keefe pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the save. Senior Cole Daniels was masterful in the opening four innings. Through four, Daniels had a no-hitter and he’d struck out nine of the 12 batters he’d faced.
In the fifth, Fenton manufactured two runs. Henson broke up the no-hitter with bunt to third base. Daniels walked the next batter. After the runner advanced on a wild pitch, Riviera drove him in with a single to right field. Daniels got a double-play ball to Paul Kiyabu at second. Kiyabu and shortstop Noah Nelson turned it perfectly, but a second run scored. Daniels struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Steinhauer entered in the bottom of the sixth and allowed a lead-off single before retiring the next three batters.
Nelson led the bottom of the sixth with a single to right. Jacob Ohren-Hoeft singled to left to put runners on first and second. With one out, O’Keefe walked.
Baldus walked with the bases loaded to score Saline’s first run.
Alex Morrison was hit by a pitch to force in another run. Reagan Miller drove in the game-winning run with a fielder’s choice to short.
O’Keefe pitched the seventh. He gave up a one-out single and then struck out the next battler. O’Keefe induced a grounder to short. Nelson flipped to Kiyabu at second to end the game.
Saline mustered just three hits. Nelson was 2-for-3 with a run scored. Ohren-Hoeft was 1-for-3 with a run scored. Jayden Belskus walked twice.
The second game of the doubleheadwe was called with Saline leading 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth.
Fenton scored in the top of the fourth. Saline scored two runs in the bottom of the inning.
Lance Blaszak was the winning pitcher. He pitched four innings and gave up one unearned run on two hits and five walks. He struck out one. Reagan Miller fanned two of the three batters he faced in the top of the fifth for the save.
Fenton scored in the second with a walk, a sacrifice bunt and then a passed ball that moved the runner to third, before a second walk. Fenton scored with a fielder’s choice.
In the bottom of the inning, Daniels, O’Keefe, and Morrison walked to load the bases. It looked like Fenton might get out of the jam when they forced out Daniels at home on a ground ball. But with two outs, Logan Evans pinch hit and singled, scoring O’Keefe and Morrison.
Saline plays at Chelsea Saturday.
The Hornets host Bedford Monday.