Bay Norse Baseball wins first game in program history

Photo courtesy: Bay College
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FORT PIERCE, Fl. The Bay Norse Baseball Team (1-5) played a split doubleheader on Tuesday against two JV teams. They would comeback late to win their first of the season by a final score of 11-8 against Western Connecticut State JV. They would then lose a lead late and drop the nightcap in extras. Earlham College JV would take a 5-4 win in ten innings.

GAME 1 - BAY COLLEGE - 11, WESTERN CONNECTICUT STATE JV - 8

The Norse would get on the board first in the third. Lucas Weinert (FR, Gladstone, MI) would reach via error and move to third on an Oliver Dunn (FR, Melbourne, Australia) single. Mark Zhang (FR, Canberra, Australia) would send a fly ball to center that would score Weinert, giving Bay a short-lived lead. Western Connecticut State would respond with a big top of the fourth inning. Six hits, two walks, and two errors would lead to seven runs and chase the Norse starter from the game.

Bay would have a golden opportunity to cut into the lead in the bottom of the fifth. An error and singles by Dunn and Zhang loaded the bases with one out. Flynn Morrison (FR, Melbourne, Australia) would hit a hard liner to center to drive in one run, but a strike out and a hard liner right at the second baseman would leave the bases loaded and Bay trailing 7-2.

The Norse continued to chip away. Owen Hanson (FR, Gladstone, MI) singled and scored on a wild pitch in the sixth. Justin Popelka (SO, Escanaba, MI) lined a single to center in the seventh to drive in a run, and Ben Schwalbach would hit a ball on a line to right that would go off the fielder's glove and plate another run. Hanson followed another Western Connecticut error with a base hit to left and Bay would find themselves down just one run after seven innings.

Western Connecticut would respond in the eighth. Max Gregory (FR, Jewett City, CT) would come up with a clutch hit with two outs, driving in a run with a double to center. Bay's offense was ready to respond again. Four base hits would start the bottom half of the eighth. Zhang would single to plate a run and Morrison would double to deep center, driving in two and reclaiming the lead for the Norse. Morrison would later score on a double steal, as Schwalbach would take second. Hanson knocked a ball into left to drive in the final run of the game. In all Bay would collect six base hits in the bottom of the eighth and plate five runs to take the lead.

Connor Olson (FR, Washburn, WI) would come on in relief in the fourth inning and work four and two thirds to earn the win. He would give up one hit, one earned run, and two walks while striking out six. Alex Morehouse (FR, Sugar Island, MI) worked the ninth for the save. He walked two and struck out two.

Zhang ended the game four for four with two RBI and two runs scored. Dunn and Hanson would both go three for five, while Weinert, Morrison, and Popelka would each collect two hits. Gregory would lead Western Connecticut with three hits in five at bats, a double, and two RBI.

GAME 2 - EARLHAM COLLEGE JV - 5, BAY COLLEGE 4 (10 INNINGS)

Bay College would grab a lead in the first. Two walks and a single would load the bases, and Morrison would lift a sacrifice fly to center to start the scoring. Popelka singled in a second run, and the Norse would hold a two-run lead. Bay would add to their lead in the fifth after two walks. Zhang would double to left to plate a run, but the Norse would just get the one run, stranding two, and holding a 3-0 lead.

Meanwhile Garrett Finkbeiner (SO, Marquette, MI) was putting together a strong outing. He would give up his first hit in the top of the fifth, and finally run into some trouble in the sixth. A walk, an error, and a hit by pitch would load the bases. A sacrifice fly would give up the first run of the game, and a hard single would tie it moments later. Bay College responded in the bottom half. Popelka doubled to center and moved to third on a hit by Schwalbach. Sam McDonald (FR, Traverse City, MI) would show late on a squeeze bunt, but it would be effective as it would not only plate a run, but get passed the pitcher for a base hit. The Norse would have the lead, but once again strand two.

The Norse would hold the lead into the ninth and hand the ball to Kyler Moir (FR, Hillman, MI) to secure the save. A leadoff walk would put that in danger, as Earlham would bunt the runner into scoring position. Cameron McCabe (FR, Union, KY) would come up with the big hit, a single to left that would tie the game. Moir would work out of the inning, but the Norse would not be able to get anything going in the bottom half and it would force extra innings.

The Norse would get a bit of bad luck in the tenth. With one out a ground ball would take a high hop and would go down as an error, putting the go ahead runner on first. A failed pickoff attempt would move him all the way around to third, and a wild pitch would put Earlham on top for the first time of the night. Bay would threaten in the bottom half, using an error and two walks to load the bases with two outs. Pinch hitter Tyler Skufca (SO, Escanaba, MI) would work it to a 2-2 count, but his hard ground ball would be fielded cleanly, ending the Norse threat and the game.

Mason Korhonen (FR, Bark River, MI) would take the loss on the mound working in relief. Moir was credited with a blown save. Finkbeiner would get a no decision after pitching eight innings, giving up three unearned runs, on four hits, one walk, and six strikeouts. Zhang and Popelka would each go two for five with a double and one RBI.

The Norse will be back at Dodgertown in Vero Beach on Wednesday for a doubleheader. They will face Eastern Gateway Community College at 1 PM.