Norse Baseball takes two from Bobcats

Photo courtesy: Bay College
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MENOMINIE FALLS, Wi. The Bay Norse Baseball Team (8-11-1) would sweep a doubleheader against the Bryant and Stratton Bobcats (4-11) on Saturday afternoon. Bay would collect some late scores and hold on to take a 7-4 victory in the first game before shutting out the Bobcat offense in an 8-0 victory.

BAY COLLEGE - 7, BRYANT AND STRATTON - 4

Offense would come at a premium in the early going, as both teams would be fighting a chilly afternoon in the greater Milwaukee area. The Bobcats would strike first in the bottom of the third. A single and an error on the ensuing sacrifice attempt would set up David Paleo (SO, San Antonio, TX) to drive in the first run with a single to left. Bay would work out of trouble in that inning, and respond in the fourth. With one out Mark Zhang (FR, Canberra, Australia) singled, Flynn Morrison (FR, Melbourne, Australia) doubled, and Ben Schwalbach (SO, Gladstone, MI) lifted a pop up in foul territory on the first base side. As both the first baseman and catcher came together and collided, with the first baseman ma king the catch, Zhang would show some heads up play, noticing the plate was uncovered. He would tag up and score, tying the game at one.

Zhang would get it started again in the sixth with another single. Flynn Morrison (FR, Melbourne, Australia) lined to left for a base hit, and the fielder would mishandle the ball, allowing Zhang to score. A single by Lucas Weinert (FR, Gladstone, MI) sent Morrison to third, allowing Tyler Skufca (SO, Escanaba, MI) to drive him in with a ground ball to short.

Bryant and Stratton answered back in the bottom half of the sixth. Ryan Kalinowski (FR, Oak Creek, WI) followed a leadoff single with a triple to right, and would score on a ground ball, cutting the lead to one. Bay would threaten in the seventh, and two errors would allow them to plate two runs. Skufca would cap off the inning with an RBI single, and Bay would hold a 7-3 lead.

A Bobcat single and double to lead off the bottom of the seventh would chase Norse starter Justin Popelka (SO, Escanaba, MI) from the game. Connor Olson (FR, Washburn, WI) gave up a run with a groundball, and would walk two consecutive batters, loading the bases. He would strike out the next hitter, and induce a game ending groundball to secure the save.

Popelka scattered nine hits, gave up four runs, three earned, while striking out seven and walking no one to earn the win on the mound. Zhang finished two for four with two runs scored, while Morrison collected two hits in three at bats, one of them being a double and would score twice. Schwalbach was credited with two RBI.

GAME 2 - BAY COLLEGE - 8, BRYANT AND STRATTON - 0

The Norse would jump on the Bobcats early in the second game. A couple of errors would plate a run and Weinert contributed an RBI double in the first. A Ty Ziegler (FR, Hortonville, WI) double, coupled with a pair of errors and a sacrifice fly from Zhang added three in the second, while the Norse would add three more in the third. Ziegler would get an RBI on a ground ball to third, Dunn lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, and Zhang doubled down the left field line, and Bay would lead 8-0 after three.

The big story of the game was on the mound for the Norse. Logan Bailey (FR, Sault Ste. Marie, MI) gave up just two hits, no walks, and struck out eight, ending up with the complete game shutout. Bailey would need just 80 pitches to accomplish the feat, and was able to keep the Bobcat hitters off balance throughout.

Dane VanDenHeuvel (FR, Norway, MI) collected two hits in three at bats, scored twice, and stole a base. Dunn and Zhang each drove in two runs.

"Logan Bailey was fantastic today," said Head Coach Mike Pankow. "He was able to locate multiple pitches and give hitters fits all day long. All of our pitchers threw well this weekend, [Justin] Popelka in game one today, and Tyler Skufca yesterday all gave us the opportunity to win games. It was encouraging to see our offense pick them up and score runs this weekend. The approach on the offensive side continues to improve, and the results are showing."

The sweep gives Bay a four game win streak and the Norse have won five of their last six. These two teams postponed Sunday's doubleheader due to frigid temperatures. A makeup date has yet to be announced. Bay is scheduled to travel to Ripon, Wisconsin on April 2 for a doubleheader with the Ripon College JV team. First pitch is scheduled for 2 PM.