Baseball Splits Twinight Doubleheader With Hope at Fifth Third Park - Clinches MIAA Tournament Berth
Friday, May 03, 2013
By Mark DeHaan
Looking to secure its position in the MIAA Tournament, the Calvin Knights baseball team hosted the Flying Dutchmen of Hope College on Friday afternoon at nearby Fifth Third Ballpark. In order to claim a top-four spot, Calvin had to win at least one game or see Olivet drop at least one game to Kalamazoo. Both scenarios worked out for Calvin on Friday as Kalamazoo defeated Olivet 4-1 earlier in the day while Calvin split its doubleheader with Hope.
In game one, the Knights got off to a tough start, giving Hope a 4-0 lead in the first en route to a 6-5 loss. In game two, it was Calvin that jumped out to an early lead it would not relinquish, scoring six in the first inning on its way to an 8-1 victory.
Hope took an early lead in game one, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning as the Calvin defense committed three errors.
The Flying Dutchmen added to their lead with a run in the top of the second to make the score 5-0. The Knights responded with three runs in the bottom of the third, including a two-run RBI single by freshman Travis Kraai to bring the score to 5-4.
Hope added an insurance run in the fifth to take a 6-4 lead. After scoreless fifth and sixth innings for Calvin, the Knights were able to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Calvin got one run back on a fielder’s choice grounder by junior Steve VanderMolen that brought the score to 6-5 but also gave the Knights two outs. After a walk was issued to sophomore Ben Wohl to again load the bases, Hope pitcher Jordan Carrigan forced the final Calvin batter into a fly-out to right field to bring the game to an end, with Hope taking game one 6-5.
Kraai was 3-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored while sophomore Grant Van Putten was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
For Hope, Alex Hunt was 2-for-3 while pitcher Corey Schmidt went six innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out three.
In game two, it was the Knights jumping out to a substantial early lead.
In the top of the first, Hope scored one run but left the bases loaded as sophomore pitcher Nate Schepers was able to work his way out of a jam.
Calvin responded with six runs in the bottom of the first, capitalizing on three errors by the Flying Dutchmen defense to take a 6-1 lead.
The Knights plated two more runs in the bottom of the third to bring the score to 8-1.
Solid pitching from Schepers and junior pitcher Jeff Victor in relief, as well as perfect defense, allowed Calvin to shut down Hope’s offense and claim a game two victory, 8-1.
In game two, junior Kyle Spoelma was 2-for-3 with a run scored while freshman Jalen Bouma was 2-for-4. Schepers pitched five and two-thirds innings, allowing one earned run and striking out three while Victor pitched one and a third innings of hitless ball.
F or Hope, Eric Dawson was 2-for-4 with the Flying Dutchmen’s lone run scored.
If you take out the first inning and half, (game one) was a really good college baseball game for us. I’m not sure if we were nervous, but once we got settled in I think we played really well. We had a shot there at the end just couldn’t get it done, said head coach John Sparks. (Our momentum) kind of carried into the second game. We jumped on the bats early and (Nate) Schepers pitched real well, he threw a lot of strikes and we played good defense behind him.
The split moves Calvin to 16-21 overall and 15-11 in the MIAA, which clinches a MIAA Tournament berth for the Knights. Hope is now 24-13 and 18-8 in conference. The teams play another doubleheader tomorrow in Holland, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.