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Lambers and Schepers Combine on No-Hitter to Lead Calvin Doubleheader Sweep of Albion

Friday, April 27, 2012

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Box Score Information

By Andrew Knot

Joe Lambers and Nate Schepers combined for a no-hitter on Friday, helping Calvin to a 6-2 victory over Albion on Friday. The no-hitter is the first by Calvin in an MIAA contest.

A senior at Calvin, Lambers pitched the first five innings, striking out eight and walking two, while Schepers (Holland Christian HS), a freshman, came on to pitch the final two innings, walking one batter.

The no-hitter was the 26th in an MIAA game since 1958 and the first since Hope’s Derek Fairchild tossed a no-no against Albion in 2009. It is also the first combined no-hitter recorded since 1958.

Senior Joe Lambers (Grosse Pointe South HS), pitching for the third time this week, started the game on just three days rest, but was sharp from the first inning. Lambers struck out one and forced two groundouts to conclude the inning in order.

The Knights got on the board in the bottom half of the inning. Grant Van Putten (Holland/Holland Christian HS) knocked a stand-up double to left center and Tyler Tos, batting second in the order, bunted him over to third. Scott Tipton (Stow, OH/Cuyahoga Valley Christian HS) then brought Van Putten around with a single to right. After Tipton advanced to third, Kyle Spoelma (Kentwood/South Christian HS) scored him with a sacrifice flyout. The Knights led 2-0 heading into the second.

Lambers picked up where he left off in the first. He struck out two in the second, third and fourth innings. Through five innings, he had struck out eight and allowed zero hits.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Knights, having added a run in the fourth, scored three additional run. Mike Fuller (Sylvania, OH/Southview HS) had two runs with a single up the middle and Kyle Spoelma scored off a bases-loaded catchers interference ruling.

It wasn’t until the sixth that Lambers showed any sign of fatigue. After walking in a run, Lambers was pulled. He left the field having yet to concede a hit.

But his replacement, Nate Schepers, was equally capable. Schepers escaped the sixth inning jam with just one additional run on the board. Heading into the final frame, Calvin led 6-2.

Schepers kept his momentum alive in the seventh. After walking the second batter, he got Adam Mazza to ground into a double play to end the game and seal a combined no-hitter for Lambers and Schepers.

“It’s been a long week for us, playing eight games,” Coach John Sparks said. “Joe really stepped up and of course Nate came in in relief. Our pitchers did an outstanding job on short rest.”

The victory enhances Lambers’ record to 4-3 and drops Kyle Cassidy, the Britons’ starter, to the same record.

Calvin improves to 12-22 overall and 7-16 in conference. Albion drops to 15-20 overall and 12-11 in the MIAA.

The Knights completed a sweep of Friday’s twinbill with an 11-3 thumping of Albion in game number two.

Similar to the first game, Calvin scored two runs in the bottom of the first. Kyle Spoelma hit a single tight down the left field line to score Tyler Tos. Ben Wohl (Canton/Plymouth HS) then hit a single through the gap at short to score Ben Cok (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS).

Albion came back to take the lead in the coming innings. The Britons tallied a total of three runs in the second and third innings. Grant VanderWall (Wyoming/South Christian HS), who started the game on the mound for the Knights, showed signs of sharpness in the first, but allowed a string of singles in the second, ultimately conceding a run. After two more runs in the third, the Britons led 3-2.

But the Knights came back strong in the next three innings. Calvin scored two runs in the third and fourth innings. Scott Tipton scored after two consecutive wild pitches and Cok scored moments later.

Meanwhile, Nate Schepers, who came in on relief in the first game, had replaced VanderWall. Schepers continued in game one fashion, holding the Britons without a run in the game’s final four innings.

The Knights put the game away in the fifth, when Dan Miedema (Grand Rapids/South Christian HS), Grant Van Putten and Scott Tipton added RBI’s. From there, the Knights would cruise to an 11-3 victory.

Nate Schepers earned the win for the Knights, improving his record to 4-2. Brett Timmer drew the loss for the Britons.

Calvin’s record moved to 13-22 overall and 8-16 in conference with the win. Albion’s record moved to 15-21 and 12-12 in the MIAA.

Coach John Sparks was optimistic about what he saw from his team in the doubleheader.

“We executed well offensively. We got some key hits with guys in scoring position,” he said. “We played good baseball today overall.”

List of Prior No-Hit Games in MIAA Play

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