Lansing Christian vs. Fowler – – MHSAA Regional Baseball Semifinal – – The Bleacher Denizen – – June 7, 2023 – – by Chuck Krafft
Today, your Bleacher Denizen is off to Fowler to watch as the Eagles take on the Pilgrims of Lansing Christian to see who will advance to the Regional Final in Holt on Saturday.
While we wait for the game to start, I hope you will enjoy “Seeman”, a German language hit in America in 1960, which Nikki Zeeb sang for my You Tube Channel. She does a great job. I sing some of the harmonies and play some of the keyboards. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMKyjkZVmW0
The trip from South Lansing (just a mile from Lansing Christian) to Fowler went really smoothly as it was a beautiful day to ride as well as to take in a ball game.
Fowler will be the visiting team and bat first. (In Fowler. The mind boggles. Some day, hopefully, the Bleacher Denizen will understand all the mysteries of the high school baseball universe!!) Lansing Christian will be the home team.
Here are the starting lineups:
Connor Katich c
Carter Lance cf
Sam Vanneste p
Evan Curtiss 1b
Adyn O’Rourke dh
Mitchell Wirth 2b
Trevor Spicer rf
Hudson Schlak 3b
John Ruiz lf
Noah Schafer will play shortstop, but will not bat.
LANSING CHRISTIAN PILGRIMS:
Asa Harvey cf
Trevor Orton 2b
Noah Link ss
Jackson Titus 3b
Dylan Kinnas 1b
Brayden Moore c
Ethan Shank rf
Will Marl dh
Bradin Balogh lf
Ethan Damesworth will pitch, but will not bat.
It is now time to review the events of this game through the somewhat observant (hopefully) eyes of an aging Bleacher Denizen who did not have much of a career when he attempted to play baseball in the days of yore. Things went downhill as soon as the baseball powers that be decreed that the Bleacher Denizen would not be allowed to carry a bushel basket to help him catch balls in the outfield. Life is tough sometimes, I guess.
Connor Katich walked to lead off the top of the first inning for the Eagles. Pilgrim Left Fielder Bradin Balogh made a long run and dove to catch the ball; he caught it and held it long enough for the umpire to call the out. There was confusion as to whether he was safe or out; in that confusion, the Pilgrims were able to double the Eagle runner off first base. (Your Bleacher Denizen is not completely sure of what happened; the players on the field were not the only ones who were confused. This is my best interpretation.) Pilgrim Pitcher Ethan Damesworth retired the next batter on a fly to right field to end the inning.
Fowler Pitcher Sam Vanneste retired the three Lansing Christian batters in the bottom of the first inning on a strikeout, a groundout to the shortstop and a fly to left field.
Evan Curtiss, Adyn O’Rourke and Mitchell Wirth each walked to lead off the top of the second inning for Fowler. With the bases loaded and no one out, Pilgrim Pitcher Ethan Damesworth got to work. Trevor Spicer was safe at first and the runner was forced out at home on a fielder’s choice grounder to the shortstop. Adyn O’Rourke advanced to third base and Mitchell Wirth to second base on the play. Ethan Damesworth struck out the next Eagle hitter. The Eagles made their third out when Pilgrim Second Baseman Trevor Orton caught a fly at his shoestrings.
Kudos to Ethan Damesworth for getting his team out of a bases loaded – no one out jam with no one scoring!!
Eagle Pitcher Sam Vanneste struck out the Pilgrim leadoff batter in the bottom of the second inning. Dylan Kinnas hit a single. (Negative kudos to the Bleacher Denizen for forgetting to note where the single was hit.) Eagle Left Fielder John Ruiz made a nice running catch to record the second out. Eagle Shortstop Noah Schafer made a fine backhanded stop and threw the runner out at first base to record the third Pilgrim out.
After two full innings, the teams were tied at 0-0.
Ethan Damesworth struck out the Fowler leadoff hitter in the top of the third inning. Carter Lance hit a solid single to center field and advanced to second base on a balk. Pilgrim First Baseman Dylan Kinnas made a nice catch running back in the outfield to record the second Eagle out of the inning. Babe Curtiss stepped to the plate and belted it out of the park in center field to score two runs for Fowler. (Sorry, his name is actually Evan, but after seeing him belt a lot of home runs these last two years, it’s a natural mistake. I hope I’ll be forgiven.) Ethan Damesworth struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Fowler scored two runs in the top of the third inning to go into a 2-0 lead.
Sam Vanneste retired the Pilgrim leadoff batter in the bottom of the third inning on a groundout to third base. Bradin Balogh beat out a soft fly that strategically landed between the pitcher, shortstop and second baseman for a single. John Ruiz went back into deep left field to catch a drive by Asa Harvey for the second out. The Pilgrims made their third out on a grounder to the shortstop.
Despite a great diving effort by Christian Center Fielder Asa Harvey, Mitchell Wirth hit a leadoff double to open the top of the fourth inning for Fowler. Mitchell Wirth advanced to third base on a wild pitch. Ethan Damesworth struck out the next Eagle hitter. Mitchell Wirth scored on a wild pitch. Ethan Damesworth retired the next two Eagle batters on a strikeout and a grounder to shortstop to end the inning.
Fowler scored one run in the top of the third inning to push its lead to 3-0.
Noah Link doubled to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning for Christian. Sam Vanneste struck out the next Pilgrim hitter. Noah Link took third base on a groundout to third base by Dylan Kinnas. Sam Vanneste struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Ethan Damesworth retired all three Fowler hitters in the top of the fifth inning on a strikeout, a groundout to first base and a mystery out that your aging Bleacher Denizen failed to write in his notes. (If I had dentures, maybe I could blame my attention slip on that! However, just like in this song from his You Tube Channel, perhaps your Bleacher Denizen is just “Too Old to Cut the Mustard.”) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6GOgZAHqxI
Sam Vanneste ignored the Bleacher Denizen’s angst about missing a play in the top of the fifth inning and retired the three Pilgrim hitters in the bottom of the fifth inning on a groundout to shortstop, a groundout to second base and a fly to right field.
Evan Curtiss was intentionally walked to open the top of the sixth inning for Fowler. Evan Curtiss took second base on a wild pitch. Adyn O’Rourke walked. Mitchell Wirth sharply lined out to Pilgrim Shortstop Noah Link, who stepped on second base to double off the runner before anyone could react. Ethan Damesworth retired the next Eagle batter on a grounder to third base to end the inning.
Sam Vanneste retired the Pilgrim leadoff batter on a bouncer to the mound. Trevor Orton singled to left field. Sam Vanneste retired the next two batters on a popup to first base and a grounder to third base to end the inning.
With six innings in the books, Fowler had a 3-0 lead.
Will Marl came into the game to pitch for Lansing Christian.
Hudson Schlak led off the top of the seventh inning for Fowler by being hit by a pitch and went to second base on a sacrifice bunt by John Ruiz. Will Marl retired the next Eagle hitter on a foul popup to third base. Pilgrim Center Fielder Asa Harvey made a great diving effort on a drive by Carter Lance but the ball dropped in deep center field; Hudson Schlak scored and Carter Lance was safe at third with a triple.
Sam Vanneste walked. Evan Curtiss was intentionally walked to load the bases. Carter Lance scored on a wild pitch as Sam Vanneste went to third base and Evan Curtiss to second. Fowler made the third out of the inning on a grounder to second base.
Fowler scored two runs in the top of the seventh inning to extend its lead to 5-0.
Sam Vanneste retired the Pilgrim leadoff batter in the bottom of the second inning on a groundout to second base. Brayden Moore belted a triple. Ethan Shank beat out an infield single and Brayden Moore scored. Christian made its second out on a fly to the shortstop. Bradin Balogh was safe on an error and Ethan Shank advanced to second base.
With a 3-1 count on Asa Harvey, Fowler made a pitching change (probably related to Sam Vanneste’s pitch count.) Evan Curtiss came in to pitch, Adyn O’Rourke came in to play first base and Sam Vanneste moved to shortstop.
Asa Harvey was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Trevor Orton singled to center field to drive in Ethan Shank and Bradin Balogh. Asa Harvey went to second on the play as Christian slashed the Fowler lead to two runs and had the tying run on base.
Christian made its third out on a fly to left field to end the game.
Fowler won this game 5-3 and will play Muskegon Catholic Central in Saturday’s Regional Final.
Brayden Moore had a triple for Lansing Christian. Noah Link had a double. Trevor Orton had two singles and two RBI. Ethan Shank had a single and one RBI. Dylan Kinnas and Bradin Balogh each had a single.
Ethan Damesworth pitched six innings for the Pilgrims. He gave up three runs and three hits while striking out six Eagle batters.
Evan Curtiss had a home run and two RBI for Fowler. Carter Lance had a triple, a single and one RBI. Mitchell Wirth had a double.
Sam Vanneste pitched six and two thirds innings for Fowler. He gave up three runs and six hits while striking out four Eagle hitters. Only one of the runs scored was an earned run. Evan Curtiss came on to get the final out.