Civil War baseball

Posted April 4, 2016

There’s plenty of reason for optimism for the R.A. Long Lumberjacks.

The Lumberjacks showed one facet of why that’s the case in Friday’s Civil War baseball tilt: pitching.

Two sophomores combined for a six-hit shutout and RAL topped crosstown rival Mark Morris 4-0 in front of a packed house at The Lumberyard.

Kaden Vanderwerf threw 5 2/3 innings, striking out four, with Alex Brady completed the shutout with 1 1/3 innings in relief.

“It was a big game, but it came down to a pitching duel,” Vanderwerf said. “(MM starter) Lane Spenker threw a great game right along with me. It came down to who capitalized on the bases.”

At the plate, little happened from either side, however.

RAL (6-2 overall, 3-0 GSHL 2A) only had three hits, but put one on base via an error and also drew eight walks.

Andrew Walling’s RBI single to center that scored Tanner Hulings in the first was the only scoring hit, and even that included an error. After falling in front of MM center fielder Jordan Frost, the ball slipped by the senior’s glove and rolled to the fence as Hulings passed home plate.

Aside from the first-inning hit, Jace Childers took a two-out bases-loaded walk in the third — the fourth in four batters — Jacob Childers hit a grounder to second in the fifth that scored Gunnar Blix, who took a pitch off the helmet to score the final run in the sixth.

Mark Morris (2-3-1, 0-2) stranded eight runners, at least one over each inning. Four Monarchs reached third, but MM lacked the timely bats to drive them in.

“We didn’t capitalize on the opportunities and they (RAL) did,” MM coach Jason Mackey said. “We didn’t have timely hitting. ... We needed that clutch hit.”

Some credit goes to Vanderwerf and Brady.

Vanderwerf let up five hits and three walks but locked it down when needed. He was pulled after two hits allowed in the sixth but it was “pure numbers” because of his rising pitch count, RAL coach Mark Hulings said.

Brady’s only blemishes in the relief performance — a walk and bloop single in the seventh — were negated by a strikeout and grounder to short to end the game.

“You got to trust your defense,” Vanderwerf said of his composure with runners on base, adding he had complete in faith in Brady to complete the shutout. “You got to know when there’s a groundball, they’re going to do something with it.”

Spenker threw 5 1/3 for the Monarchs, allowing three hits and three runs but walked six, including four straight, starting with a hit-by-pitch with two outs in the third.

“I thought Lane did a great job. He battled all game long,” Mackey said. “He had the opportunity to throw in the towel and he didn’t.”

Dawson St. Jean threw 2/3 of an inning, allowing one run, walking two and striking out one.

Easton McClung went 1 for 4 with a stolen base and infield single, Jordan Frost hit 1 for 3, James Manthe went 2 for 3 with two liners to right field and nine-hole hitter Brent Myklebust went 2 for 2 with a walk and a double. The Monarchs committed two errors, resulting in two unearned runs.

“From a team standpoint,” Mackey said, “we definitely have room for improvement. I felt that we played a little sloppy today.”

For R.A. Long, Hulings got hit by a pitch, walked twice and scored two runs. Andrew Walling went 1 for 2 with an RBI and two walks. Jace Childers was 1 for 3 with a stolen base, and Vanderwerf was for 1 for 3 with a run scored.

“It’s a good way to end before spring break,” Coach Hulings said. “There’s great chemistry. ... It’s fun to watch.” (cut/paste in plain text)


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