Niles drops pair to BerrienPublished 11:02pm Thursday, May 10, 2012
BERRIEN SPRINGS — Niles was unable to hold on to a lead in its high school baseball doubleheader Thursday against Berrien Springs. The Vikings fell in game one, 4-3, after holding a 3-1 lead entering the bottom of the seventh inning.
In game two, Niles held a 5-4 lead entering the bottom of the fifth before falling, 10-8.
“It’s kind of the story of where we are right now,” said Niles coach Mike Vota, whose team dropped to 10-12. “We need to get a lot better and we have a short time to do it.”
Trailing 1-0 in game one, the Vikings scored three runs in the sixth inning. Mitchell Dehn’s RBI single tied the game at 1 and pinch-hitter Alec Landon delivered a clutch two-run single to give Niles a 3-1 lead.
“It’s tough for anyone to come in and get a pinch-hit when you’ve been sitting on the bench watching the game,” Vota said. “But, we think (Landon) is capable of doing it and that’s why we put him there and he did a nice job.”
In the bottom of the seventh, Niles never got an out as Berrien Springs got an RBI single from Everrett Shembarger and game-winning two-run single from Kyle Rago.
“We got ahead in the first game and showed some character as far as coming up big in a big situation, offensively,” Vota said. “Then, we gave it back right away defensively.”
Taylor Campbell and Dehn each collected two hits in game one for Niles. Vikings starting pitcher Tate Rudlaff allowed one earned run and four hits over five innings.
In game two, the Shamrocks got a two-run homer from Rago in a three-run first inning. The Vikings bounced back with four runs in the second inning with Tyler Parish’s three-run homer highlighting the inning. Rago’s sacrifice fly for Berrien Springs in the second tied the game at 4. Matthew McLaughlin’s solo homer gave Niles back the lead at 5-4 in the fifth inning. But that lead was erased quickly as Berrien Springs scored six runs in the bottom of the fifth. In that inning, the Shamrocks got a two-run single from Padla and RBI singles from Rago, Nathan Dennis and Everrett Shembarger.
“Our pitching was inconsistent,” Vota said about his team’s play in the second game. “We didn’t get ahead of batters and those guys don’t have the kind of stuff to succeed pitching 2-0 and 3-1. They have to get ahead.”
Parish’s RBI single pulled Niles within 10-6 in the sixth inning. The Vikings then made things interesting in the seventh inning. Chris Mangus’ RBI single cut Berrien Springs’ lead to 10-7 and a run scored on a wild pitch to make the score 10-8. With a runner on third and two outs, Dehn came up representing the tying run. Berrien Springs coach John Donley brought in Jake Wold and he retired Dehn on a groundout to end Niles’ comeback.
“(Wold) throws a little harder than Everrett (Shembarger) throws and we just wanted to give them another look,” Donley said about the move.
Parish collected three hits, while Mangus and McLaughlin each collected two in the second game for Niles. McLaughlin also walked twice and stole three bases.
“We’ve got a couple guys swinging the bat pretty decent right now,” Vota said. “It’s not a panic-mode situation. We just need to get three or four other guys going with them.”
Rago had four hits and seven RBIs in the doubleheader for the Shamrocks.
“He’s been swinging the bat well, but not as good as we thought he was going to,” Donley said. “Today, he looked more like the hitter we thought he was going to be.”
Niles 000 003 0 – 3 6 0
Berrien 000 010 3 – 4 8 4
Tate Rudlaff, Tyler Clutter (6-L) and Connor Glick; Alex Padla (W) and Matt Rudlaff
Niles 040 011 2 – 8 9 1
Berrien 310 060 x – 10 11 2
Jake Brentlinger (L), Tyler Parish (5) and Parish, Connor Glick (5); Andrew Simpson, Anderson Burton (2-W), Everrett Shembarger (6), Jake Wold (7-S) and Matt Rudlaff
2B: Chris Mangus (N), Alex Padla (B)
HR: Tyler Parish (N), Matthew McLaughlin (N), Kyle Rago (B)
Niles 10-12, Berrien Springs 13-6