The Vikings’ Hunter Holzapfel sets to field a ground ball against Lakeshore Monday afternoon. Niles and the Lancers split a SMAC West Division doubleheader. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)
The Vikings’ Hunter Holzapfel sets to field a ground ball against Lakeshore Monday afternoon. Niles and the Lancers split a SMAC West Division doubleheader. (Leader photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Archived Story

Vikings split with Lancers

Published 10:13pm Monday, April 22, 2013

Niles junior Tate Brawley is generally regarded as one of the area’s top young pitchers.

Monday afternoon, the right-hander validated that thought.

Brawley was brilliant in the second game of a Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference West Division doubleheader against visiting Lakeshore, checking the Lancers on just three hits. Brawley struck out 12 Lakeshore hitters, yielded just one walk and the Vikings salvaged a split with an 8-2 victory.

Lakeshore left-hander Josh Foster hurled a two-hitter in the opener to lead Lakeshore to a 2-0 win.

Brawley followed his one-hit SMAC West victory last week against Mattawan with a masterful performance against Lakeshore, drawing the praise of Niles head coach Mike Vota.

“This is Tate’s second good outing in a row,” Vota said. “He sets up his pitches well and throws multiple pitches for strikes in any count. I love the way he works. He just goes out, keeps pounding the hitters and attacking the strike zone.”

“Tate pitched great,” Lakeshore head coach Mark Nate added. “He controlled everything and deserved to win.”

Niles supported Brawley by scoring three runs in the first inning of the nightcap, and then tacked on five more in the sixth.

After a leadoff triple by junior Tate Rudlaff, Brawley’s ground ball plated him to tie the score at 1-1. Singles by Chris Mangus and Mitchell Dehn then gave way to a two-run double by junior Connor Glick and the Vikings never looked back.

Rudlaff added a three-run double in the sixth inning and Mangus’ single scored him two batters later.

“Our philosophy on hitting is to attack,” Vota said. “We have cut down on our strikeouts from last year. That was a big goal of ours and we need to continue it. You do that by attacking pitchers early in counts.”

Niles was unable to muster much offense against Foster in the opener, who benefited from three doubleplays turned by fielders behind him. Dehn collected both hits for Niles, while the Lancers scored single runs in the second and seventh innings.

Dehn matched Foster’s performance during an effective six-inning stint, but Vota pulled the senior right-hander in favor of junior Hunter Holzapfel in the seventh.

Dehn yielded just three hits, struck out seven Lancers and walked three.

“Early in the year, we’re here to protect arms,” Vota said.”The guys work hard while they’re out there and they trust what we do.

“(Foster) attacked the zone, for the most part, and stayed on the outside half (of the plate) for the most part. We just never really got dialed in to him and balls that we did hit hard were right at people.”

“If he throws his 2-3 pitches for strikes, he’s effective,” Nate said about Foster. “He’s worked hard. He settled in pretty nice and did a great job.


First game

Lakeshore 010 000 1 – 2 5 1

Niles 000 000 0 – 0 2 2

Josh Foster (W) and Jared Schlender; Mitchell Dehn (L), Hunter Holzapfel (7) and Chris Mangus

Lakeshore hits: Johnny Nate 2, Brad Newman, Eric Vigansky 2

Niles hits: Dehn 2


Second game

Lakeshore 100 001 0 – 2 3 1

Niles 300 005 x – 8 8 1

Brock Emery (L), Elliot Lemon (6) and Schlender; Tate Brawley (W) and Connor Glick

Lakeshore hits: Nate, Schlender, Erik Schmidt

Niles hits: Tate Rudlaff 2 (double, triple), Mangus 2, Dehn, Glick (double), Jacob Brentlinger, Landon Kulwicki.

Varsity records: Lakeshore 5-4, 2-2 SMAC West), Niles 4-4, 2-2 SMAC West)


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