Division 2 Regional: Vikings no strangers to ColdwaterPublished 12:05pm Thursday, June 5, 2014
For the first time since 2011, the Niles baseball team will compete in the Division 2 Regional.
The Vikings will travel to Otsego where they will face Big 16 foe Coldwater in the second semifinal at approximately noon. Lakeshore and Gull Lake, also members of the Big 16, will square off in the first semifinal at 10 a.m.
The championship game is scheduled for approximately 2 p.m.
It wasn’t easy for Niles (24-11) to get to the regional.
The Vikings had to rally to beat Dowagiac 8-5 in the district semifinal before rallying to defeat Edwardsburg 7-6 in the 14-inning championship game.
While Niles is making its first appearance in three years, the Cardinals are headed to their third consecutive regional.
Coldwater also had to rally to win its district title.
The Cardinals trailed 4-2 heading into the seventh before exploding for seven runs and defeating Sturgis 9-4.
The Cardinals defeated Parchment 4-0 in the district semifinals.
“They have a solid line-up,” Niles coach Mike Vota said. “They move the baseball well throughout their line up.”
Vota and the Vikings are no strangers to Coldwater, having lost to them 4-3 at the Cardinals’ tournament back in mid-April.
Randall Linton is the top pitcher for Coldwater with a 6-3 record and an ERA of 2.25. He has 32 strikeouts this season.
Grant Mauer is 4-3 with an ERA of 1.32 with 38 strikeouts, while Brandon Lewis and Jordan Butler are both 3-3. Butler earned the victory in the district championship game. Mauer tossed a five-hit shutout against Parchment.
Offensively for the Cardinals, Michael Gillette is hitting .423 with a pair of doubles, a triple and six RBIs. Ryan Mock is hitting .388 with five doubles and 35 RBIs, while Mauer is hitting .312 with three doubles, two triples, a home run and 35 RBIs.
Niles and Coldwater have common opponents in Portage Northern, Kalamazoo Central and Mattawan, among others.
The Cardinals swept Kalamazoo Central, Battle Creek Lakeview and Mattawan. Portage Northern swept Coldwater.
Niles was swept by Northern, while it split with the Wildcats and Spartans. The Vikings swept the Maroon Giants.
Vota said that Gull Lake is the favorite to come out of the other semifinal.
“But don’t count Lakeshore out, especially after upsetting rival St. Joe,” he said.