Edwardsburg wins district championship
Published 11:46 pm Monday, June 1, 2015
For the second straight year, the Edwardsburg baseball team owned a 5-0 lead in the late innings of a Division II district final against Niles.
Once again the Vikings rallied.
But the comeback fell short Monday as the Eddies held on for a 5-1 win to claim their first district title since 2004.
Edwardsburg, which improved to 22-9, advances to play Vicksburg in a regional semifinal on Saturday around noon at Edwardsburg High School.
Last year, the Eddies fell to the Vikings, 6-5 in 14 innings, in a district final. Edwardsburg led 5-0 after five innings.
On Monday, Niles trailed 5-0 entering the top of the seventh inning. With two outs and a runner on first, the Vikings made things interesting. Jason Hoida singled to put runners on first and third and then Cody Thornton drove in a run with a single. Drew Huffman followed with a single to load the bases and that put the tying run at home plate in Bryce Lake. The suspense then ended as Lake flew out to right field.
“I think we’ve been in either five or six straight district championships and we finally got the monkey off our back and got a district title,” said Edwardsburg baseball coach A.J. Gaideski. “It feels good. Last year, we had the 14-inning marathon game and we had a 5-0 lead and got beat. We had a 5-0 lead this year and I had flashbacks in the last inning. But we did a great job. It was a lot of fun.”
It was no fun for Niles hitting off of Edwardsburg starting pitcher Dalton Raymond. The senior right-hander, who has a side-arm delivery, which is hard on right-handed hitters, allowed seven hits and struck out 10.
“He moved the ball around and changed speeds,” Gaideski said about Raymond’s performance.
“This is big,” said Raymond about winning the district. “I love it. The last three years we got to the district championship game and lost.
“I felt like I was in a zone and I just kept going and pitched well.”
Edwardsburg helped its starting pitcher by scoring early. The Eddies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning as Ben Robertson and Jackson Gaideski each collected an RBI single with two outs.
Raymond’s two-run single in the fifth inning extended the Eddies’ lead to 4-0. Edwardsburg added an unearned run in the sixth.
“(Edwardsburg) threw it better than we did, they played better defense than we did and they hit better than we did,” said Niles baseball coach Mike Vota. “They were the better team.”
In the semifinals, Niles beat Dowagiac, 9-1, and Edwardsburg beat Paw Paw, 5-1.
In the Vikings victory, winning pitcher Wyatt Thornton tossed a three-hitter and struck out nine.
Offensively for Niles, Chris Frantz had a two-run double in a three-run third inning and Alex Hardy collected a two-run single in a four-run fifth inning.
Dowagiac issued seven walks and had two errors, which led to two unearned runs.
“You can’t have errors, mental mistakes and walks,” said Dowagiac baseball coach Dan Schuchardt.
In Edwardsburg’s semifinal win, Joe Raab pitched a two hitter and struck out nine.
Raymond and Derek Pierce each collected an RBI single for the Eddies, who had only three hits. Paw Paw issued six walks and three of those turned into runs. Edwardsburg also scored three unearned runs as the Redskins committed a costly error and had a passed ball.
EDWARDSBURG 5, NILES 1
Niles 000 000 1 — 1 6 2
Edwardsburg 200 021 x — 5 9 1
Jake Huffman (L), Jacob Hamm (5) and Jason Hoida; Dalton Raymond (W, 6-0) and Zach Plummer
2B: Jake Huffman (N)
Varsity records: Niles 25-13, Edwardsburg 22-9
NILES 9, DOWAGIAC 1
Dowagiac 010 000 0 — 1 3 2
Niles 003 042 x — 9 9 0
Daquan Brooks (L), Mason Hojara (5), Brenden Dudley (5) and Aubrey Huston; Wyatt Thornton (W) and Jason Hoida
2B: Chris Frantz (N)
Varsity record: Dowagiac 6-24-1
EDWARDSBURG 5, PAW PAW 1
Paw Paw 010 000 0 — 1 2 1
Edwardsburg 100 220 x — 5 3 2
Jeffery Burch (L), Jack Pelletier (5) and Jay Doll; Joe Raab (W, 8-0), Jesse Reinebold (7) and Zach Plummer
Varsity record: Paw Paw 17-13