Niles baseball splits with Buchanan
Two of southwest Michigan’s perennial baseball powers hooked up in a non-conference early season showdown Thursday.
Visiting Buchanan was able to salvage a split with Niles after the Vikings had shutout the Bucks in the opening game 4-0.
Buchanan (2-1) used a four-run second inning to earn a 6-4 victory in the nightcap and a split.
Drew Huffman allowed just one hit and struck out eight to pick up the mound victory for the Vikings, who are now 3-1 heading into Friday night’s game with Shaker Heights, Ohio at Four Winds Field in South Bend.
Bryce Lake worked the seventh, allowing a hit and striking out one.
Jakob Huffman had a pair of hits, including a double.
Niles also got doubles from Jake Lalone and Austin Curran.
“Drew Huffman threw the ball very well in the first game,” Niles coach Mike Vota said. “Pitched ahead in counts and located two pitches very well. The team did a nice job of manufacturing a few runs against a solid pitcher. Jake Lalone had a great game at the plate and provided us with a real spark.”
Jarrett Thomas worked the first four innings and took the loss for the Bucks. Kyle Leazenby worked the final three innings for Buchanan.
Darren Shearer had three of the Bucks’ seven hits.
In the nightcap, Alex Lindamood picked up the victory with relief help from Leazenby, who came on in the sixth.
Chad Adkerson had a pair of hits for Buchanan, which was outhit by the Vikings 9-7.
“I thought our pitching was good, it was Jarrett’s first outing and he had good velocity,” Buchanan coach Lonnie Hoover said. “Bryce Leazenby and Alex Lindamood threw well. Our bats started to come along in the first game, putting it in play and moving it around in the second game better.”
Cody Glick and Keegan Neumann both doubled for Niles.
Vota said the team has plenty to work on.
“Game two was an obvious defensive struggle in the start,” he said. “We came out with a lack of focus and we must improve our effort in this regard. Also, our batters need to adjust in a more timely manner to how the pitchers were attacking the zone.
“The team did a nice job of staying the course and put up a good battle at the end of the game and this was a positive take away. Keegan Neumann had a nice game from the plate and did a real nice job of moving the baseball and interjecting energy into the team.”
NILES 4-4, BUCHANAN 0-6
Buchanan 000 000 0 – 0 5 1
Niles 003 100 x – 4 7 0
Drew Huffman (W); Jarrett Thomas (L), Kyle Leazenby (5)
2B: Huffman (N), Jake Lalone (N), Austin Curran (N).
Buchanan 040 010 1 – 6 7 1
Niles 000 001 3 – 4 9 2
Alex Lindamood (W), Leazenby (6); Huffman (L), Taunton Stevens (6)
2B: Cody Glick (N), Keegan Neumann (N).
Varsity records: Buchanan 2-1, Niles 3-1.