Niles takes two from Benton Harbor
BENTON HARBOR — A four-run fourth inning broke open a close game and allowed visiting Niles to earn a SMAC West Division sweep of Benton Harbor Thursday.
Leading just 4-3 entering the top of the fourth, the Vikings scored four runs on four hits.
Tayton Stevens led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice fly by Jake Lalone. After Bryce Lake was hit by a pitch, Drew Huffman singled to load the bases.
Jakob Huffman following with a two-run single to make it 6-3, which was followed by a two-run double to give Niles an 8-3 lead.
The Vikings (7-2, 2-0 West) added a run in the fifth.
Jakob Huffman was 3-for-3 with two RBIs, while Curran was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Drew Huffman also had two hits and drove in a run.
Jacob Hamm worked the first five innings, allowing five runs on five hits with eight strikeouts. Curran worked the final two innings to earn the save.
In the nightcap, Lake and Drew Huffman both had two hits, while Jakob Huffman and Curran each drove in a pair of runs.
Lake, who doubled in the contest, went the distance as he gave up one earned run on five hits with nine strikeouts and no walks.
“Good wins against a much improved Benton Harbor team,” Niles coach Mike Vota said. “The team has been working to improve in the area of defensive execution and put themselves in a much better position to have success. This product was evident with our play against Benton Harbor.”
“Offensively, we were happy with the execution of the game plan. We ran well and moved runners effectively to be in scoring position.”
NILES 9-6, BENTON HARBOR 5-1
At Benton Harbor
Niles 130 410 0 – 9 10 0
B. Harbor 300 020 0 – 5 9 1
Jacob Hamm (W), Austin Curran (S, 6); D. Huruska, Gordon (L, 4).
2B: Curran (N), L. Bland (BH), M. McGee (BH) 2.
Niles 103 100 1 – 6 7 1
B. Harbor 000 010 0 – 1 5 2
Bryce Lake (W); K. Pratt (L).
2B: Lake (N), D. Brown (BH).
Varsity record: Niles 7-2, 2-0 SMAC West.