Huskies hand Vikings 5-1 setback
Published 9:30 am Thursday, May 19, 2016
Three singles — two of the infield variety — is what Niles managed Wednesday, in a 5-1 Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference baseball loss to visiting Portage Northern.
It was a makeup of the second half of a doubleheader. The Vikings beat the Huskies 5-4 in 14 innings April 27 on Jake Lalone’s walk-off single, but there was not enough daylight left for a second game.
Niles (12-10, 3-7) scored its run Wednesday in the first inning when Drew Huffman walked, stole second base, went to third on Cody Glick’s infield single and scored on an error.
Portage Northern (20-10, 7-3) plated one run in the third inning and four in the fourth.
The Huskies’ first run came when Tommy Henry drew a two-out walk, stole second and came home on Jacob Begawan’s single to left.
Three hits and two Niles errors helped the visitors in the fourth. Ryan Beadle singled to left and Grant McNally was hit by a pitch to open the frame.
After a single by Mike Lincoln (his second of three hits), Noah Hecht put the ball in play and an error allowed Beadle and courtesy runner Andy Barta to score and give the Huskies a 3-1 lead.
Two outs later, an infield single by Henry plated courtesy runner Jesse Liebert (running for Lincoln) and a wild pitch allowed Hecht to score.
Right-hander Lincoln worked the first three innings for Portage Northern.
Lights-out left-hander Henry (5-0), a University of Michigan signee, pitched a hitless fourth, fifth and sixth inning with seven strikeouts. He hit 88 mph on the radar gun in the fourth inning.
Niles chased him in the sixth inning back in April, but he was in command Wednesday.
Liebert tossed a 1-2-3 seventh.
Jacob Ham absorbed the loss for the Vikings.
Niles coach Mike Vota shared that his postgame talk with his team included a conversation about body language and how to handle slumps and adversity.
“We need to compete,” Vota said. “Right now, I’m not happy with the way we’re reacting to those situations. We’re playing to stay in games, but we’re not competing up and down our lineup and consistently enough to win games.
“Call it a killer instinct, a belief, playing for the guys around you and not just yourself. We need to show a lot of improvement over our last couple of weeks to get where we want to be.
“I’m very confident in our kids and I know the ability is here. If we can re-adjust our mindset, we’re going to be just fine.”
Niles plays South Bend St. Joseph in a single game at St. Patrick County Park today.
PORTAGE NORTHERN 5, NILES 1
Northern 001 400 0 – 5 8 1
Niles 100 000 0 – 1 3 3
Mike Lincoln, Tommy Henry (4, W), Jesse Liebert (7); Jacob Hamm (L).
Hits: Lincoln (PN) 3, Ryan Beadle (PN) 2.
2B: Lincoln (PN).
Runs: Henry (PN), Beadle (PN), Andy Barta (PN), Liebert (PN), Noah Hecht (PN), Drew Huffman (N).
RBI: Jacob Begeman (PN).
Varsity records: Portage Northern 20-10 (7-3 SMAC), Niles 12-10 (3-7 SMAC).