Bobcats hold off late Niles rally for victory

Published 9:22 am Friday, March 29, 2019

NILES — Early season baseball is not always a work of art.

Such was the case at Niles High School Wednesday afternoon as visiting Brandywine improved to 2-0 with a 6-5 victory.

It was the season opener for the Vikings, who committed several miscues that could be directly connected to a lack of live-game situations.

But in the end, both teams were glad to have gotten a game in before spring break.

Niles (0-1) despite its miscue, still had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh.

The Vikings, who had cut the lead to 6-5 earlier in the inning, had the bases loaded with two outs.

Bobcat relief pitcher Ty Mickiewicz was able to record the final out and protect Brandywine’s second victory of the young season.

“We made it interesting that is for sure,” said veteran Brandywine coach David Sidenbender. “It was a good game for both of us. I think we both learned some things about our teams.”

Sidenbender said that winning before spring break was important.

“It would have been tough not playing well going to into the break,” he said. “We have done that. It is a lot nicer to go into the break playing well at least in several positions and putting some decent at-bats together too.”

Veteran Niles coach Mike Vota said he learned that his team has a lot of work to do.

“We have a ways to go,” he said. “We have to get a lot better at making the routine plays. We have to throw a lot more strikes as a pitching staff. We have to get a lot more aggressive at the plate. We took too many strikes.”

Vota said all those things are signs of a young team without a lot of varsity experience.

“I told the team, this is our baseline. This is where we start from. We have 37 more games this year and where we go from here will determine what kind of team we become.”

Niles led 1-0 after on inning on a RBI double by Jadon Hainey.

The Bobcats (2-0) would take a 2-1 lead in the third inning on a throwing error and a single by Mickiewicz.

Brandywine increased its advantage to 4-1 as it took advantage of Niles’ second error or the game and a fielder’s choice play that allowed Brock Prenkert to score.

In the bottom of the fourth, Niles cut the Bobcats’ lead to 4-2 with a bases loaded walk to Cade Vota.

Brandywine got the run right back in the top-half of the fifth inning on a single by James Vaughn to make it 5-2.

Niles quickly cut the lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth as Cole Simpson scored on a wild pitch and Trey Knight scored on a steal of home.

The Bobcats were able to produce the winning run in the top of the sixth when Mickiewicz grounded out to second to score Gabe Gouin.

It all came down to final at-bats for the Vikings.

After cutting the Bobcats’ lead to 6-4 on a Vota double that plated Simpson, Niles was able to load the bases with one out.

Mickiewicz recorded a strikeout for the second out of the inning before he induced a ground ball for the final out of the game.

Cam Barrier earned the victory with Mickiewicz picking up the save.

Cole Simpson took the loss for the Vikings.

The Bobcats banged out 11 hits, including two each by Gouin, Mickiewicz and Connor Janowiak.

Vota and Hainey both doubled for the Vikings, who finished with five hits.

Both teams are off until April 9.