Extra effort

Big Rapids takes down Morley Stanwood in 14-inning marathon, 3-2

MORLEY — From weather delays to an unstable lineup, nothing has seemed to come easy for the Big Rapids baseball team this season. So it’s not entirely surprising that it took the Cardinals 14 innings to get their first win of the season on Tuesday against previously unbeaten Morley Stanwood.

HE’S OUT: Morley Stanwood’s Corey Near (13) looks up to the umpire after sliding into second base, while Big Rapids’ Caleb Childers waits for the decision. (Pioneer photos/Martin Slagter)

Trailing 2-0 going into the bottom of the decisive seventh inning, Big Rapids’ Caleb Childers drilled a two RBI single to tie the game, sending it into extra innings.

From there, relief pitchers Jack Weisenburger — who started the rally in the bottom of the seventh with a base hit — and Morley Stanwood’s Andy Molitor turned the game into a pitcher’s duel.

Both pitchers went the final six innings before Weisenburger helped his own cause in the top of the 14th inning with a leadoff double. He would later score on a wild pitch that proved to be the game winning run in a 3-2 win for the Cardinals (1-4). The two teams got in four innings of a nightcap of the doubleheader, but it was called off after four innings with the score tied 0-0. The game will be completed at a later date.

“It’s only fitting that we would have to go 14 innings with the way things have been going,” Big Rapids coach Ben Oleson said. “Last week we were without some guys. We had guys back in their actual positions. (Tuesday) I thought we really showed up.”

Morley Stanwood (6-1, 6-1) got another quality start from Huntey, who gave up just four hits in seven innings while giving up two earned runs, while Molitor gave up just one hit and struck out seven in seven innings of relief.

“(Pitching and defense) have been our staples all year,” Morley Stanwood coach Josh Bull said. “I thought we got two really quality performances from our pitchers. How many times to do you see a high school game go 14 innings. I thought Chase Huntey was excellent and kept guys off balance.”

Bull said the game was a matter of inches following Childers’ grounder in the seventh that was just out of the reach of the Mohawks’ Mike Carey. In the end, Bull was happy with the execution of his team all evening despite the loss.

“From a game standpoint, we played really quick,” he said. “In just over three hours we played 14 innings. I thought both teams were exceptional and moved quickly. Big Rapids, to their credit, fielded the ball really well.”

Weisenburger picked up the win in relief, going six innings, while striking out nine batters and issuing three walks. Sterling Brinker was solid in the start for the Cardinals, going eight innings and striking out seven while giving up two runs.

Oleson said he was impressed with the freshman Weisenburger’s composure in helping the Cardinals to victory.

“For Jack to come out and throw six really solid innings, and then basically get the game-winning hit, he’s got a lot of really good things going on,” he said. “He’s only a freshman, but he doesn’t look like it. To get the big hits down the stretch like that shows a lot of maturity for a young man. You could tell he was really enjoying being in that situation.”

Huntey put the Mohawks up 2-0 in the first game with a two RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning. Corey Near, Tanner Havens, Cody Hollister, Tim Cairnduff and Molitor each had hits in the loss. Big Rapids got three hits from Weisenburger, while Maverick Steffes and Childers also added hits.

The second game saw the two teams continue to duel on the mound, as Josh Batenburg and Cairnduff each provided four innings of shutout baseball. Cairnduff allowed just one hit while striking out five, while Batenburg struck out three while scattering three hits.

Big Rapids is in action again on Thursday when the Cardinals host Pine River. Morley Stanwood will host Central Montcalm on Friday.

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