Saints cruise past Loggers

The Saints’ Roddy MacNeil prepares to deliver a pitch during Wednesday’s 10-3 victory over the Newaygo Loggers. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — It would have been a shame if the sun went to waste Wednesday evening without a game.

The Manistee Saints, however, had a rare weekday contest, as if to appease the baseball gods. In it, they cruised to a 10-3 victory over the Newaygo Loggers to extend their winning streak to a season-high three games.

“What a night for baseball,” Saints manager Phil Kliber said. “Wasn’t too hot, wasn’t too cold, lots of sunshine: a beautiful night.

“We did what we expected to, and the guys went out and did a nice job,” he added. “I got everyone in the game and got four pitchers in to get a little work.”

Manistee (7-8) knocked 16 hits in the contest, led by the bat of Nick Doyle who went 4-for-4 with a double and a triple.

“They weren’t cheap ones tonight,” Kliber said of the offense. “They didn’t give us runs, we hit well.

“And we got some guys going that haven’t been doing a whole lot lately,” he added. “Nick Doyle had a 4-for-4 night with a walk, and he’s one we need to come along.

“It was a good night as far as that goes too.”

Kyle Gorski, the third of four Saints pitchers to get time on the mound, was credited with his third win of the season. Starter Roddy MacNeil struck out seven batters in the first three innings.

MacNeil looked dominant in his first two frames, fanning six of the seven batters he faced, while the other reached on an error.

The Saints struck first with three runs in the second, sparked by a pair of base hits by Doyle and Dylan Richardson to lead off the inning before Dillon Rankin knocked them in on a no-out two-run double. Rankin later came around to score as MacNeil hit into a fielder’s choice.

The Loggers plated an unearned run in the third, but Manistee got it back in the bottom half for 4-1 advantage.

Manistee’s Steve Konsella came out in the fourth, and despite struggling with control, limited the damage to just a run with the bases loaded.

In the bottom of the fourth, MacNeil knocked an RBI double, and later scored on a wild pitch to make it 6-2.

Konsella again got into a bases loaded jam in the fifth, but escaped unscathed.

“Konsella had some control trouble, and had a bit of a long day,” Kliber said. “But still, everybody did the job. We didn’t give them much.

“Just about everybody did well.”

In the bottom half of the frame, Konsella and MacNeil each knocked in a run for an 8-2 lead, and after a scoreless sixth, the Saints plated another in the seventh — the first on a throwing error, and the second on Joe Kligman’s RBI double.

Gorski pitched the sixth through eighth innings, and struck out a pair of batters in each frame for a total of six. The Loggers plated their last run on a passed ball in the eighth, before Manistee’s Lucas Richardson threw for three outs in the ninth to seal the victory.

“There were a few boo-boos, but that will happen in nine innings,” Kliber said of the win. “I thought it went quite well.”

Manistee has a second game scheduled with Newaygo on July 17 — another Wednesday meeting.

“I would have had five, six guys for practice, but 12, 13 came in for the ballgame,” Kliber said, citing the team’s typical weekly schedule leading up to weekend games. “I just told their coach, if you know anybody else who’ll come in on a Wednesday, we’ll play on Wednesday.”

The Saints return to the Gratiot County Baseball League action this Sunday when they travel to play the Fulton Sultans.

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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