Saints end losing streak, sweep weekend series

 

Manistee pitcher Robin VanOrden delivers during the Saints’ 4-0 win over Howell Michigan Sports Academy in the first game of a 4-game Manistee sweep on Saturday. VanOrden pitched a 3-hit shutout in the game. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Manistee pitcher Robin VanOrden delivers during the Saints’ 4-0 win over Howell Michigan Sports Academy in the first game of a 4-game Manistee sweep on Saturday. VanOrden pitched a 3-hit shutout in the game. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — The Manistee Saints snapped an ugly 8-game losing streak and got back on the winning track with a 4-game sweep of the Howell Michigan Sports Academy over the weekend.

Pitching carried the day on Saturday when the Saints won by scores of 4-0 and 5-0, and the bats came alive on Sunday with 10-5 and 7-6 wins to complete the sweep.

Manistee manager Tyrone Collins said that it felt good to get on the winning track, after starting the season, and his tenure, losing eight of the nine games played.

“The guys are excited, they’re pumped,” Collins said. “Morale wasn’t that bad, to be perfectly honest. We were down a little bit, but nothing crazy.”

Starting pitcher Robin VanOrden got the ball rolling with a stellar performance in the series opener on Saturday, scattering three hits and striking out 12 without giving up a walk for the complete-game shutout victory.

“I felt good,” VanOrden said. “Our defense was really clicking, or hitting was clicking and got us a few runs early, and I got to work with a lead the entire game.”

Manistee scored all the runs it would need in the second inning, when Lucas Richardson reached on a dropped third strike, stole second, went to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on an error.

Danny Gallatin reached on that error, went to third on another miscue and came home on an RBI single by Travis McCormick to make the score 2-0.

The Saints added single runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings, but they were unnecessary, as VanOrden was in complete command of the contest. Howell managed just three baserunners, none of whom advanced past second base in the entire game.

Collins said that VanOrden has been a very pleasant surprise.

“He came to us, and I didn’t really know anything about him,” Collins said. “He was with Delta College, and those guys went deep into the playoffs, so he didn’t get here until a couple of games into the season. He’s just been phenomenal. He pounds the zone, he moves the ball around really well and he’s a good leader.”

Kyle Gorski picked up the win in Saturday’s nightcap, going five strong innings, as three pitchers combined to toss a 1-hitter.

Gorski struck out 5 batters, walked 4 and gave up Howell’s only hit, a fifth-inning single. Patrick Brautigam came on in relief, pitching 1 1/3 innings of shutout ball and Tyler Waslawski got the final two outs in the 5-0 win.

VanOrden, Kenny Frieswyk and Roddy MacNeil each had two hits in the game, which was a 1-0 nailbiter after 5 innings.

But Manistee scored 4 runs in the sixth, which started out with three straight singles, by Frieswyk, MacNeil and Richardson. Frieswyk scored on Richardson’s single, MacNeil came home on a sacrifice fly by Preston Shazri and Richardson trotted home on a double by Jarred Cooper after stealing both second and third. VanOrden then doubled Cooper home to make the final score 5-0.

After cruising in both games on Saturday, the Saints had to come from behind in both games on Sunday.

Manistee found itself trailing 4-0 in the opener courtesy of a Howell grand slam, but the Saints posted 4 runs in the fifth and 3 more in the sixth to run out with the 10-5 win.

VanOrden had the key hit, a 3-run double in the fifth that gave the Saints the lead for good. MacNeil, Richardson, Gorski and Cooper each had 2 hits in the game. Blake Collins got the win, giving up 4 earned runs on 6 hits and recording 5 strikeouts in 5 innings. Chris Kinsella and Brautigam each pitched 2-strikeout, 1-2-3 innings to finish out the win.

Howell scored four times in the fourth inning to take a 4-2 lead in Sunday’s nightcap, but it didn’t last long. Manistee tied the game with 2 runs in the fifth, and scored three more times in the sixth, two of those on a 2-run single by Richardson that would prove to be crucial.

Brautigam came on to pin down the sweep in the top of the seventh, which started with a Manistee fielding error, a walk and hit batsman. Two of those runners came home to make the score 7-6, and the tying run went to third on yet another error, but Brautigam struck out the last two batters to finish off the weekend sweep.

“We figured out a new closer with Patrick Brautigam,” Collins said. “He came in and shut things down pretty good. I don’t necessarily like to go back-to-back with a closer like that, but we were short on numbers. I thought he did a phenomenal job.”

With the 4-game sweep the Saints move into fourth place in the Great Lakes UBL standings. All other league games scheduled for this weekend were rained out.

Manistee will hit the road to Saginaw to face the Michigan Collegiate Braves in Great Lakes UBL doubleheaders on Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25.

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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