Onekama bounces back with two wins at Fife Lake tournament

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FIFE LAKE — Onekama baseball rebounded quickly from a bleak defeat in its home opener Friday, bringing home some hardware with two wins in Saturday’s tournament at Fife Lake Forest Area.

The Portagers won the tournament with two solid victories, 7-1 over the host Forest Area in the semifinals and a 5-0 shutout of Northwest Conference for Suttons Bay in the championship game.

After losing to Frankfort 11-1 in a rain-soaked disappointment on Friday, Onekama head coach John Neph said that winning the tournament was just what his team needed to get back on track.

“It was important for our guys to come back right away,” Neph said. “They put together two really good games and had a great day of baseball. It was really important for us to play well on Saturday.”

Austin Harper led the way in the opener against Forest Area, picking up the win on the mound and also driving in three of Onekama’s 7 runs in the contest.

Harper gave up just one run on three hits and struck out 11 Warrior batters in 6 innings of work.

At the plate, Harper had two hits and a walk in three plate appearances, starting with a 2-run single in the first inning that gave the Portagers the lead that they would not relinquish.

Onekama blew the game open with four runs in the third inning, which featured a 2-run homer from Jacob Mauntler.

Jayden DeWitt made the score 3-0 with an RBI single, and then trotted home in front of Mauntler on his home run to right field.

Wade Sedlar then doubled, and scored on an error three batter later to give the Portagers a 6-0 lead going into the fourth.

Harper gave up two of his three hits in the top of the fourth, the second of which plated Forest Area’s only run of the game.

He got that run back himself in the bottom half, driving home Luke Mauntler with an RBI single for the second time that stretched the lead to 7-1, which is how it finished.

Sedlar and each Mauntler scored twice in the game for the Portagers, who committed just one error and amassed 9 hits in the game.

Sedlar took the mound in the tournament final, and pitched a gem to lead Onekama to the title, a 2-hit shutout in which he struck out 6.

Onekama took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when 2 runs scored on an error by Suttons Bay, and stretched the lead to 3-0 when Ben Acton scored on a Jeremiah Torrey fielder’s choice in the fourth.

The Portagers scored two more in the fifth, when Jacob Mauntler drove home DeWitt with an RBI single, stole second and scored on an error to make the score 5-0.

Sedlar had a no-hitter going into the sixth, but gave up two singles and had to pitch out of a jam to finish the game. Suttons Bay had the bases loaded with nobody out, but Sedlar came away with the shutout after catcher Luke Mauntler picked off the runner at third and Sedlar got a pop-up and groundout to seal the win and the tournament title.

Neph said that the pitching performances of Harper and Sedlar were the best thing about the tournament win, as the pitch-count rules make having a deep pitching staff essential to any chance of success.

“It was good for those guys to log those innings for us,” Neph said. “We really needed it, playing back-to-back games like that. I’m really proud of both of them, they’ve worked really hard and put the time in in bullpen sessions, and they both have really improved.

“What a shot in the arm when those two guys can step up for us like that.”

Onekama will have little time to celebrate the tournament title, with two big Northwest Conference doubleheaders on the schedule this week, both at home. Kingsley comes to town on Tuesday, May 15 and Suttons Bay will look for revenge for its tournament defeat on Friday, May 18.

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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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