Portagers split with Kingsley in Northwest doubleheader

Onekama first baseman Austin Harper (44) tags a Kingsley runner on a pickoff play in the first inning of their doubleheader on Tuesday. The runner was called safe, however, and came around to score in the inning. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Onekama first baseman Austin Harper (44) tags a Kingsley runner on a pickoff play in the first inning of their doubleheader on Tuesday. The runner was called safe, however, and came around to score in the inning. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

ONEKAMA — Onekama’s up-and-down baseball season continued Tuesday, with a split of a Northwest Conference doubleheader with Kingsley.

The Portagers (7-6 overall, 5-4 Northwest Conference) trailed early in both games, came from behind to win the first 8-3 and came up just short in the second, 3-2.

Onekama’s victory in the first game snapped Kingsley’s 10-game winning streak, which included a Saturday tournament win over Class A Gaylord.

Portagers head coach John Neph gave much of the credit for the win to his team’s attitude.

“They were on a hot streak,” Neph said. “I’m just so proud of my guys for coming back from being down 3-0 and scoring eight runs. It’s great to have the guys working hard and pulling for each other.”

Kingsley jumped out to an early lead in the opener with three gift runs, one from the umpires and two from Onekama fielding miscues.

Starting pitcher Jayden DeWitt thought he had a Kingsley runner caught on a pickoff in the first inning, but he was called safe, and later came around to score with two outs to give the Stags a 1-0 lead.

Kingsley scored twice more on a comedy of errors by the Portagers in the third inning, but Onekama cleaned up their fielding considerably from there.

They also got their hitting sticks out, tying the game in the fourth on singles by Luke Mauntler, Jacob Mauntler, Jonathan Adams and Wade Sedlar, and then a double to the base of the right-field fence by Austin Harper.

Onekama blew the game open with five runs in the fifth, starting when Jacob Maunter gave Onekama the lead with a 2-run single. Sedlar, Harper and Ben Falk kept the rally going with RBI singles, and DeWitt closed out the win on the mound in the sixth.

DeWitt scattered six hits, walked two and struck out 8 in the complete-game win.

The Stags posted a 3-0 lead early in the nightcap as well, but the Portagers left it late, mounting a comeback in the sixth and final inning.

Onekama loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth, and scored two runs, on a fielders choice by Harper and a wild pitch that plated Jacob Mauntler, but that would be as close as they would get.

Harper started the contest on the mound, going 4 innings, giving up 3 runs on 3 hits and 5 walks, striking out 2. Adams came on in relief and gave up one hit in two scoreless innings.

“We were competitive in both games,” Neph said. “I’m really happy with how we’re progressing, and I’m really happy with the guys. It’s exciting to be a part of our team right now.”

Next up for the Portagers is another Northwest Conference home doubleheader, against Suttons Bay 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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