Saints to take momentum on the road this weekend

The Manistee Saints’ Alex Strickland (above) and Kirk Myers (below) will look to help keep the team’s winning streak alive on the road this weekend against Mid Michigan Starz. (News Advocate file photo)

The Manistee Saints have spent the last two weekends going toe-to-toe with the top of the Great Lakes United Baseball League. This weekend, the Saints take on a team at the other end of the standings.

Manistee travels to Riverdale this weekend for a four-game series with the Mid Michigan Starz.

“They’re definitely struggling,” said Manistee manager Tyrone Collins. “They’re a team from Mid Michigan Community College. They’re very young. They went through a little bit of coaching turmoil early on in the season. I think they have two or three wins on the season right now.”

The Saints’ are coming off a struggle-free weekend against the Detroit Jetbox. Manistee swept the Jetbox in a three-game series after dropping four games to the Oil City Stags the weekend before.

“Last weekend was nice,” Collins said. “The Jetbox came to town and they’re typically a perennial powerhouse. They came to town a little bit down, but that’s neither here nor there to us. We went out and played pretty good ball.

“We pitched well, we hit well and we did everything we needed to do to take it to them,” he continued. “It’s really nice to to have a bounceback weekend, because the weekend before, we let a couple slip away there. We needed that as a coaching staff and we needed that as a team.”

Led by Cam Fewless, Manistee’s (12-5) bullpen hit its stride last weekend and Collins hopes that continues into this weekend’s series against the Starz (2-11).

“Cam Fewless finally had a solid series, and he’s the one we really need to get on track,” he said. “There are a couple others, too, but Cam is a veteran and he needs to figure things out. This last weekend I handed him the ball a couple different times and he went out there and took care of business. He felt a lot better about it and I felt a lot better about it.

“We’re going to do the same thing again this weekend,” Collins continued. “He’ll come out of the bullpen one more weekend series. Right now, we’re just trying to get our pitching staff ready to go for the NABF tournament at the end of the season.”

Kyle Gorski and Kirk Myers will be the starting hurlers in Saturday’s games while Ty Sobczak and Levi Irish will pitch on Sunday.

For Manistee, the recipe for success is simple: Make Mid Michigan earn every base it gets and the Saints’ potent offense will take care of the rest.

“We have to throw strikes, we have to keep the walks to a minimum, and hopefully our offense shows up and plays like they have been,” Collins said. “I’ve said it before: In my opinion, we’re never really out of a game because our offense is pretty powerful.

“We go into slumps here and there, but for the most part, when they want to turn it on, it seems like they can.”

That offense is led by Logan Briggs, who has a team-high .383 batting average and Nick Brzezinski, who leads the team in RBIs with 18.

Though the Starz have only managed two wins thus far, Collins says his players will need to stay focused in order to come out on top.

“Although they don’t seem to be a huge threat, they’re still a team full of college ballplayers, so you can’t take a team like that lightly,” he said. “We’ll go out and try to take it to them for four games and hopefully come out on top.”

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