Sluggers primed for league play

BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
The Clarkston Varsity Baseball team battled against three teams last week as they added wins and losses.
The Wolves opened the week with a split in the double header against Davison, April 9.
They won the first game in a five-inning mercy, 11-0 after opening the game with six runs in the first inning.
“It was awesome to see right out the gates the boys were off to a hot start on the bats,” said Jake Arendsen, head coach. “It really helped set the tone for the game.”
Senior Alex Hunt pitched a complete shutout allowing three hits, one walk, no runs and had two strikeouts.
On the offensive end, leading hitters included senior Sam O’Berry, who went 3-for-3, senior Josh Luther, senior Jack Anderson and senior Griffin Kacanowski.
The second game also ended after five innings but on account of darkness and the Wolves lost, 5-4.
“We put ourselves in a hole early in the game and had some mental errors,” Arendsen said. “If we had played seven innings we could make a comeback.”
Junior Cole Donchez pitched the first three innings.
“He competed well on the mound in spite of we had some mental errors behind him and made him pitch to some extra batters,” Arendsen said. “The experience is only going to make Cole better. Cole and I talked about it after the game some of the learning points we are going to take away from defense. When it’s not consistent behind us it makes it tougher to pitch to another hitter when we should have been out of the inning.”
He added the Cardinals were aggressive on the bases because they were in a position to put more pressure on the Wolves.
“They bunted, they stole some bases. They forced us to make some plays with cuts and relays at home,” he said. “We didn’t execute to the level we know we can execute. I am glad we were in those pressure situations. We can only get better from that loss.”
The Wolves followed it with a 5-4 win over Bloomfield Hills, April 10.
“It was a real good game between the both of us,” Arendsen said. “It’s nice to come away on the winning side of a close game especially when we still have those injuries of Seth Bacon and Brock Henley. We saw some good pitching that day, and they hung in there and weathered the storm. We scrapped out six hits and had four RBIs and we drew eight walks on the day. I was impressed on how we found a way on the bases.”
The game went into an extra inning with a tied score before Clarkston took the win. Bloomfield Hills tied the score at four after a misplay.
Luther led off at the top of the eighth inning and walked. Next to bat was Anderson who hit a double. Donchez was up next with a runner on third and second.
“We played a safety squeeze play,” Arendsen said. “He bunted the ball down to first base line. Luther made a head first slide into home plate and it was the game winning run.”
The Wolves still had to shut down Bloomfield Hills for the win and Luther did on the mound sending the first three batters back to the dugout.
“It was a great way to end the game,” Arendsen said, adding Luther helped with coming in to relieve the pitcher in the seventh inning. “Josh is a huge factor for us in those late innings. Josh is a three-sport athlete. He is a state champion in football and basketball. A lot of our players rely on Josh for his calm demeanor in those high pressure situations. It’s one of his strengths to come in and throw strikes in high pressure situations.”
The Wolves played Walled Lake Northern in a double header on Friday. They split the night winning the first game, 2-0, and losing the second game, 5-2.
Junior Jonathan Crockett made his varsity debut on the mound in the first game for four innings. He had seven strikeouts, four walks and had one hit.
“He pitched a really nice game,” Arendsen said. “This week he will pitch for us against Rochester Adams. Our goal is getting that pitch count down so we can go beyond four innings. I was really impressed with his efforts there in the first game. He got out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth inning. There were no outs and he got out of it with some defense. He struck a guy out, came in the dugout pumped up, giving everyone high fives. It was really fun to see his excitement as a junior who hadn’t been in that position before and had some success there.”
On the offensive end, the Wolves had six hits. Donchez and sophomore Brian Hickey went 2-for-3.
“Unfortunately we had 12 strikeouts,” Arendsen added. “We saw probably one of the better pitchers we have seen.”
Clarkston opened their series against OAA Red foe Rochester Adams on Monday with a 4-3 loss.
“The boys are ready for league play. They are eager,” Arendsen said.
The Wolves play Adams in a double header on Wednesday.
“They want to play every opportunity. It’s a group that’s played together since they were kids. the 12 seniors simply love the game and they want to play every opportunity they can. We appreciate our grounds crew,” Arendsen added.
They head to Oxford next Monday and Tuesday for 4:30 p.m. games.