Baldwin baseball team falls to Crossroads in opener

By Ryan Zuke Pioneer News Network

BIG RAPIDS — Crossroads Charter Academy baseball coach Tim Frisbie knew his team would be able to score a lot of runs this season.

The key to winning games, he said, is if the team can get enough pitching on a regular basis.

It did Monday as Ryan Smithey pitched all four innings and struck out six in a 21-4 Game 1 win against Baldwin. Freshman Adam Frisbie pitched all four innings with six strikeouts in a 14-0 win in the nightcap.

Baldwin’s Tyler Clugston tripled and singled in the opener, driving in one. He also started on the mound in Game 2, taking the loss.

The Panthers only had four practices prior to Monday’s games.

“We have a lot of work to do, but we just need to practice,” Baldwin coach Doug Bolles said. “But no excuses, (CCA) came to play.”

The team also is missing one of its top players, Da’Ron Copeland, who was injured playing AAU basketball. Copeland is a two-year starter at catcher and pitcher.

Three-year starter Brandon Childress is not playing baseball this spring to focus on football, which he will play at Central Michigan University next season. Five other players from last year’s team did not return.

“We’re going to have a little bit of a struggle, but if we just play hard all night, then I’m all right with it,” Bolles said.

But it was Crossroads day to shine.

“When both your pitchers throw under 60 pitches in four-five innings, that’s pretty good,” Tim Frisbie said. “We just need to keep up with our pitching.”

Smithey also had four hits in the opener, while Brooks Angell had four doubles. James Strickland and Luke Zandstra had two hits apiece.

Tim Frisbie said he saw many improvements from his team’s first doubleheader on April 2 – a split with the Pine River junior varsity team.

“Our bats are still strong,” he said. “We’re hitting the ball well. We fielded the ball well, stole bases. Our plan was to attack and that’s what we did.”

Smithey said the team needs to continue to focus on the fundamentals.

“We have to continue good defense,” he said.  “We can’t give away errors. Pitchers have to throw strikes and we have to field the ball for them.”

The Cougars next play Thursday at Hart, while the Panthers host Pentwater on Monday.