Baldwin bats explode in victory over Crossroads

BIG RAPIDS —Doug Bolles was looking for his Baldwin baseball team to start hitting the ball.

He got his wish Monday at Win Kellum Field.

Bolles' Panthers exploded to a 27-10 victory in five innings of the opener of a West Michigan D League doubleheader. The second game was suspended after two innings with a 5-5 tie and will be made up at a later date.

Alan Clugston was among the top hitters for Baldwin with three hits, including a double, plus three RBIs. Corey Michalec also had three hits and two RBIs, plus a double.

Baldwin batters stroked 15 hits and also had 12 walks from Crossroad pitchers.

“We finally hit the ball a little bit and put some innings together,'' Bolles said.

Brandon Childress was the winning pitcher in relief.

James Strickland for Crossroads had two hits and three runs scored while Dylan Balsitis had two hits and a run scored. David Hunt also had two hits and two RBIs. Ryan Smithy was the losing pitcher.

“We seem to struggle the first game and come out strong the second game,” said Crossroads coach Jeffrey Hoyt. “We have to figure out how to not have the bad inning. That's what's been sinking us all year, one bad inning when they bat through and score several runs.

“If we can avoid that, we'll be that competitive. We're trying to find a way to avoid those innings.”

In the second game, Karlos Perez had a double and RBI while C.J. Sidock and Devon Sparks-Burrell had a single and RBI apiece.

“I hit the ball pretty good,” Perez said. “I also got hit by a pitch and walked.”

Perez was doing the pitching for Baldwin, which is 1-2 in the conference and 1-5 overall.

“I was pitching pretty good,” Perez said. “Usually I close. That was my first game opening. Most of my pitches were right on.”

“We did good in the first game but it was kind of shaky in the second,” said Baldwin catcher Damon Nichols. “We hit the ball. That was a big improvement.”

Strickland and Garland scored two runs apiece for Crossroads.

Crossroads is 1-6 overall and 1-2 in the league. The Cougars play Tuesday at Brethren.

The Panthers play at home Thursday against Pentwater.

“We've got to hit,” Nichols said. “We have to hit and field and keep our pitchers going.”

Nichols indicated he has been generally happy the way he's kept the ball in front of him.

“We put our bat on the ball and our pitching got a little better today,” Bolles said.