Big Rapids gets the bats going in CSAA sweep of Reed City on Tuesday

BIG RAPIDS — There was no shortage of runs in Tuesday’s Central State Activities Association (CSAA) baseball opener between Big Rapids and Reed City, with the Cardinals coming away with 10-0 and 17-7 victories.

The Cardinals got their bats going early and often in the first game of the league doubleheader, with Big Rapids piling up five runs in the first before adding two apiece in the second and fourth innings and finally capping off the victory with a score on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth to put the mercy rule into effect.

Eric Fountain allowed just one hit through five innings in addition to piling up eight strikeouts to earn the pitching victory for the Cardinals. Offensively, Sterling Brinker was 3-for-3 with a double and four RBIs, Tim Thebo went 2-for-3 and scored two runs and Dakota Sanders went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

“In that first game, I thought that Fountain did a really nice job for us,” Big Rapids coach Ben Oleson said of his starting pitcher. “There was that first inning where he fell behind a few batters, but he really got back into it and made big pitches when we needed him. In my years coaching him, that was probably the best outing he’s had so far.”

Eric Grannis took the loss for the Coyotes after giving up five earned runs on five hits and striking out four in 3 1-3 innings while Austin Hansen had the only hit for Reed City with a double.

“The hitting is going to come around, but that’s what’s been our problem,” Reed City coach Marty Shaffer said. “We hit the ball in the second game, but you can’t give up once you get behind. The kids are getting better everyday and that’s what we’ve got to do. At the end of the

year, we should be OK.”

In the nightcap, the Coyotes opened the game with two runs in top of the first, but Big Rapids came right back with five runs in the bottom half of the first to take a 5-2 lead.

Reed City retaliated with three runs in the third and another two in the fourth to take a 7-5 lead, but the Cardinals would blow the game open with seven runs in the fourth to take a 12-7 lead before adding on four more runs in the bottom of the fifth and another in the bottom of the sixth to again put the 10-run mercy rule into effect.

Kyle Williamson started the game for the Cardinals to earn the victory, giving up seven runs on seven hits while striking out four in four innings before Brinker closed out the final two innings by not giving up a hit while striking out two batters.

On the other side, Hansen took the loss for Reed City after giving up seven runs in three innings while Grannis led the Coyotes offensively with two doubles.

Williamson helped his own cause at the plate by going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored while Caleb Childers went 2-for-3 with an RBI and scored three runs and Thebo went 2-for-4 with a double and three runs.

“Offensively, our bats came alive,” Oleson said. “We were staying disciplined. We were battling at the plate and fouling off some pitches with two strikes on us and things like that. I’m very happy with what we were able to do (Tuesday).”

Big Rapids (3-2, 2-0 CSAA) next heads to Hesperia on Friday while Reed City (0-6, 0-2 CSAA) will square off with Cadillac today down at Fifth-Third Ballpark in Grand Rapids.