Coyotes take first game of twin bill, Cards fight back to win second

REED CITY — Defensive mistakes plagued Big Rapids in the first game of a baseball doubleheader against Reed City on Thursday, but the Cardinals were able to get the job done in the rematch. Eight Big Rapids errors led to a big Reed City uprising in the opener and pushed the Coyotes to a 15-4 win in five innings. In the rematch, Big Rapids took a 5-1 lead into the ninth and held off a three-run Reed City surge to gain the 5-4 victory. The Coyotes had two runs in the first, seven in the second, four in the third and two in the fourth in the opener. Ray Phenix was the winning pitcher, allowing two hits while striking out four. Austin Hansen, Eric Grannis, Ryan Willis and Taylor Weiss had two hits apiece. “It does wonders when you put the ball in play,” said Reed City coach Scott Shankel. “Everyone was hitting and playing good defense. Ray threw a heckuva game.” Kyle Williams had a single and scored a run for Big Rapids, Eric Fountain took the loss. Jordan Straub had a two-run double to spark the Reed City rally in the bottom of the seventh. Reed City had the bases full with two outs but Phenix’s sinking flyball was caught in the outfield by Josh Jones. Big Rapids had four runs in the first inning of the second game and one in the seventh. Reed City had one in the third and three in the seventh. Maverick Steffes went the distance for Big Rapids, allowing four runs and striking out seven. “Maverick’s only a sophomore and he’s a kid that goes after you,” Oleson said. ‘He throrws strikes and keeps the ball down. He goes out there and gives us a heckuva outing everytime he goes out.” Mack Green and Tim Thebo had hits for Big Rapids while Jack Weisenburger had a triple and scored a run for Big Rapids. Ryan Willis and Jordan Straub pitched in the first inning for the Coyotes while Ricky Droke went the final six innings. Straub had three singles while Willis had two for Reed City. “It’s a game of inches,” Shankel said. “We just came up short. Both games, that was the best we’ve hit.” The Cardinals are 8-7 in the conference and 10-11 overall. “We got enough to hang on and salvage the day,” Oleson said. “We just did not play well. The first game we made hitting errors. You make eight errors and you’re not going to win games.” Reed City is 5-13 overall and 1-9 in the CSAA. Both teams play at the Cadillac Invitational Saturday and will see each other in the first game.