Coyotes open season with shutout win

REED CITY — It was a good start to the Central State Activities Association season for the Reed City Coyotes on Friday.

The Coyotes debuted their new field with a 1-0 win over the Big Rapids Cardinals.

Evan Stieg struck out nine batters in seven innings. Michael Minear doubled in the winning run the bottom of the seventh inning.

Codie Strach had the other two hits in the three-hit Reed City attack.

The second game ended at 11-7, Reed City, in six innings. The status of the game is unknown.

Alex Repo and Dylan Kichak had two hits apiece for the Coyotes.

“We played the first game outstanding,” said Coyotes skipper Scott Shankel. “Evan pitched a good game. The defense came up big when they needed to and made big plays. The kids hung in there, played awesome and played together.”

On April 12, it would have been understandable if Reed City’s Codie Strach wished there was such a thing as a five-run homer.

Strach belted a grand-slam homer in the bottom of the seventh inning Tuesday night in the season opener against Ludington, cutting the Orioles’ lead to 13-12. But that’s how the final score stood as the Coyotes were retired without scoring additional runs.

Ludington led the second game 4-0 after three innings. It was suspended because of darkness.

After Strach’s homer, Dillon Kichak singled to put the tying run on first base. But he was stranded there two outs later.

Reed City was down 13-6 going into the bottom of the seventh.

It was Strach’s first high school grand slam. He had three home runs last season when he batted around .300.

“I want to get in the high .300s this year,” he said. “I worked a lot on my hitting.”

For the game, Strach, who was the starting and losing pitcher, was 3-for-5 with six RBIs. Evan Stieg was 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Alex Repo was 1-for 2 and scored three runs.

“I was definitely happy with the comeback. A lot of it right now is blowing the rust off,” said Shankel. “This is like the third day we’ve been outside all season long. It kind of hurts you.

“We played very well except for a couple of innings in that first game.”

As a pitcher, “I have some kinks to work out,” Strach said. “My curveball is my strength. I need to work on my fastball, placing it.”