Reed City-Evart baseball falls in state tournament

Baseball: Reed City-Evart third baseman Ian Couch gets set to make the throw Saturday in a Minor Division state tournament game. (Herald Review/John Raffel)
Baseball: Reed City-Evart third baseman Ian Couch gets set to make the throw Saturday in a Minor Division state tournament game. (Herald Review/John Raffel)

MUSKEGON — Reed City-Evart went 0-3 and fell in the State Little League Minor Division 9-10-year-old baseball tournament at Muskegon Oakridge.

The tournament was rained out Friday. Reed CIty-Evart fell on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

The third and final game was on Monday against Norway from the Upper Peninsula in a 9-2 loss.

Reed City-Evart had a one-run lead after the second inning. Norway scored four runs in the third, highlighted with a two- run home run and added three in the fifth and two in the sixth.

Trevor Woodard and Payton Hansen each pitched three innings. Danny Witbeck had a single and run scored while Payton Hanson had a single and RBI, Fischer Morrison added a hit and RBI and Nate Sochocki walked and scored the game’s first run.

“Our team didn’t make it out of pool play to advance to the championship round but had a great experience,” said Reed City-Evart coach Mark Sochocki. “We played well but just couldn’t come up with timely hits with runners in scoring position. One thing that really stood out was that each team was loaded with quality pitchers.

“We had a great run this season and had a great bunch of boys who played the best teams in Michigan. They represented their league and communities very well. The boys received a tremendous amount of support from family, friends and local businesses. I think that we had more fans at our games than any other team in the tournament. It has been a great month of baseball for the boys and a great accomplishment winning the district championship for first time.”

The District 12 champs were tied 3-3 with Croswell-Lexington on Saturday. But C-L had a homer in the bottom of the fifth and added another run in a 5-3 win.

“The boys played extremely well against a team that was very good and in fact they had 30 wins this season, and was one of the best teams in the tournament,” Sochocki said. “We had chances to score and left seven runners on base including the bases loaded with no outs. I am still amazed at the composure that these boys have and their baseball instincts are getting better each game we play.”

Witbeck was the starter and pitched two shutout innings. Trevor Woodard came in the third inning while Gavin Wirth pitched the fourth and Pierce Johnson the fifth.

“I thought our pitchers did a great job keeping an explosive offensive off balance and keeping our team in the game especially Danny who retired six of first seven batters he faced,” Sochocki said. Offensively, Gavin Wirth led the way with three hits including a double and RBI. Danny Witbeck had a single and run scored. Trevor Woodard, Ian Couch and Fischer Morrison added hits as well.

On Sunday, Reed City-Evart lost 10-1 to Midland.

“It was a battle through four innings but in the end Midland’s experience and depth at pitching was the deciding factor,” Sochocki said.

Midland led 3-1 going into the fourth inning but scored two in the fourth and a five in the fifth inning to put the game away.

“They didn’t really hit the ball well against us but used very smart base running and bunted many times and we were caught off guard as they even bunted with the bases loaded and we had a couple of errors and gave up a big inning,” Sochocki said.

Witbeck started the game and pitched 2 2/3 innings scattering two hits and three runs. Wirth and Woodard pitched the final two innings.

Offensively, Payton Hanson had a hit and RBI, Witbeck had a pair of singles and Brycen Shively and Gavin Wirth each had a hit.

“Their pitching was tough, and again we left a lot of runners on base and just could not seem to get a timely hit,” Sochocki said. “The boys played hard and stayed close until the fifth inning. We faced two extremely talented teams in the first games of the state championship and were very competitive.”