Reed City splits with Evart

EVART – Both Evart’s and Reed City’s baseball teams wanted to use last Wednesday’s nonleague doubleheader to get ready for district action on Saturday.

They both took advantage of their opportunity.

Reed City scored 10 runs the top of the sixth to blow the first game open and take a 15-5 six-inning victory over the host Wildcats.

“I think we played this game probably the best we’ve played all season,” said Reed City senior Eric Grannis. “This was a good tune-up for districts. This game could give us a good jolt that we need for districts.”

But in the second game, Evart rallied with three runs in the bottom of the sixth for a 5-4 win.

The visitors opened the scoring in the first inning of the opener with two runs including an RBI hit for Josh Saez. Tre Dyer had an RBI bounceout the bottom of the first for Evart.

Trevor Thiel’s RBI single in the third for Reed City was matched by Nolan VanOrder’s RBI hit for Evart. The Coyotes scored on a wild pitch in the top of the fourth while Evart’s Andrew Bengry delivered a sacrifice fly in the bottom half of the inning for a 4-3 score, in favor of Reed City.

Ray Phenix was credited for an RBI in the fifth on a fielder’s choice to give Reed City a 5-3 lead. Evart tied it in the bottom of the fifth on a wild pitch and Andrew Race’s RBI double.

Phenix’s RBI single in the sixth gave the Coyotes a 6-5 lead. Caleb Wilson singled home a run and a walk produced another run. Derek Rasor and Phenix both added two-run singles and Jim Squires drove home the 15th run.

Grannis retired the side in order in the bottom of the sixth to end the game.

“I’ve pitched a lot, our best pitcher (Ray Phenix) has shoulder problems so I pitched when he can’t,” Grannis said. “I’ve pitched pretty well, better than last year. I’ve hit the strike zone, getting guys out when I need to.”

Kyle Wright had four hits and Thiel added three for Reed City.

Dyer, Bengry, Hyde and Lane Nadig pitched for Evart. Thiel took the win for Reed City. Grannis got the save.

“This is better than I’ve ever pitched,” Grannis said. “I think I’ve gotten stronger this past year. I’ve got more control and I’m able to throw strikes.”

Hyde had three hits and an RBI for Evart.

In the second game, both teams used a variety of pitchers. Hyde beat out an infield hit to bring in the winning run with two outs in the sixth. Hyde had two hits while Trevin Ladd had a hit and two stolen bases and Chris Imhoff had a hit.

Taylor Pelton had three hits for Reed City while Nick Bonnett and Matt Dailey had two apiece.

“We brought all the JV guys that will be with us this weekend,” said Reed City coach Marty Shaffer. “That’s what our whole second game was. We played all the JV guys. It was nice to get a game in.”

The Coyotes took a 6-18 record into districts and lost to Pine River.

“We need to hit the ball well,” Grannis said. “We need to play defense. Our pitchers need to throw strikes.

“The season hasn’t gone as well as we thought and we think we could have done a whole lot better at the beginning of the season,” Grannis said prior to districts. “These past couple of games, we’ve kind of pulled it in.”

Grannis said he’s been hitting the ball well.

“I’m hitting it where they’re not and getting on base,” he said, adding that this season, “I’m not as anxious at the plate to get a hit and not pressing. I’m letting the pitches come to me and driving them.”

Evart was 8-14 going to districts and were 1-1 in the tournament.

“We haven’t played well lately so we talked about playing well (Wednesday) to get in some confidence going into Saturday,” said Evart coach Josh Johnson. “We accomplished that.”