Doing it all and doing it extremely well, the Midland baseball team used two huge innings to roll to a lopsided 17-0, five-inning rout Tuesday, June 22, in the first game of a Tri-Rivers Conference doubleheader at Clinton Prince of Peace.
“We played a complete game,” said Eagle baseball coach Josh Soper, as his team used an 11-run third inning followed by a six-run fifth frame to cruise to the triumph.
“Warren (Etten) pitched extremely well throwing his off-speed pitches for strikes and our defense was outstanding. In our 11-run third inning we had contributions from everyone.”
Midland (6-9, 5-8) broke the scoreless tie when D.J. Soper ripped an RBI single plating Etten with the game’s first run in the top of the third.
The Eagles were just getting started.
D.J. Soper (twice), Zain Sauer (twice), Jamisen Dodge (twice), Aaron Bixler, Carson Hunter, Matt Sauer and Etten all crossed the plate in the inning as an Iziek Soper triple plated Zain Sauer and Dodge with the final two runs of the amazing frame.
The fifth inning saw more Midland power, as Iziek Soper got the six-run frame started by blasting a two-run home run that also scored Dodge. Matt Sauer then delivered a two-run single that allowed Bixler and Hunter, who had both singled, to cross the plate. Lucas Ervin added a two-run single that scored Matt Sauer and Ethan Paulsen putting a wrap on the big win.
Etten tossed a complete game three-hit shutout and fanned five Irish batters while Midland ripped an impressive 19 hits offensively, led by 3-for-3 outings from Hunter and Dodge. D.J. Soper, Zain Sauer, Iziek Soper, Bixler, Matt Sauer and Etten all added two hits each to the effort.
The Eagles looked to complete the sweep in the nightcap, but were instead handed a bitter 4-2 defeat.
“We struggled to adjust to the pitching in the second game,” Soper said. “We were unable to string anything together offensively and we ran out of time after the game was called in the sixth due to rain.”
It appeared things were going to be business as usual for Midland after plating two first inning runs when Iziek Soper launched a two-run home run that also scored Zain Sauer, but it would be all the visitors would get in the contest.
“Zain pitched well but had one bad pitch that resulted in a home run which was the difference in the game,” Soper said. “All things considered it was good for our kids to get back on the field. Iziek is seeing the ball extremely well connecting on another long home run.”
Prince of Peace tied the score plating two in the bottom of the second before winning it with two more in the fifth.
Sauer worked all five frames from the hill allowing just five hits and two earned runs while striking out seven Irish batters.
The Eagles returned home Thursday, June 24, and in the first game of a twin bill with visiting Easton Valley, won in walk-off style taking a wild 9-8 triumph over the River Hawks.
“I can’t remember the last time we won on a walk-off steal, but Zain executed the play perfectly,” Soper said. “The pitcher was in the wind-up and Zain got a great jump and scored the game-winning run.”
Midland trailed 8-7 entering the final frame as a Dodge RBI single scored Etten with the game-tying run before the Zain Sauer heroics.
“Another solid game for our team,” Soper said. “Jamisen pitched well and we played solid defense. It was a hitter’s day with the wind blowing out, but he navigated through the line-up well. Offensively, D.J. stayed hot at the plate and we did enough with runners in scoring position to pull out the win.”
After plating three first inning runs, the Eagles seemed to blow the game open when Iziek Soper launched a three-run blast that put the hosts ahead 6-1.
But Easton Valley chipped away scoring two runs in the third, fifth and seventh innings before adding a single run in the fourth.
D.J. Soper, Zain Sauer and Dodge powered the Midland offense with two-hits each while Dodge tossed the complete game eight-hitter from the hill striking out two River Hawk batters.
The finale didn’t go quite as well for the hosts, dropping a tough 15-0 decision in six innings.
“It had been an emotional week and I just thought we ran out of energy in this one,” Soper said. “Which is understandable. Easton Valley made all the plays on defense and we struggled to get anything going on offense.”
Eagle bats tallied four hits (D.J. Soper, Zain Sauer, Iziek Soper and Matt Sauer) while Hunter worked the game’s first four frames from the mound allowing three hits and four earned runs before Paulsen and Kael Cress closed things out.