Otsego’s Will Eldred dives back to first base as Allegan first baseman Baylee Schafer awaits a pickoff throw. (Photo by Jason Wesseldyk)

Allegan comes up short in doubleheader against Bulldogs

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk

If you’re a fan of pitchers’ duels, then you would have enjoyed the second game of the Wolverine Conference baseball doubleheader between visiting Allegan and host Otsego on Friday, May 17 … at least for the first four innings.
The teams combined for four hits—two by each team, all singles—through the first four frames, with neither team able to push a run across the plate during that span.
Then came the fifth inning.
Using two hits and three walks, Otsego rallied for four runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish in securing the 4-1 victory.
The win completed the sweep for the Bulldogs, who won the opener 10-0 in a five-inning, mercy-rule-shortened affair.
Owen Watson started the game-winning rally for Otsego in the nightcap by drawing a leadoff walk off Allegan starter Jack Mankin followed by a bunt single from Derek Ward.
Will Eldred and Addison Atwater drew walks later in the inning, which saw three of Otsego’s runs score on wild pitches. The other run scored on a single by Jaekob Sallee, the first batter faced by relief pitcher Hayden Kruithoff. Kruithoff ended the fifth with a pair of strikeouts.
“We were able to take advantage of some free bases in the fifth inning to put together four runs, which turned out to be enough,” Otsego coach Matt Eldred said.
Mankin had only issued one walk in the first four innings before walking three in the fifth.
“Jack was able to work ahead in counts and keep their hitters off balance (through the first four innings),” Allegan coach Michael Geddes said. “Then Hayden came in and did a good job limiting damage and gave us a chance.”
Allegan mounted a rally of its own in the top of the sixth, putting the first three runners on base off Otsego reliever Atwater as Kruithoff and Cameron Day both walked before Baylee Schafer was hit by a pitch.
But the Bulldogs were able to turn a double play before Atwater induced Eli Leece to groundout, thereby ending the threat with only one run crossing the plate.
“At the plate we had plenty of opportunities,” Geddes said. “Unfortunately we are unable to get key hits from key players. The opportunity was there and we had the guys up, we just couldn’t get the job done.”
Watson, Mason Ingold and Corbin Smith joined Ward and Sallee in collecting one hit each for Otsego. Kruithoff and Schafer had the only hits for Allegan.
Atwater earned the win with three innings in relief of Ingold. Atwater allowed the one run and struck out five, while Ingold allowed no runs on two hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
The first game was all Bulldogs, who scored at least one run in each of their five offensive innings, including a six-run uprising in the second. Will Eldred, Sallee and Jayden Dentler all had RBI singles for Otsego in the second, while Jakson Dentler and Ingold both drove in runs with a sacrifice fly.
Will Eldred finished the game 3-for-3 with a triple, two runs and two RBI, while Atwater was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
Schafer singled twice in two at-bats to lead Allegan, while Kruithoff tripled.
Will Eldred and Daniel Weirick combined for the shutout on the mound. Will Eldred started and went the first four innings, allowing four hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Weirick stuck out one and didn’t allow a base runner in his one inning of work.
“Will was pretty sharp and the defense played well,” Matt Eldred said. “(It was) good to see us get it going on offense.  The six-run inning was the story, as big innings usually are.”
Tyler Aldrich started and took the loss for the Tigers.

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