By Greg Gielczyk
GRAYLING — Bad weather has kept everyone inside and canceled several playing dates as snow continued to fall and blanket the fields, but Grayling’s baseball team was able to get in a doubleheader against Harrison on Thursday, April 12.
The Vikings came away with a sweep, winning the first game, 4-1 behind the solid pitching performance of Justin Nicholas who had 10 strike outs and gave up just five outs. Harrison’s only run was unearned. Grayling also won the nightcap, 21-5.
Grayling opened the scoring in the first game when Nicholas doubled and came home on a passed ball after advancing to third. Harrison tied the game in the third inning thanks to a Grayling error.
Jacob MacFalda crossed the plate with the winning run on a single by Chris Hunter. The Vikings plated a pair of runs in the top of the sixth for insurance when Nick Hunter walked, stole second and was sent scampering home on a single by Ryan Anderson. Trey Moffit’s double scored Anderson.
Nicholas paced the Vikings with two hits, while Justin Youngblood contributed a base hit and Trenton Gabriel laced the first hit of his varsity career. Nick Hunter finished with three stolen bases.
“Overall, I can’t be too picky about what we did in Game One,” Grayling coach Brett Krabill said. “That was our first day outside this season. Justin did a good job on the mound and didn’t walk anyone. He also attacked the bottom of the order and got the outs that we need to make sure teams can’t really get started.
“Harrison was very aggressive swinging the bats, and the top of the order put the ball in play. We have a couple of small adjustments to make, but Justin did everything we needed him to do. The top of the order for us was a little slow to get going, but heated up towards the end.”
McFalda picked up the pitching win in Game Two, surrendering just one hit and no earned runs. Youngblood pitched an inning of relief and struck out two batters. Christian Artress drove in three runs on two hits. Nicholas stroked a triple that drove in a run, and Youngblood contributed a pair of hits.
Connor Brill drove in two runs with his first varsity hit. Nick Cicerone had two hits and a run batted in. Noah Shambarger had a double with a RBI. In all, a dozen players had hits in the second game.
“We were able to get every player in, and get some people multiple at-bats,” Krabill said. “Offensively, I am very happy with what we did in the second game. However, we had five errors that led to five runs. We shouldn’t be throwing one-hitters and giving up five runs. We have to make sure that regardless of the score we are always mentally prepared to play.”