By MICHAEL WIGMAN
News Sports Writer
The Cadillac High School baseball team ran into two brick walls named Adam Crowell and Jason Kendziorski at Alpena High School on Tuesday. The Wildcats (2-0) used stellar starting pitching from the pair, strong defense and an explosive offense to sweep the doubleheader 11-0 and 16-2. Both games were five innings due to the mercy rule.
Crowell and Kendziorski shut down the Vikings (2-3) at the plate all afternoon. Crowell threw a complete-game two-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts in the first game, and Kendziorski threw a complete-game four-hitter with eight strikeouts in the nightcap.
"That's a good way to start out the season. They were throwing strikes and that's what we need to do, throw strikes and play good defense behind them," Alpena manager Scott MacKenzie said.
The Wildcats' hitters didn't allow for much drama to start the opening game. Alpena used four hits, four walks by the Vikings Danny Boocher and three Cadillac fielding errors in the bottom of the first inning to jump out to a 7-0 lead.
"The sticks came alive today," MacKenzie said.
Alpena started the inning with a walk by Jon Zawacki, a single by Austin Leeck and Tom Atkinson reaching first base on an error. Kendziorski came to the plate with no outs and ripped a triple into right center field to clear the bases and give Alpena the 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats would never look back, as they sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning. First baseman Jared Cloft hit a two-run standup double into right center field to put Alpena up 6-0, and Cloft finished off the scoring when he ran home from third base on a throwing error.
The Vikings were never able to put up a rally after the Wildcats outburst, as Crowell only gave up one hit the rest of the way, retiring the Vikings in order in two of the next four innings. Crowell only faced 19 batters for the game, and gave up two walks.
"I got ahead early, and it's easy to pitch when you got a seven-run lead," Crowell said. "I was just picking my spots because I know my team's going to make the plays behind me. Fortunately, they didn't have to make many plays tonight."
Alpena only needed six hits to cross the plate 11 times, as the Vikings had eight fielding errors in the game.
In the second contest the Wildcats jumped all over Vikings starter Sam Morse for three first-inning runs on four hits. Overall, Alpena had 19 hits in the game, 15 off Morse and four more off Vikings relief pitcher Zach Ferris, who entered the game with no outs in the fifth inning.
Zawacki started things off in the first inning with a single, and Leeck followed him with a double into center field. Leeck went 5-for-5 on the day, his varsity debut, including two doubles, five runs and three RBIs.
"That's a great surprise and pleasure," MacKenzie said.
Senior Tom Atkinson came to the plate and hit a two run double over the head of Cadillac shortstop Ben Simons, no small feat, considering the 6-foot-7 Simons was runner-up for Michigan's Mr. Basketball award this season. The hit gave Alpena the early 3-0 lead.
"I almost thought Ben Simons was going to go up and get it, because he's a huge kid, but it somehow found its way over his glove and got into the gap," Atkinson said, laughing. Atkinson went 4-for-4 in the game with four RBIs and two doubles, after going 0-for-1 in two at bats in the opening contest.
"I got pitches to hit and put them in play," Atkinson said.
Kendziorski struggled in the first inning, giving up two hits and allowing a run to score on Jeff Bruggema's sacrifice fly to bring the Vikings within 3-1. It was the closest they would get the rest of the game.
Alpena added a run in the second, and two more in the third and fourth innings each to go ahead 8-2 entering the fifth inning. The Wildcats' Ryan Rivette led off the final inning with his first career home run over the left field fence. The homer ignited the Wildcats' offense once again, as Alpena sent 13 batters to the plate in the fifth and scored seven runs after Rivette's shot.
Ben Gould, a sophomore, went 3-for-3 with one RBI, and Zawacki went 3-for-5 with three runs in the second game for Alpena.