News Sports Writer
Strange things happen in baseball, and you won't see a stranger inning than the seventh in the second game of a home doubleheader between Alpena and Traverse City West on Tuesday.
Alpena used four Titans errors in the top of the seventh to score four runs and turn a 6-2 deficit into a 6-6 tie heading into the bottom of the inning. Traverse City proceeded to capitalize off a base hit, a fielding error and two walks to score the winning run in the bottom of the seventh on a walk-off walk by Joey Kniss for the 7-6 victory and split in the doubleheader.
"You can't walk in the winning run. It looked good from where we were at, but that happens, that's baseball," Alpena assistant coach Steve Zann said.
Alpena (5-5, 3-3) took the opener 2-1 behind a complete-game 12-strikeout gem by Adam Crowell. Jon Zawacki scored the winning run on a Jason Kedziorski double in the bottom of the sixth. The Wildcats had fallen behind 1-0 in the top of the second when Scott Witkop scored on a fielder's choice double steal from home. Alpena tied it up in the bottom half of the inning on a double steal of its own that saw Tom Atkinson cross the plate.
"After that I knew we had the game," Crowell said. "I was confident my team would help make the plays, and once we got the lead our team was good enough to hold onto it."
Unfortunately, the Wildcats never held the lead in the nightcap. Alpena fell behind 2-0 in the second inning. The Wildcats made it 2-1 on an Austin Leeck single up the middle that scored Spencer Thomas. The Titans put two more runs on the board in the fourth off a solo homer by Josh Kloosterman, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and a double steal by Grant Durga that put Traverse City up 4-1.
"He's (Kloosterman) been hitting the ball well. I wish he would have had a few more people on base when he hit that home run," Traverse City coach Matt Bocian said.
Alpena climbed closer with a T.J Hoes single that scored Zawacki, who went 4-for-4 with two runs, in the fifth inning, but Traverse City put two more runs on the board in the bottom of the sixth to seemingly put away the Wildcats with a 6-2 lead.
The seventh inning saw Alpena use a Zawacki single, and two errors to load the bases for Ben Gould, who ripped a single into right field to score Zawacki and Leeck. Greg Baranyai hit into what should have been an inning ending double play, put second baseman Trevor Tooley couldn't turn the play and threw into the fence when Atkinson slid hard into the bag, allowing Jason Kendziorski and Gould to score and complete the comeback.
It was not meant to be though, as Leeck gave up a single and a walk, and an error on second baseman Spencer Thomas gave Traverse City the bases loaded and the eventual game ending walk.