The Alpena baseball team made things interesting on both ends of the diamond on Thursday.
The Wildcats rallied to win 5-3 over Gaylord and then held off a comeback attempt by the Blue Devils to win 10-8 in the nightcap in a Big North Conference doubleheader.
One inning was all it took for the Wildcats to make the most of their chances in the opener, as they scored five runs in the fifth inning to tip the game in their favor.
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Brady Marwede takes a swing at a pitch during the first game of a doubleheader against Gaylord on Thursday.
Prior to that, Alpena (11-10) stranded runners on second and third in the second inning and left two runners aboard in the fourth inning.
"The whole day we wanted to stay positive, just keeping battling and doing our job," Alpena coach Phil Schultz said. "We were getting base runners. We just have to be patient at the plate."
Alpena loaded the bases with one out to begin the fifth inning. After Gaylord got a force out at home, Zach Nash singled in Ryan Hendricks to cut into Gaylord's 2-1 lead. Nash was followed by Brady Marwede, who ripped a two-run single to right field to give Alpena a 3-2 lead.
Nash and Jacob Kline both scored on passed balls to complete Alpena's scoring for the inning.
Brady Marwede pitched a complete game for the Wildcats, allowing three runs on two hits with seven walks and eight strikeouts.
Marwede had two hits and three RBI and Nash had two hits.
Gaylord took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI groundout and then added a run in the third inning when Travis Bandt doubled in Tyler Cherry.
The Blue Devils added a run in the seventh inning and left two runners aboard.
Bant took the loss for Gaylord.
"We talked about that, how in the first and last innings, we give up runs and make everything close," Schultz said. "It's something about this season."
The Wildcats held a 10-3 lead going into the seventh inning of the second game and found itself holding on after Gaylord tallied five runs and loaded the bases with two outs.
Tim Atkinson relieved Ryan Hendricks in the seventh inning and allowed two runs before getting a strikeout to end the game and earn the save.
Hendricks and Giulio Fantasia had three hits each and Nash and Luke Cordes each had two hits.
Hendricks struck out nine and walked five in more than six innings on the mound.
Alpena ended a grueling stretch of six games in three days, but Schultz was happy with the results after the Wildcats finished the week 4-2.
"I was happy with the way they responded," Schultz said. "These are league games and we still want to be a force in the league. We're not going to win, but we want to be a spoiler for somebody."
Alpena will play at the Saginaw Heritage Invitational on Saturday.