It's safe to say that the Alpena baseball team wasn't expecting to split a pair with Ogemaw-Heights on Wednesday, losing 2-1 and winning 2-1, especially after the Falcons were swept by Gaylord, a team that Alpena (15-5) had recently mercied twice.
"I'm really disappointed. We're much better than what we put out there today. We should have won both games handily, but for whatever reason, we're not hitting and we're not playing good fundamental baseball," Alpena coach Phil Schultz said.
Alpena's first game loss came on the back of a solid complete game by pitcher Andy Marwede, who gave up nine hits, struck out seven and gave up only two runs.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Alpena’s Tim Atkinson takes off for first base in the first game of a doubleheader against Ogemaw Heights. Alpena dropped the first one 2-1, but won the second 2-1.
The Wildcats picked up five hits in the first three innings, including a Tim Atkinson double in the first inning and a Dylan Glennie single in the second inning.
Alpena scored after Brady Marwede singled and was singled in by a Giulio Fantasia to go up 1-0 in the third inning.
The Wildcats picked up only two more hits for the rest of the game.
The Falcons tied the game 1-1 in the fourth inning when Evan Kimball singled and was driven in by Kyle Bachelder. They scored again in the seventh inning after Caleb Ostrander doubled and was driven in by Tanner VanWormer.
The Wildcats' defense shut down several scoring opportunities and had four pickoffs in the game. In the fourth inning, they caught Jared Walters in a pickle between third base and home.
The Falcons' defense picked off two Alpena base runners to stymie Alpena's offense.
Alpena's offense picked up five hits in the second game, but it executed better offensively to pick up the win.
The Wildcats scored in the second inning after Brad Styma doubled and was driven home on a throwing error to first base. Glennie was driven in by Dylan Hoes to give Alpena a 2-0 lead.
Wildcats' pitcher Chris Modrzynski didn't give the Falcons much to work with in a six-inning win. He gave up only one hit, three walks and struck out 15, including six in a row between the second and fourth innings.
"I thought Andy and Chris both pitched great games, they both pitched really well, they were right there. But we had too many errors," Schultz said.
Ogemaw's only run came in the fourth inning when Zach Palazzolo got on base on an outfield error. He was driven to third base on a throwing error to first base and later scored on a passed ball.
The Wildcats tried to add some insurance runs in the sixth inning when Styma singled and was driven to second on a sac bunt by Glennie, but couldn't extend their lead.
Alpena was led at the plate by Tyler Pintar and Styma, who had two hits each.
The Falcons went 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh to give Alpena the win.
"It seems we're lacking confidence right now. The guys don't want the ball, it doesn't seem like. We're playing real defensive instead of playing aggressive," Schultz said. "That's the strange thing about this season, we were expecting much more out of our offense and every game we lose it seems like its because of lack of hitting."
Alpena travels to Escanaba on Friday and defends its Escanaba Invitational Championship on Saturday.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.