Alpena baseball travels to Comerica Park, experiencing the feeling of a Detroit Tiger

News Photo by Owen Kinzey Hunter Cohoon swings at a pitch on Friday during the Wildcats’ exhibition game against Chippewa Valley at Comerica Park in Detroit

DETROIT — The Alpena High School baseball team (19-10, 5-3 BNC) experienced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on Friday, indulging in an exhibition game at Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers.

While the Wildcats finished the game in a 7-1 loss against Chippewa Valley, the overall feeling of playing on a professional field couldn’t be beaten, players said.

Taking the first-base dugout, each Alpena player received the opportunity to play the field and take an at-bat in a Major League batter box.

“The feeling of playing on a Major League baseball field can’t be beaten,” Alpena coach Eric Mackenzie said. “We came out here to have fun and play on the field where our hometown professional team plays. These guys grew up watching the Tigers, so to have the opportunity to play here is just unbeatable.”

Alpena completely altered positional changes each inning, meaning every player got a chance to experience the MLB grass and dirt.

News Photo by Owen Kinzey Alpena High School’s Kaleb Donajkowski winds up for a pitch on Friday during the Wildcats’ exhibition game against Chippewa Valley at Comerica Park in Detroit.

Kaleb Donajkowski was the first Wildcat to take the bump. He came into the game and dominated, shutting down the Big Reds.

Donajkowski even came to the plate in the bottom of the inning and ripped a base hit. He was left stranded, but that would be Alpena’s only hit for the majority of the game.

In the top of the second inning, Caleb McEwen took the mound and relented two runs during the inning. Those runs came from a massive gap shot into right-center field, scoring two runners.

Now, down 2-0, Alpena’s offense needed to heat up, but each new Big Red pitcher that was brought into the game proved more problematic for Wildcat hitters.

Jake Zann was the third pitcher brought out for Alpena, and he pitched an impeccable outing.

Striking out two batters, both on splitters, Zann sat Chippewa Valley down in order.

Though the Wildcats had pitched well up to that point, the top of the fourth inning derailed the game, breaking open the momentum.

Alpena sent out Jase Kollen, who struggled quite a bit, not even capable of recording an out. He was relieved by Michael Kries, who limited the damage to five runs, while Kollen was responsible for each run given up.

For the remainder of the game, Landen Gagnon and Owen Kaiser came in for relief, and both provided shutdown innings to keep the score at 7-0.

Each offense remained quiet until the very final inning.

The Wildcats all strapped on their rally caps in hopes of a miracle comeback when Hunter Cohoon led off the inning.

He stepped up to the plate and blasted a double deep into left field, a hit that could’ve been a homerun at most high school fields.

He came around to score after McEwen singled a ball hard into left field for the RBI.

Unfortunately for Alpena, that run would be the only one allowed, leading to the 7-1 final.

“All year, we’ve been waiting for this opportunity, and I don’t think we’ve ever had more fun playing baseball,” Mackenzie said. “We built some strong relationships with Chippewa Valley, and we might even have them back on the schedule next year. They’re a tough team, but, at the end of the day, this is what baseball is all about: having fun.”


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