Late surge powers Alpena past Standish

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena's Lars MacArthur pitches during a game against Standish on Friday at Alpena High School. MacArthur allowed just two hits and struck out six as Alpena defeated the Panthers 9-0.

The Alpena High baseball team has plenty of potential to do big things at the plate.

But the Wildcats have needed a little spark to unlock that potential early in the season.

They got one late on Friday, scoring nine runs late to defeat Standish 9-0 on the opening day of the MacKenzie Invitational.

Playing at home for the first time this season, the Wildcats (4-2-1) made contact all game, but didn’t break through until the fifth inning when they scored six runs.

They plated three more in sixth inning and finished the game with nine hits.

“Once we get a little bit of a spark and we wait for good pitches, we”re able to drive the ball and we have some guys that can drive the ball,” Alpena coach Phil Schultz said.

Logan Guthrie and Chris DeRocher both singled to lead off the fifth inning for Alpena and Bruz Copping was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Alpena took advantage of the situation as a fielder’s choice scored Guthrie and Colin Donajkowski had a two-run single.

The Wildcats added two more runs after scoring on passed balls and Lars MacArthur added an RBI single.

It was the breakthrough Alpena needed after being limited to two hits through four innings. Both teams put up zeroes through four innings and combined for just three hits.

“We’ve been that way a few times this year. I don’t know what it is exactly, but we’re still putting the bat on the ball early in the game,” Schultz said of Alpena’s slow start. “But I think we’re not patient in waiting for pitches that we know we can hit. We’re just taking what the pitchers give us.”

Alpena caught fire again in the next inning scoring three runs after a two-run double by Clay Donajkowski and an RBI single by Owen Limback.

MacArthur had two hits for Alpena and Copping, Colin Donajkowski and Kyle VanDusen each scored twice.

On the mound, MacArthur stymied the Panthers, allowing just two hits and striking out six.

“We told Lars he was going to be pitching today and he stepped up (like) the senior that he is and pitched well,” Schultz said. “He commanded the strike zone really well.”

Standish had a pair of scoring opportunities in the game, but was stopped both times. In the fourth inning, the Panthers got runners on the corners with two outs, but MacArthur struck out Luke Stuhr to end the threat.

In the next inning, Hunter Nelson tried to score from second base on a single by Reed Raymond, but was thrown out at the plate on a throw by Guthrie from left field.

Nelson took the loss for Standish, allowing six runs on six hits with one strikeout and two walks.

Alpena continues tournament play tomorrow and will play Sault Ste. Marie at 10 a.m. The Wildcats will end the invitational with an afternoon game against Grosse Pointe North.

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.