A clean sweep

Strong pitching leads Alpena baseball team past Vikes

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena senior Bruz Copping throws a pitch during game one of a Big North Conference doubleheader against Cadillac on Tuesday at Alpena High School. Copping struck out 12 Vikings and earned the victory in the Wildcats’ 6-2 game one win.

The Alpena High baseball team got exactly what it was looking for on Tuesday in a doubleheader sweep over Cadillac.

Bruz Copping and Keegan Spomer dazzled the Vikings as they both went the distance on the mound and combined to strike out 23 Cadillac batters.

The Wildcats were victorious in game one, defeating the Vikings 6-2 and making quick work of the opposition in the nightcap, mercying their Big North Conference foe 10-0 to move to 4-0 in league play early in the season.

“That’s the kind of stuff we’re looking for out of those two. We expect them to be our leaders and step up and do that kind of stuff. They’re both very capable of doing that each time out so we’re obviously very happy with the performances today,” Alpena coach Phil Schultz said.

Cadillac put pressure on Copping and the Wildcats early in game one as the Vikings tagged the senior for three hits and a run in the opening frame. But Copping was able to settle in after escaping a jam, leaving runners stranded on second and third.

Alpena responded with a run of its own in the home half of the first when Kyle VanDusen walked and later scored on sacrifice fly off the bat of Chris DeRocher.

Copping allowed a leadoff single to begin the second inning to Allan Scheuer who scored later in the inning, but it was the final run the Vikings got the rest of the evening.

Alpena took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the second. The Wildcats took advantage of some Cadillac errors and played a little small ball as Alex Cosbitt executed a squeeze play by laying a bunt down and scored Spomer to give the Wildcats a 3-2 lead after two.

Copping settled in, striking out 12 batters and allowed just the two runs while scattering five hits and walking a pair.

The Wildcats added insurance runs, scoring a pair of runs in the fourth and another run in the sixth.

At the plate, Clay Donajkowski led Alpena going 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored. Cosbitt also added two hits, scored a run and collected an RBI. Aidan Goike singled home a run, VanDusen singled, walked and scored a run.

“We put the bat on the ball, but we may have been a little too aggressive on the basepaths today because we ran into some outs, but other than that I think we did okay offensively,” Schultz said. “Defensively, I thought we had a couple of balls that we didn’t get aggressive on early, but we were pretty solid after that.”

The Wildcats continued to swing the bats well and provided Spomer with more than enough run support as the junior tossed a six-inning shut out, striking out 11 batters and allowing just three baserunners, giving up a pair of hits and a walk.

Alpena wasted no time in the nightcap putting runs on the board, scoring three runs in the first. DeRocher doubled home Goike and Spomer to give Alpena the early lead and DeRocher later came around to score.

The Wildcats tacked on three more in the third and another three in the fourth when DeRocher doubled home two more runs. He finished the day with five RBI.

Offensively in game two, DeRocher paced the Wildcats’ attack going 2-for-2 with a walk, two runs scored and four RBI. Copping and Colin Donajkowski each collected two hits apiece in the convincing win.

Alpena improves to 9-3 overall and remains unbeaten in the BNC at 4-0.

“We look at last year and it was a little disappointing because we didn’t take advantage of some opportunities within the conference and we lost a lot of close games in the BNC and we talked to the kids about playing hard all of the time and it’s nice to get off to a 4-0 start in conference play,” Schultz said. “It’s about getting into a rhythm and I think with this team, the more playing time we get, the better we will be and it will build our consistency and it will be a big difference if we’re able to finally get some nice weather and play games on a more consistent basis.”