Alpena rallies in seven

Late inning surge helps Wildcats defeat Marquette

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena’s Chris DeRocher, left, slides into home plate to score the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning of a baseball game against Marquette on Friday at Alpena High School.

The Alpena High baseball team sprang to life at just the right time on Friday.

Chris DeRocher scored on a fielder’s choice to complete a three-run seventh inning rally that gave the Wildcats enough runs to edge Marquette 4-3 during the opening day of the MacKenzie Invitational at Alpena High School.

Collin Donajkowski had a two-run single just after DeRocher reached base on an error, injecting some life into an Alpena offense that managed just four hits in the victory. Donajkowski’s hit scored Aidan Goike and Bruz Copping to tie the game 3-3. It also moved DeRocher over to second base. DeRocher stole third base and came around on a score when Owen Limback hit into a fielder’s choice.

It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but the Wildcats (10-3) will take it.

“I was glad to see the kids rise to the occassion and come through at the end there. We were pretty much snakebit; we hit the ball hard (but) it was always at somebody and it looked like one of those games where nothing’s going to go your way,” Alpena coach Phil Schultz said.

Outside of one big inning for both teams, the game proved to be an even contest. Through the first three innings, the two teams scattered just three hits. Marquette pulled ahead in the top of third inning, pairing a pair of hits with some lapses by Alpena’s defense.

The Redmen led off the inning with a double and a single to put runners on the corners. From there, Marquette to advantage of three passed balls and a balk to plate three runs. Alpena quickly ended the inning after that, but until the seventh inning, it was enough to hold the Wildcats at bay.

Alpena made solid contact at the plate all day, but many of the balls the Wildcats hit were line drivers to Marquette’s outfield. Alpena was held to two hits through the first three innings and stranded four base runners. The Wildcats finally broke through in the fourth inning when Donajkowski scored on an error to make it 3-1.

Schultz hoped his team wouldn’t have to win the game in its last turn at the plate, but called the win a good character-builder for the Wildcats.

“We were kind of flat, just going through the motions in the first part of the game,” Schultz said. “(I told them) ‘You guys have to come out with fire and intensity every game, every inning.’ Something like this, hopefully we build on it.”

The Wildcats had a chance to add some runs in the sixth inning after they loaded the bases with two outs. Marquette was able to escape the jam however on a liner right to the center fielder. The Wildcats wasted no time in their final at-bats though. Goike singled to start things off and advanced to second base on a passed ball. With one out, Copping was hit by a pitch and DeRocher reached on an infielder error to load the bases for Donajkowski.

“The big thing was we said ok we’ve got the top of our order coming up and (the message was), ‘Be patient, get good pitches and take it one at-bat at a time,'” Schultz said. “That’s what we kind of did there. We battled, made the kid through strikes and put the bat on the ball.”

Jordan Schultz got the start for Alpena and pitched five innings. He allowed three runs on four hits with five walks and 11 strikeouts. Donajkowski pitched the final two innings, allowing a hit and striking out three.

Jake Allard-Soucey led Marquette with two hits and Goike, Donajkowski, Keegan Spomer and Kyle VanDusen each singled for Alpena.

The MacKenzie Invitational will continue today beginning at 10 a.m. Alpena will play Sault Ste. Marie and Standish will play Marquette at 10 a.m. After lunch, around 1 p.m., Alpena will play Standish and Sault will play Marquette.