Taking two from the Titans

Spomer tosses no-hitter as Wildcats sweep TC West

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Members of the Alpena baseball team celebrate a doubleheader sweep of Traverse City West on Tuesday and spray starting pitcher Keegan Spomer with water after Spomer no-hit the Titans in the nightcap.

What a difference a few days can make.

The Alpena baseball team was just two days removed from a disappointing championship game loss in its annual home tournament, but the Wildcats knew they needed to focus their attention on Big North Conference play.

That’s exactly what Alpena did.

The Wildcats welcomed Traverse City West on Tuesday and put together two near-flawless performances, sweeping the Titans to remain unbeaten in BNC play as they defeated West by scores of 10-0 and 5-0.

“We played much better than we did over the weekend and it showed,” Alpena coach Phil Schultz said. “We put the ball in play, were solid defensively, took advantage of opportunities and got two great pitching performances. It was the first time in a long time that we’ve ever shut out Traverse City West twice in a doubleheader.”

Keegan Spomer highlighted the stellar pitching as he no-hit the Titans in the nightcap, striking out 13 batters over seven complete innings.

Spomer walked four batters and Alpena committed one error, but came up with key plays defensively behind Spomer in the final inning to complete the no-hitter.

Right fielder Alex Cosbitt came up with two of the big plays in the final inning when he tracked down a ball in right for the first out. Spomer got the second batter to ground out to second baseman Kyle VanDusen and it looked as if Spomer came up an out shy of the no-hitter as West six-hitter Luke Robertson sent a ground ball between first and second, appearing to have spoiled the no-no, but Cosbitt came up with the ball clean in shallow right field and fired the ball to first baseman Chris DeRocher to beat the runner and record the final out and send the Wildcats into a frenzy near their home dugout.

“I noticed during the middle innings that I had a no-hitter going and actually mention something to one of my teammates and everyone was worried I jinxed myself. I had taken a few days off from throwing on the weekend and I was just glad I was able to come back and throw the ball well tonight,” Spomer said. “I was actually really scared and mad when I saw that ball go through the infield and I was thinking it was a hit, but when I saw my teammate throw a bullet to first base, I was so happy and went and gave Alex (Cosbitt) a hug. It feels great to throw a no-hitter against a rival like Traverse City and to come out on top and now be 6-0 in the Big North is just a blessing.”

Alpena scored a run in the second inning and a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth innings and it was more than enough for Spomer who was sharp on Tuesday.

Alpena collected six hits as a team and took advantage of some costly Titan mistakes throughout the middle innings.

Offensively, the Wildcats were led by Bruz Copping who went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Colin Donajkowski had an RBI double. DeRocher, Spomer and Cosbitt each chipped in with hits in the game. DeRocher scored a pair of runs, VanDusen walked and scored a run and Aidan Goike walked, stole a base and scored a run.

The Wildcats made quick work of the Titans in game one as they mercied West in just five innings.

Alpena swung the bats well, got out to a big lead and cashed in on more opportunities that the Titans gave them and it was more than enough for Copping who picked up the win on the mound in game two.

“These were two big wins tonight and everyone else in the conference has at least one loss so it’s nice to be in the driver’s seat and know we control our own destiny moving forward,” Schultz said. “We know there is a lot of ball left to be played, but we know what we have to do and we need to continue working to get better every day to achieve our goals of winning the conference and be playing our best ball late in the season. The more we’re able to continue getting outside and playing and getting into a rhythm, the better off we’ll be.”