Mistakes cost Tigers in regional baseball loss

News Photo by James Andersen Alcona starter Jon Surgener delivers a pitch during the first inning of Wednesday’s Division 4 regional semifinal. Surgener pitched the first four innings for Alcona before being relieved by Josh Kilbourn.

MIO–Mistakes caught up to the Alcona baseball team at the wrong time on Wednesday.

The Tigers committed four errors during a Division 4 regional semifinal against Marlette and ultimately paid for their mistakes in an 8-4 loss at Mio High School.

Alcona (15-16) briefly led in the fourth inning, but four errors–one each inning between the second and fifth innings–allowed the Red Raiders to pull ahead for good.

All told, Alcona’s errors were directly tied to five of Marlette’s eight runs.

“That’s exactly what I just told them; we made too many errors in the field,” Alcona coach Nathan Walker said after his team’s postgame huddle. “That’s the difference in the game. They put eight on the board and I bet you there was only two or three of them that were earned.”

Marlette tied the game 4-4 after an RBI single by Gavin Gage to score Brett Havens in the fourth inning. Havens got on base with one out after a dropped third strike and an errant throw to first base.

An outfield error in the fifth inning allowed the Red Raiders to pull ahead for good as Cody Hayden came in to score. A sac fly from Peyton Dale added another run, putting Marlette up 6-4.

After two quiet innings, Alcona caught fire at the plate in the bottom of the third inning, scoring four runs to take a 4-3 lead.

Josh Kilbourn had a two-run single for Alcona and Jacob Sytek and Jon Surgener each had an RBI.

The Tigers chased Marlette starter Chad Bower after 2 1/3 innings, but Hayden came up big for the Red Raiders the rest of the way.

In the final 4 2/3 innings, Hayden allowed one run on five hits and struck out six. Over the final three innings, Alcona was held to two hits and stranded a pair of base runners.

“They brought in that new pitcher and he threw a little bit harder and a little bit different and held us in check,” Walker said. “I’m super proud of the way these guys handled themselves this year.”

Marlette tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the seventh inning after an RBI single from Gage and a sac fly from Hayden.

Gage led Marlette with three hits and two RBI; Havens had a pair of hits and an RBI and Sean Quade had two hits.

Kilbourn took the loss for Alcona, pitching the final three innings in relief of Surgener.

An infield error in the second inning led to Marlette’s first run and the Red Raiders cashed in again in the top of the third inning as another infield error brought two runs around to score, giving Marlette a 3-0 lead.

Jakob Tanner led Alcona with two hits.

Walker said he was proud of the way his team played all season and for working hard to accomplish a team goal of winning a district title. Alcona won a district title last Friday for the first time since 2017.

“Nobody expected us to be where we are right now; being a .500 team and winning a district and getting into this game,” Walker said. “We set a goal–the first practice I bring everybody inside in my office and we talk about goals–we set a goal to win a district championship and we got that goal. “