News Sports Editor
News Photo by James Andersen
Alpena’s Zach Nash, left, takes a lead off of first base as Petoskey first baseman Kenny Gray waits on defense during the second game of a doubleheader on Thursday at Alpena High School.
The Alpena baseball team saw two different sides of itself on Tuesday: When the Wildcats hit the ball well, they're a dangerous team. When they don't, it can make for miserable day.
Such was the case on Thursday as the Wildcats started off on a high note, but couldn't maintain a high level of energy throughout the day and wound up splitting with Petoskey.
Alpena won the opener 6-4 and lost the nightcap 5-3.
Alpena scored five runs in the first inning of the opener on four hits, but after that the Wildcats (8-2) managed just six hits the rest of the day.
"After the first inning of the first game, we were pretty flat. The enthusiasm wasn't there, the energy, I don't know where it was," Alpena coach Phil Schultz said. "We won two nice games on Tuesday, faced a tough pitcher and then today we came out and did well the first inning, but for whatever reason we just didn't have the energy today."
Alpena looked to be on the verge of a comeback in the final inning of the second game after its first three batters, Brady Marwede, Zach Nash and Tim Atkinson reached safely. Petoskey got a break when the next batter, Dylan Glennie flied out to right and the Northmen were able to force an additional out at third base. The play still managed to score Marwede, but the Northmen were able to end the game on the next batter.
Alpena had no shortage of base runners in the second game, but couldn't bring them home when it counted most. The Wildcats stranded two base runners in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Petoskey tallied all its runs in the third inning with the highlight being a two run double from Cole Paul. Jordan Swiss added an RBI single in the inning and Mitchell Smielewski had an RBI groundout.
Marwede, who led Alpena with two hits, had an RBI single in the second inning to score Tyler Pintar and Dylan Hoes had an sac fly in the sixth inning to score Mitch Skiba.
Andy Marwede took the loss for Alpena, allowing five runs on seven hits with five strikeouts, two walks and a hit batter. Pat Antonides was the winning pitcher for Petoskey, striking out four and walking six.
The Wildcats caught fire early in the opener, scoring five runs in their first trip to the plate. Glennie had a two-run double, Skiba had an RBI single and Pintar scored on a passed ball.
Petoskey threatened to cut into the lead in the third inning after two batters reached on walks, but Atkinson, who earned the win for Alpena, got flyout and a strikeout to end the threat.
The Northmen tallied two runs in the fourth inning and then scored twice more in the fifth inning when Swiss hit a two-run home run off the center field scoreboard.
Atkinson scored on a bases-loaded walk in the sixth inning with Brady Marwede earning an RBI.
Atkinson pitched five innings and allowed five walks and four runs on four hits with eight strikeouts. Nick Skiba pitched the last two innings in relief and earned the save after striking out three and walking three.
Cole took the loss for Petoskey and the Northmen stranded seven base runners for the game.
Alpena will host the two-day MacKenzie Invitational starting today and will open tournament play against Algonac at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon. Grosse Pointe North will play Sault Ste. Marie in today's other matchup.
The Wildcats haven't won their home tournament since 2008 and will be looking to stop Grosse Pointe North, who's already split with Alpena this season and has won the last three invitationals.
"It should be pretty strong. Grosse Pointe's down a little bit, but they're still pretty good," Schultz said. "We'd love to (win). We were put at a disadvantage with the scheduling, but we're going to do what we can and we're going to scrape up as many arms as possible and be as competitive as we can be."
The Alpena JV baseball team split a pair of games in Petoskey, winning the opener 5-3 and losing the second game 5-4 in five innings.
Caleb Myers earned the win for Alpena (7-1) in the opener, allowing three runs on five hits with 11 strikeouts in six innings.
Chris Modrzynski earned the save after pitching the final inning.
Myers was 3-for-4, Brad Styma was 2-for-4 and Modrzynski was 2-for-3.
Ryan Cadarette took the loss for Alpena in the nightcap, allowing five runs on five hits with six strikeouts in four innings.
Myers was 2-for-3 and Cadarette and Dylan Tucker each had a hit.
James Andersen can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.