Local Sports

Pioneer baseball picking up steam

Photo courtesy of Cheyenne Williams Photography

By Calli Newberry

The Croswell-Lexington Pioneers are hitting their stride. 

After a 3-2 loss against Armada Monday, they rallied to even the series on their home field Wednesday, winning the game in five innings, 15-4. 

And Thursday, they defeated Algonac – a team who had beaten them 12-2 in five innings back in April – with a final score of 6-2. 

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“The first game against Algonac, I think we were still trying to find our so called ‘identity’ with the team: who best fit where, where the guys wanted to hit, and who was hitting at the time,” Cros-Lex head coach Bryce Davis said. “Ever since we had our worst game I’d say of the season against Richmond at home, things have been really starting to click.” 

Since their 16-1 loss against Richmond on May 4, the Pioneers have gone 3-3, putting them at 7-8 on the season overall, 4-6 in the BWAC. 

“Our bats are coming alive, our defense has been alive, and honestly, the boys are all alive and we’re catching our stride, I think at the best time being only a few weeks out from districts,” Davis said. “Things are looking pretty and I wouldn’t want it any other way right now.” 

Cros-Lex posted 11 hits last night, led by senior Ian Katalski who went 2-for-3, including a home run in the bottom of the sixth that put the Pioneers ahead 4-2. 

“I had no idea where it went,” Katalski said about his home run. “I was just running to first and then [coach Jon Gelinski] was over at first and celebrating so I was like, ‘OK, I must’ve done something good.’” 

Katalski was also the winning pitcher, staying on the mound for the game’s entirety to throw four strikeouts and give up two hits. 

“I was pretty relaxed coming into the day,” he said. “You’ve got to know what you have to do. It’s a job. You’ve got to show up, support, and do what you have to do.” 

Perhaps the best example of the Pioneers’ progress showed up in the top of the sixth. They were clinging to a 3-2 lead with one out and bases loaded with Muskrats. 

Algonac’s Josiah Dierolf then hit a grounder to third baseman Nick Monzo, who snatched up the ball and threw it to first baseman Benny Mendoza. After getting the runner out, Mendoza turned to home, snapping the ball to catcher Nolan Moore, completing the double play and ending the Muskrats’ scoring threat. 

“It’s little things like that that we don’t get to work on in practice every day because it’s a situation in a game that happens very rarely,” Davis said. “They made the proper throws, they caught the ball and made the proper tags…got ourselves out of a jam. That switched the momentum at that point.”

The Pioneers went into the bottom of the sixth to record three more hits after Katalski’s homer. Adam Barbarich (1-for-3) hit a double to left field, and Jett Weeder (2-for-3) and Mendoza (1-for-4, three RBI) each posted a single, combining for a three-run inning.  

Cros-Lex will return to its home field Monday for another BWAC matchup against Imlay City. The first pitch is set to be thrown at 4:30. 

“Sometimes it might be the best thing to have the rough part of the season right at the very beginning because then you get all the bad ball out of the way and you figure out the best part of your game,” Davis said. “I think that’s kind of where we’re at right now.” 

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