Muskegon Clippers go on an offensive tear, beating River City 9-1 and remaining undefeated

By Dave Hart

CALEDONIA – The last time the Muskegon Clippers played the River City Rapids, they walked off the field in disappointment.LSJ Logo incert

They lost 7-4 on the last game of the 2014 season, and in the process lost the Michigan Summer Collegiate Baseball League championship to the Rapids.

Clippers pitcher Kyle Lawson

Clippers pitcher Kyle Lawson

Forward to Wednesday, when the Clippers took a bit of revenge with a 9-1 victory over River City at Davenport College in Caledonia.

The victory kept the Clippers undefeated with a 4-0 record in the young season. They are in first place in the league, one game ahead of the Michigan Monarchs.

The Clippers and Monarchs will meet this weekend at Marsh Field in Muskegon, with a 7 p.m. single game on Friday night and a 4:30 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday.

“It always feels good to win,” said Clippers Manager Walt Gawkowski. “This is a new season, so we are not concerned what happened last year, it’s behind us.

“Sometimes in summer baseball you fight the energy factor. I wanted them to play with enough energy and I thought they did. We got a well-pitched game from (Kyle) Lawson, we swung the bat well, had a lot of quality at bats, and we played well defensively.

“It was a great effort tonight.”

Leading the offensive barrage for the Clippers on Wednesday were Adrian Anderson, who had three hits and two RBIs; Jason Ribecky, who had two hits and three RBIs; and Ryan Mergener and Matt Mandes, who each had two hits and scored two runs.

The Clippers outhit the Rapids 12-9.

“It was just a matter of seeing (the ball), getting the barrel on it and hitting it,” said Anderson, who got the Clippers on the board with a two-run single in the first inning.

Anderson, a North Muskegon graduate who played at Muskegon Community College this spring, said his first year with the Clippers has been everything he hoped for so far.

“This has been a blast, probably the most fun I’ve had in baseball,” he said. “Everyone’s good, we compete, everyone knows how to play the game.”

Starting pitcher Kyle Lawson got the win, pitching six innings, scattered eight hits, striking out five and walking one.

Jordan Drake pitched two innings of relief, walking two and striking out one. Brendon Melchert pitched the ninth inning and gave up one hit.

The game could have turned out much differently if Lawson had not hung tough in the first two difficult innings.

In the bottom of the first the Rapids had runners on first and third with two outs, before Lawson struck out Brendan Johnson to end the threat.

In the second inning the Rapids scored their only run, then loaded the bases with one out, before Lawson coaxed a pop-up from Tyler Baritono and struck out Brendon Cable to end the inning.

“I just went out there trying to give my team the best chance to win,” Lawson said after the game. ” (The Rapids) were a good team last year, they are a good team this year, so it feels good to get the first win.”

The Clippers never trailed after Anderson’s two-run single in the second inning.

The Rapids cut the deficit to one run in the bottom of the second, scoring on a Clipper error.

Muskegon added two runs in the third inning on an RBI ground out by Matt Williams and an RBI sacrifice fly by Ribecky.

Ribecky gave the Clippers a 5-1 lead in the fifth with an RBI double.

Muskegon blew the game open by scoring four runs in the sixth inning.

Connor Seymour knocked in a run on a ground out, Jamie Potts walked with the bases loaded, Matt Williams hit an RBI sacrifice fly, and Ribecky added a single to knock in his third run of the night.






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