By Dave Hart
The Muskegon Clippers traveled to Caledonia Thursday to play the River City Rapids without their leadoff hitter, shortstop Connor Seymour, and one of their top power hitters, outfielder Matt Williams.
They were handcuffed without those two productive bats, dropping a 4-2 decision at Davenport University for their first loss of the season. The Clippers are now 8-1 with a three game lead over the rest of the pack in the Michigan Summer Collegiate Baseball League.
Muskegon will return to action this weekend with three road games against the Motor City Pride, with a single game on Friday night and a doubleheader on Saturday.
The Clippers jumped out to a 2-0 lead after two innings, but gave up one in the second, one in the third and two in the fifth.
They were unable to mount a rally against River City pitcher Nick Kamrada, who scattered seven hits in seven innings while striking out eight and walking two. Three Muskegon hits came in the first inning, before Kamrada settled in and found his groove on the mound.
The Clippers had runners on first and second with two out in the ninth inning, but left the runners stranded.
Ryan Mergener and Matt Mandes each had two singles for the Clippers while Jason Ribecky and Adrian Anderson each had an RBI hit.
Muskegon pitcher Nick Eely took the loss, surrendering nine hits while striking out three and walking two.
“We didn’t expect to go 34-0,” said Muskegon Manager Walt Gawkowski. “It was hard to generate offense without traffic on the basepaths.”
The good news is that Williams is only out for the next few games while he’s out of town on personal business.
The more worrisome news is that Seymour, who is also a sure-handed infielder, was walking around before the game with an ice pack on his right hand.
He injured his wrist in a non-baseball work activity and could be out for some time, according to Gawkowski. Seymour is expected to have x-rays later this week.
“It was disappointing seeing Seymour hurt,” Gawkowski said. “I pray that it’s not too serious. We carry a limited roster so everyone can have a decent number of at bats, so we would have to go get an infielder.”
One bright spot in the contest was the defensive play of catcher Connor Glick, who threw out
three runners trying to steal second, and picked another runner off first base.
Glick’s performance is even more impressive considering he recently completed his freshman season with the Grand Valley State University baseball team.
“Connor had a great game behind the plate,” Gawkowski said. “He had a real quick release when he throws the ball. He is real impressive for a true freshman.”