Muskegon Clippers open season with impressive 17-7 win in front of a big crowd

By Dave Hart

MUSKEGON – The 2018 Muskegon Clippers season started out just like last year – only this time a big crowd left Marsh Field a lot happier.

Now the fans will find out if the easy opening night win could be a sign of good things to come for the Clippers.

Last year the Clippers were pounded by an 11-run margin in their first game in the Great Lake Collegiate Summer Baseball League. They went on to finish 2017 with a sub-.500 record.

But on Friday they inaugurated the new season with an impressive 17-7 victory over the Saginaw Sugar Beets in front of several hundred excited Muskegon fans.

The two teams will play the second of their three-game weekend series on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Marsh Field.

Jacob Wosinski delivers the pitch for the Clippers. Photo/Jason Goorman

While Clippers Manager Walk Gawkowski said there are still some obvious wrinkles to work out, he was very happy with the opening effort.

“It’s a long summer, but it was a good ballgame,” Gawkowski said. “We aren’t going to score 17 every night, but I really like this team. We got a real good mix.”

“What I really liked is that we swung the bats pretty good and we were really good defensively. We are going to get better as the year goes on.”

Muskegon scored 17 runs on 17 hits, with all nine starters scoring and knocking in at least one run.

The Clippers jumped out to a 9-0 lead, scoring four in the first, one in the second and four more in the third.

Saginaw cut its deficit to 9-5 after putting up one run in the fourth and four in the fifth..

Muskegon bounced back with a two-spot in the bottom of the fifth to take an 11-5 lead, before the Sugar Beets countered with two in the seventh.

The Clippers closed out their scoring in the eighth inning with six runs, including four on a grand slam by second-year returnee Ryan Blake-Jones.

Newcomer Mason Stiles had three RBIs for Muskegon. Jack Butler, Blake Dunn and Nolan Bryant each had three hits while Blake-Jones and Jimmy Roche each added two.

Pitcher Jacob Kieffer started the game for the Clippers and picked up a no-decision, allowing one run on two hits while striking out three batters.

Reliever Jacob Wosinski got the win, allowing two runs on two hits while striking out five batters in three innings.

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