By Craig Beilfuss

GRAND RAPIDS— The Reeths-Puffer Rockets were eliminated from the Division 1 regional baseball tournament with a 10-4 setback to Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern.

The game, originally scheduled for Cedar Springs on Wednesday, was moved to Cornerstone University. The game was delayed 81 minutes from the original start time of 6:30 p.m. The umpire crew deemed the field ready for play at 7:51 p.m.

It will be a decision questioned by many, and particularly, Reeths-Puffer coach Butch Attig.

Attig had no issues with the Huskies domination of his Rockets on the field. The Rockets were limited to just one hit in the game, which was shortened to 4 1/2 innings due to weather.

We shouldn’t have even played this game,” Coach Attig said. Hindsight is 20-20. But we shouldn’t have played this game. We should have started it tomorrow and played tomorrow. But conditions were equal for both teams. I could make a spectacle, but what is that going to do? It’ll belittle me and our program.”

Photo by Joe Lane II/LSJ photographer

Reeths-Puffer got on the board with a run in the top of the first inning. Brody Panozzo drew a walk and eventually came around to score via two throwing errors by the Huskies.

Forest Hills Northern evened things up in the bottom half of the first inning on a triple and a groundout.

The Huskies pulled away for good in the bottom of the second inning with six runs. The hosts sent 11 batters to the plate and grabbed a commanding 7-1 lead.

Reeths-Puffer countered with a pair of third-inning runs, but the Huskies didn’t let up. Three more runs in the bottom of the third increased the advantage to 10-3.

The Rockets scored a run in the top half of the fifth inning before the game was called because of weather conditions.

Jordan Bochenek took the loss for Reeths-Puffer. He pitched 1 2/3 innings. He allowed six runs on four hits and one walk.

Brody Panozzo had the only hit for the Rockets, a two-run single in the third inning. The Rockets did manage eight walks, but stranded seven runners in the game.

Forest Hills Northern had nine hits.

Jack Snow got the win for the Huskies with 3 1/3 innings of work. He allowed three runs on the one hit and two strikeouts.

Caleb Woolery went 3-for-3 at the plate to lead the Huskies’ hitting attack. Justin St. Antoine knocked in three runs.

We have a neutral third party dictating what we do and they have no skin in the game and I have a problem with that,” Attig said. “I don’t have a problem with losing. I have a huge problem that a third party gets to dictate that. I’m not making excuses we lost the game.”

Attig, whose team finished 23-9 season with a district title, had signature victories over state-ranked Mona Shores and Kenowa Hills. The Rockets have seven seniors on their roster.

My seven seniors deserved a good day to play baseball, win or lose, to go out on or to move on,” Attig said. “They didn’t deserve this in this memory. That’s what I’m saying. Those seven seniors are just very special to me and I’m so proud of them.”

Photos courtesy of LSJ photographer Joe Lane II