Lewis baseball eliminated from Midwest Regional with 9-5 loss to GVSU
From a bunt to a run: This Kyle Kapka bunt eventually turned into two runs for Lewis in the second inning. | Photo by Steve Woltmann
YPSILANTI, Mich. - No. 6 seeded Lewis baseball saw their 2012 season come to an end on Friday (May 18) afternoon at the hands of No. 2 seeded and No. 9 nationally Grand Valley State. The Lakers bested the Flyers 9-5 in the Midwest Regional elimination contest at Oestrike Stadium on the campus of Eastern Michigan University. The bid to the Midwest Regional was the first for Lewis since 1996.
See all Lewis men's baseball news.
The Flyers held leads of 3-1, 4-3 and 5-4. The Lakers had an answer each time. GVSU broke the game open with four runs in the top of the seventh to take an 8-5 lead. Three of the four runs in the seventh scored with two outs.
The Flyers threw four runners out at home in the game, including each starting outfielder for the Flyers throwing a runner out.
"Both teams really fought," Lewis head coach Tim McDonough said. "Whenever you get in an elimination game in a tournament like this with what is at stake, both teams are going to fight. I'm proud of our guys for their effort today it just wasn't quite enough."
GVSU struck for a run in the first but it could have been worse. Senior Andrew Brauer (Bolingbrook, Ill./Montini/College of DuPage) threw out GVSU's Brian Robinson trying to score on a fly ball to left. Brauer's one hop throw easily cut down the sliding Robinson.
The Flyers hung a three-spot in the bottom of the second inning. The big play was a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Kyle Kapka (Mount Prospect, Ill./Prospect). GVSU third baseman Brian Robinson handled the bunt but threw it down the right field line, scoring a pair. Kapka came in two batters later on a sacrifice fly to center field by senior Michael Wido (Downers Grove, Ill./Downers Grove South)
The lead didn't last long though as GVSU scored a pair of runs in the top of the third to tie the game at three. Daktronics Midwest Region Player of the Year Steve Anderson drove in both runs with a two-out single.
Lewis took the lead back on a two-out solo home run by senior Brauer in the third. His shot over the left field wall was his sixth of the season and gave Lewis a 4-3 advantage.
In the fifth, a two-out walk brought up GVSU's Anderson again. His double tied the contest at four.
It looked like GVSU might take the lead in the sixth when a Jared Cowan doubled to start the frame. He moved to third on a groundout. GVSU's next batter, Stephan Claypool, hit a sinking line drive to center field that senior Mike Bolling (Chicago, Ill./Guerin Prep/Triton) caught. With his momentum going toward the plate, Bolling easily threw out Cowan trying to score.
A two-out double by junior Michael Schroeder (Crown Point, Ind./North Newton/Triton) scored sophomore Ben Albano (West Dundee, Ill./Jacobs) from first in the sixth inning to put the Flyers up 5-4. As was the story all game, GVSU responded in a hurry. Three straight singles in the seventh tied the game at one and forced Lewis starter sophomore Tom Helwich (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln Way Central) from the game with runners at first and third.
Helwich allowed six runs (five earned) on 11 hits with four strikeouts in 6.0 innings. He took the loss to drop his record to 7-2.
Senior Drew Hicks (Pekin, Ill./Pekin) entered to pitch for Helwich. The first batter he saw hit a bouncer back to the mound. Hicks fielded it and threw out the runner trying to score from third for the first out. The next batter singled to right field only to see Albano throw the runner who was on second out at home. Hicks was an out away from getting out of the inning tied at five, but three consecutive RBI singles drove in a trio of runs to give the Lakers an 8-5 lead.
The Lakers added one in the eighth to make the final 9-5. Ryan Garman picked up the win for GVSU. He is now 10-2.
Schroeder finished the game with two hits, an RBI and a run scored. Albano scored twice.
"I told the team at the end of the game this is something they're going to be proud of for the rest of their lives," McDonough said. "Alot of kids don't get this opportunity and they should be grateful and thankful. Hopefully we can build on this and progress farther next year."
GVSU improves to 42-15. Lewis ends the 2012 season 33-22.
For the full box score of the game, click here.