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Grosse Ile manages late runs to beat Huron in pitcher's duel
Senior aces Eric Smorch and Elijah Scott went toe-to-toe on the mound when Grosse Ile faced Huron on Tuesday.
With both pitchers taking no-hitters into the fourth inning of a pitching duel, the Devils' offense needed all seven innings to defeat the Chiefs 3-1. Thomas Lowler's safety squeeze in the seventh inning plated Brandon Lippert for the game's first run. Smorch drove in the would-be game-winning run one batter later.
Grosse Ile Coach Cliff Whitehouse said patience at the plate eventually payed off for his team.
"I tried to preach patience early on and we kept swinging at the first pitch. The pitcher (Elijah Scott) had nine putouts or whatever he had," he said. "I guess just being disciplined and not getting ahead of yourself, not changing your game plan because there's zeroes on the board. That was their plan, so they wound up coming back to 'em and it worked out for them."
Devils' senior Eric Smorch pitched a complete game, striking out two and allowing only one run on two hits. He issued three walks and hit two batters.
"Coming off spring break, I didn't know what to expect," Smorch said. "Coach told me I had the ball and try going as far as I can, keep the pitches in each inning, keep them down so I can go as far as I can (and) help this team out."
Zach Williams singled to right field to break up Smorch's bid at a no-hitter with one out in the fourth inning, but Smorch was able to rebound, allowing only one more hit.
Even with the no-hit bid broken up, Whitehouse was impressed with his pitcher's dominance over Huron's lineup.
"Huron has some good hitters in that lineup. Eric does a good job changing speeds and he spots his fastball real well," Whitehouse said. "He's kind of crafty up there, not a lot of power pitching but he's crafty. To be honest with you, I just go inning-by-inning, trying to win.
"They looked up by me and they said, 'There goes the no-no.' I was like, 'Oh, there goes the no-no.' I wasn't thinking much about it and I bet Eric wasn't either. He's a gamer. He wanted the W more than he wanted the no-hitter."
Smorch's brother, Neil, drove in Grosse Ile's third and final run with a triple.
Scott pitched out of jams early but could not halt Grosse Ile's patience offense in the seventh inning. He tossed a complete game and allowed three runs on four hits. Scott struck out seven, walked three and hit a batter in the first inning.
Huron Coach Dan Kalbfleisch said Scott pitched well but Grosse Ile was able to manufacture timely runs.
"They didn't hit Eli hard, but they did a great job of manufacturing runs," Huron Coach Dan Kalbfleisch said. "Coach Whitehouse is good at his job. I went out there (in the seventh) and told the kids we should probably expect a squeeze. They executed and that's what baseball is.
"He knew, I knew the squeeze was coming. We knew it was coming and they executed it. That's good baseball."
Huron senior Jesse McGowan reached base in the seventh inning after being hit by a pitch. A stolen base moved him into scoring position, where he scored the team's only run on a fielder's choice by Tyler Keller.
Huron (2-6, 0-2) faces Monroe Jefferson on Wednesday. Grosse Ile (3-4, 1-1) continues its Huron-League run Wednesday against Riverview.
Last Updated: 4/29/2014 9:52:43 PM EST