By Dan Hardenbrook
The Newberry Varsity Baseball team is in the middle of what may be their biggest week of the regular season.
On Monday night, the Indians hosted Sault Ste. Marie in a pair of non-conference games against another top notch opponent. The Blue Devils brought plenty of big hitters and broke open an early battle in game one, taking a 4-1 lead and turning it into a 16-run margin in the span of the final two innings. The Blue Devils won 17-1.
The Indians’ defense did improve during game one, cutting down on the errors, but the Soo’s aggressive base running and timely hitting was too much to contain. The Indians struggled early, not coming up with a hit until the third inning and only getting two players into scoring position.
Struggles in the opening game of a doubleheader has been a theme for the Indians, who typically bounce back with a big effort in game two. The Soo games were no different, as the team brought an energetic effort into the nightcap, hanging tight with their much larger rivals for most of the second game.
Keith Crewse pitched a perfect first inning and continued to pitch strong, giving up just one earned run through four innings. Crewse ran into some trouble in the 5th inning and a few errors undid his momentum. Liam Shanley came in on relief and pitched two solid innings to finish the contest.
The Indians tried to put together a late rally in their final at bat, but fell short. They managed to cut a 9-1 lead down to 9-5, but left multiple men on base. The score reached 10-5 before being called off for darkness.
The two losses dropped the NHS record to 2-6 on the season. The Indians have a rematch with Pickford on Wednesday, after the two teams split their conference doubleheader late last week. One of the very best teams in the state comes to town Thursday, when the Rudyard Bulldogs—a Division 4 powerhouse and perennial top team in the league—battle it out in a SAC doubleheader.
The busy week will wrap up with the annual Newberry Invitational Tournament on Saturday.