In a pitching duel, the Superior Central Cougars defeated the Bark River-Harris Broncos 1-0 at the Superior Central baseball field in Eben Junction on Tuesday, May 30.
Two pitchers combined for the shutout, with Blake Walther getting the win and Trent Rutter getting the save for the Cougars.
“Blake pitched a great game. Threw a lot of strikes and kept them really off balanced. We managed to get a timely run when we had it, and had that one run when we needed it,” SC manager Greg Mannisto said.
The lone run in the game came in the bottom of the second when Lucas Kanerva hit a liner to right to bring in Bradley VanDamme from second. It was the biggest opportunity of the game for SC as the Cougars left three on the bases and had seven bats at the plate. Other innings didn’t go the home team’s way, as the Broncos were able to pick off two base runners in the first and fifth.
The one run was all the Cougars needed though because the home team was able to consistently pitch out of jams. The Broncos reached third base four of six innings and stranded 10 total base runners. Bark River-Harris batters also struck out 10 times to the Walther-Rutter pair.
“We’ve struggled all year to get that third out,” Mannisto said. “Sometimes it comes pretty hard, but finally getting all these games in and experience on the field, it’s a good time to come through right now.”
Lucas Hall took the loss for the Broncos. He allowed three hits, one run and struck out two.
The Broncos were able to salvage the split in the second game with an 8-3 victory over the Cougars. But the doubleheader against BRH, along with parents’ night and the Wilson ceremony, served as a solid ending to a challenging season.
“It’s been a long season especially with all the obstacles in the way. It’s been an interesting year, but they stuck with it and they’re a good group of teammates,” Mannisto said.
For SC, this was the last game before heading to the MHSAA District tournament on Friday. The Cougars will take on Newberry in the semifinals while host Gladstone will face Manistique in the other semifinal. The Braves beat Menominee 10-3 on Wednesday in the opening round.
“We got a good run for districts, so if we play a good game against Newberry we’ll be in the championship game right afterwards. Gladstone has a couple games to play before they get to us, so that’s an advantage when it comes to pitching and what not,” the coach said. “I told these boys we can play with anybody when we get on the field, we just have to put it together for seven innings.”