Calvin Baseball Sweeps The Scots in Monday Matinee

Calvin Baseball Sweeps The Scots in Monday Matinee

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Calvin baseball team claimed a crucial MIAA doubleheader sweep of Alma Monday afternoon, defeating the visiting Scots 1-0 and 3-2.

The doubleheader sweep moves Calvin into a tie for fourth place with Trine in the MIAA league standings and also allowed the Knights to win three of their four games against the Scots.

Calvin (15-16 overall, 10-10 MIAA) received standout pitching and strong defense to claim the pair of victories.

In game one, sophomore Jonathan Keane (Brookfield, Wisc./Brookfield East HS) tossed a three-hit shutout over seven innings, striking out nine and walking none.

Calvin scored the only run of the game in the third inning as senior Mike Kempton (Edwardsburg, Mich./Edwardsburg HS) dropped a triple down the right field line and scored on an infield shot by junior Nate DeZwaan (Hamilton, Mich./Holland Christian HS) that was mishandled by the Alma shortstop.

Alma's best chance to score came in the sixth as the Scots placed a runner on second with two outs. Alma third baseman Adam Thoryk just missed a two-run homer moments later, blasting a shot just foul down the left field line. Thoryk then grounded out to shortstop, ending the threat.

In the seventh, Keane retired the Alma side in order including the final out on a strikeout to seal the second complete game shutout victory of his collegiate career.

In game two, Alma (11-21 overall, 9-11 MIAA) took a 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the first. Alma continued to threaten in the second and third but Calvin freshman catcher Logan Marshall (Plymouth, Mich./Salem HS) twice cut down Scot base runners attempting to steal.
In the top of the fifth, Alma had runners on second  and third with two outs but Kempton was able to extinguish the threat with a diving two-out catch in right field.

Calvin tied the game in the fifth as junior Ryan Stewart (Detroit, Mich./Parkway Christian HS) led off with a single to left field, moved to second on a passed ball and then came in to score on a bloop single to right by sophomore Beau Redfield (Cedar Springs, Mich./Northpointe Christian HS).

Alma regained a 2-1 lead with a run in the top of the sixth but the Knights answered with two runs in the bottom half of the inning as Keane delivered a sacrifice fly and junior Johnny Salgado (Whittier, Ca./Whittier HS) smacked an RBI single.

Sophomore Clay Francisco (Delton, Mich./Thornapple-Kellogg HS) tossed the final 3.2 innings and was stellar down the stretch. Francisco kept Alma off the scoreboard over the final three innings and struck out six batters including three of the final four batters he faced.

Francisco picked up the win in relief to bump his season record to 3-2. Stewart and Redfield had two hits apiece for the Knights. Sophomore Jimmy Dirksen (Portage, Mich./Kalamazoo Christian HS) went the first 4.2 innings for Calvin while freshman Mike Kool (Sturgis, Ind./Centerville HS) also tossed two-thirds of an inning for the Knights.

"It all started with game one with Jonathan Keane," said Calvin baseball coach John Rypel. "He pitched like the ace we knew he would be this year. He had his slider working and he was able to locate his fastball. We also got a nice start out of Jimmy Dirksen in game two and our bullpen came in and did a great job."

Rypel also praised the attitude of his team for keeping the Knights on a steady keel. "The one thing this team has is they like being around each other and they like the game of baseball," he said. "They don't put a lot of extra pressure on themselves, they just go out and play and that was evident again this afternoon."

Calvin returns to action on Wednesday when it travels to Manchester University (Ind.) for a non-conference game slated to start at 4 p.m.