Bay Port sophomore Brock Noe fires a pitch in the team’s spring training trip to Florida last week. The Pirates came home with a win and two losses (Laura Plummer photo).
BY RICH PALZEWIC
SUAMICO – With the weather not looking favorable for the Bay Port baseball team to get outside this week, the Pirates took their talents to Florida over the school district’s spring break last week and came home with a win and two losses.
The team won a 17-10 slugfest March 27 over Keswick Christian, before dropping 8-5 and 5-4 games to Tampa Prep, and Bishop McLaughlin Catholic respectively later in the week.
“We had great weather and got lots of work in,” said head coach Mike Simoens. “Our players worked very hard. We found out some things we need to improve on, but we were also pleasantly surprised by some players that made big improvements from last year. We are looking forward to getting started back here in Wisconsin – someday!”
In the win over Keswick, Logan Donart hit a grand slam in the fourth inning, which was then followed up by a Jordan Bindas two-run homer that gave the Pirates an 8-7 lead. The two homeruns were part of an eight-run scoring burst for Bay Port in the fourth.
The Pirates had taken a 5-0 lead in the opening inning, only to see Keswick score seven in the bottom of the third. Bay Port also scored three in the sixth to put the game away. The Pirates collected 12 hits but committed five errors on the day.
Jake Berg scored four runs and drew four walks, while Bindas, Bobby Tilot, Donart and Carter Highline had two hits apiece. Call Verlanic collected three hits.
Highline picked up the win on the mound with his 1.2 innings of relief. Stephen Gnagi started and went two innings, and didn’t give up a run. Jett Thielke, Tilot and Verlanic also saw pitching action.
In the middle game of the trip, Bay Port took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning against Tampa Prep, only to see the victors put up a six-spot to seal the game. The Pirates outhit the winners by a 10-8 margin, but four errors didn’t help.
Verlanic (3), Bindas (2) and Jake Hebert (2) each collected multiple hits, while Brad Bernklau walked four times and had two RBI.
Verlanic, Highline, Thielke and Grant Maus all pitched, with Thielke picking up the loss.
In the closest game of the three, Bay Port lost a 5-4 heartbreaker March 31 to Bishop Catholic. Bishop scored a single run in the bottom of the seventh to squeak out the win.
The Pirates had tied things at four with a three-run sixth where Hebert, Berg and Highline all had RBI in the frame.
Verlanic and Hebert each collected two hits in the six-hit Bay Port attack.
Gnagi, Tilot and Josh Shackelford (who took the loss) saw mound duty.
Other players who made the trip to Florida were Max Kerscher, Mars McGriff, Brett Stanzel, Ryan Kemppainen, Zach Paulsen, Jaden Wilson, Taylor Kurowski, Cole Weber, Sam Salemi, Brock Noe, Jake Plummer, Karch Verlanic Matt Doherty and Alex Delebreau.