JV BASEBALL: Looking forward to a great season on the diamond
Elk Rapids High School 2014 JV Baseball Team: b l/r: Coach Robert Bachi, Philip Hoff, Jacob Sternhagen, Reese Kellogg, AJ Anderson, Cole Ventzke, Asst. Coach Tim Barber, Coach Tim Barber. f l/r: Dylan Gilbert, Alex Settles, Troy Swanson, Zeb Miles, Ryan Shively, Brandon Keegan, Dylan Send, Mike Pearson.
Rob Bachi takes over as baseball coach for the JV Elks this season, having worn the “ELK” logo on the field himself. Bachi, a 2001 ER grad, played for the Elks from 1998-2001. An ankle injury from high school kept him from advancing far into college ball. After a stint at Olivet College as a JV baseball coach, Bachi returned to Elk baseball for two years to work with the first basemen, and help out on JV. Assisting at the varsity level last season, Bachi took over the JV job vacated when Coach Barber moved up to varsity.
Having been around the program for a few years, Bachi has knowledge of the players and system. That helps with a season like the one experienced by northern Michigan sports, with many cancellations and limited outdoor practices.
The JV consists of 14 players this season, six sophomores and eight freshmen. The cohesiveness of the team is a strong point according to Bachi. “A lot of these boys have played together for years, so they all mesh really well. We have a lot of defensive talent, with most players able to play multiple positions, and some real strength at the plate. We have only been able to get outside a handful of times though. If we could actually get on the ball field and play, we definitely have the ability to win a lot of games!”
Sophomores AJ Anderson and Philip Hoff return to anchor the pitching staff, and man the infield. Freshmen Jacob Sternhagen and Zeb Miles will figure into the pitching rotation. Freshman Troy Swanson, described as a “wall” behind the plate by Bachi, is showing talent on the mound and at the plate. Sophomores Dallas Knox, Cole Ventzke, Dylan Send and Ryan Shively can play the outfield and catch. Rounding out the team are freshmen Alex Settles, Michael Pearson, Reese Kellogg, Brandon Keegan and Dylan Gilbert, all who can be slated into several positions.
“These guys seem to always want to do more,” Bachi says with enthusiasm. “They not only want to get better, but I swear most of them would stay longer every day if it meant more rounds in the cage or a few more reps on defense. We need to get out and work on a little bit of everything, on something other than a wood floor.”
The JV has had a few games canceled, but at this point looks like they will be able to be made up. The problem of the poor condition of the Elks home field will remain for a while. The Elks are scheduled to play St. Francis at home today, but the game will most likely have to be switched to St. Francis. On Friday, the JV travels to Grayling for a make-up double header, and are hopeful to get a pair of games in against Kingsley on Saturday. “We might have six games in three days, but who knows what we’ll actually get in, so we have to take whatever we can get,” Bachi summed up.
JV BASEBALL: Elks sweep East Jordan
The JV played in a doubleheader at East Jordan last Friday, first of the season for the Elks. The team rallied in the third inning scoring eight runs and ended taking game one by a score of 8-6. Philip Hoff started on the mound, finishing with two strikeouts. Zeb Miles came in for his first save. AJ Anderson, Reese Kellogg, and Hoff each had RBI’s.
In the nightcap, the Elks went up 3-1 in the first, 5-3 after two innings, and two more for a 7-3 win, and the sweep of the Red Devils. Devin Sempert and Hoff each had an RBI. Keegan Cunningham pitched a complete game with eight strikeouts.
“It was great to finally get the boys out on the field and an awesome way to start our season,” exclaimed JV coach Rob Bachi. “Thanks for helping me begin my career as a head coach with a couple W’s, boys!”
VARSITY GIRLS SOFTBALL: Lady Elks compete at Frankfort Invitational Tournament
By Rick Martel, Sports Writer
The Lady Elks softball team competed at the Frankfort Invitational Tournament last Saturday losing to Frankfort 2-7 then defeating Mason County Eastern 12-3.
In the first game against Frankfort the Elks had trouble getting the offense going. “They killed us at the plate, striking out nine of our hitters,” said Elks Coach Erin Merchant. Kaela McManus and Gio’hannah Candela each had an RBI single. Maddi McSwain and Lexi Stonex also picked up singles for the Elks. Emily Huber was on the mound picking up two strikeouts and allowing only two walks as she went the distance.
In game two, against Mason County Eastern, the Elks offense came alive despite giving up eight strikeouts. “We got a couple runs in the first inning and all of a sudden it’s like, hey we can do this,” said Merchant. Then in the third inning the Elks showed a little power at the plate as McManus and Alex Wagner each tallied an over the fence home run. McSwain picked up a double which scored two runs while Holly Koenig also had an RBI double to go with a single. Huber had three singles and Stonex had a single and a double to contribute to the offensive attack. Koenig was on the mound in game two picking up five strikeouts and allowing six walks. Merchant added, “Our defense has been pretty good so far this season. We just need to work on reducing our strikeouts and getting our bats going.”
The Elks will travel to meet St. Francis this Friday at 4:30 p.m.
Grays to attend Olivet
Elk senior Thais Grays has committed to Olivet College after graduation to play football and run track. Olivet College is the home of the Comets, a NCAA Division III school, located south of Lansing. The school plays in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Conference.
Elk football coach Ed Schindler feels Olivet is a good fit for Grays. “Olivet runs an offense similar to ours, and the coaches there really are taken with Thais’s speed,” Schindler said. “Thais has made a lot of positive strides these last two years and going to college is another one. He has the ability to really excel there at track also, setting records is always possible with his speed.”
Grays holds several track records at Elk Rapids and has been to the State Finals his freshman and sophomore years. In football, Grays electrified the crowd every time he touched the ball as his ability to break away for a touchdown was like watching Barry Sanders.
“I am playing football and I plan on running track, if I get the opportunity,” Grays said. “I would prefer track actually, it’s easier on my body although football is going to be my main sport.“ Grays plans on studying business administration with an emphasis on marketing.
Congratulations to Thais on becoming a Comet!
VARSITY BASEBALL: Elks fail to hit, lose two at Frankfort
The Elks bats were held in check last Saturday at the Frankfort Invitational, losing 9-2 to Mancelona and held hitless in an 8-0 shutout in the consolation game against Frankfort.
Tanner Matthews pitched the opener against Mancelona, going three innings with five strikeouts. Keegan Cunningham took over the pitching in the fourth inning. The game began with Devin Sempert on first after being hit by a pitch. Kollyn Wilson cracked a single, moving Sempert to second. Both runners advanced as Matthews was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Chris Barber walked, forcing home Sempert for a 1-0 Elk lead. The Elks scoring ended, as they left bases loaded to end their half of the first inning. Mancelona scored to tie the game in the first. The Elks went down in order in the second, but the Ironmen took advantage of four consecutive Elk errors to score seven runs in the second inning to take an 8-1 lead. Mancelona added a run in the fifth, and the Elks got a run in the sixth, but stranded two men on base in the loss.
Against Frankfort, Marty Raymond got the nod on the mound. The Elks struck out just three times in the game, but could not get a hit past Frankfort’s defense. Raymond lasted four innings with four strikeouts. Tyler Koenig took over pitching. Elk errors in the third inning allowed Frankfort to score five runs.
“I am not going to make excuses about not getting outside to practice,” said Elk coach Timmy Barber. “Other teams are in the same weather situations that we are. We just couldn’t hit anything all day. We can’t have errors like we did and expect to win.” Barber continued, “We just gave them extra outs. If you take away the one bad inning of errors in each game, we played both teams much closer. We just couldn’t get the bat on the ball.”
Barber refused to let the nine-day lay off, since the Elks split a pair of Lake Michigan Conference games at East Jordan, be an excuse. “We have been practicing, not outside as much as we want, but still have been working,” Barber added. “It is still early in the season, and we went over the games in practice, and worked on hitting. We will play through this and keep working.”
The Elks (1-3, 1-1 LMC) have a scheduled make-up at Grayling on Wednesday. The annual Benzie Central tournament scheduled for Wuerfel Park this Saturday has been cancelled, due to poor field conditions at Wuerfel. The Elks are looking for another game on Saturday.
VARSITY GIRLS SOCCER: Lady Elks lose to Charlevoix in overtime thriller
Carley Patterson (6) moves past a Charlevoix defender. Photo by Lisa Lundy
By Rick Martel, Sports Writer
Last Thursday, in a game that took almost three hours to decide, the Lady Elks soccer team battled league rival Charlevoix through two ten minute overtime periods then a shootout that went to the 12th round before Charlevoix notched an unanswered goal for the 2-1 win.
The Elks came out in the first half looking a little slow to the ball and allowing the Rayders to dominate possession. The only goal of the first half came at just over the five minute mark when Charlevoix was awarded a direct kick far outside the 18 yard line. The ball was lofted over the head of Elks keeper Paige Granger then caught the corner just under the cross-bar to make it 1-0.
The Elks finally answered with just over a minute remaining in the game when Cailey Wagner scored to make it 1-1. “Despite going into overtime, the girls were playing in a defensive mode for most of the game,” said Elks Coach Andrea Krakow. “We watched as our opponent won the 50/50’s, we played chase, and we just did not move with any intensity to the ball.”
The Elks appeared to play with a little more urgency in the two overtime periods controlling possession and creating several scoring opportunities. But, they could not get the second score they needed to avoid going to shootout.
In the shootout, five girls from each team shot with each side getting two scores. The game remained tied after the second group of five shot as each side scored once. The game was finally decided when the 12th shooter from Charlevoix scored and the Elks failed to answer.
Paige Granger came up with a stellar performance in goal for the Elks making 15 saves during regulation and the two overtime periods then stopping four shots in the shootout.
Krakow added, “[This] was a very tough way to lose a game, however like I told the girls, they need to play with intensity, effort, and heart for the 80 minutes of regulation if they want to win. I believe this group of young ladies will step up their game and play each of our remaining games with the passion and desire to win.”
Elk Rapids vs. East Jordan The Lady Elks traveled to East Jordan last Wednesday (4/16), defeating the Red Devils 8-0. Despite cold, wet, wintery conditions the Elks came out firing as they scored early and often grabbing a 5-0 halftime lead then never looked back.
The Elks were led by Nicole Hill who notched the three goal ‘hat trick’ and added an assist. Carley Patterson, Cailey Wagner, Madi Brown, Allie Graziano and Mylia LaPointe all added single goals. Graziano, Brown, Jordan McNamara, Victoria Garrow, and Macey Stites each picked up an assist. Paige Granger was in net and had one save.
“The girls played together as a team, although our intensity was flat,” said Elks Coach Andrea Krakow. “It was great to see other players score and we definitely controlled possession of the ball.”
Elk Rapids vs. Boyne City The Lady Elks defeated Boyne City 8-0 last Tuesday to raise their season record to 4-1 in the LMC and overall.
The Elks were led by Nicole Hill, Mylia LaPointe and Jordan McNamara with two goals each with LaPointe also picking up two assists along the way. Carley Patterson and Taylor Boyd tallied single goals with Patterson adding two assists and Cailey Wagner getting one assist. Paige Granger was in net and made two saves.
“We started out ‘watching’ as Boyne City went to and beat us to the ball [consistently] during the first 10-15 minutes of the game,” said Krakow. The Elks finally got things going offensively to take a 3-0 halftime lead. When the Elks took the field for the second half, it was different story explained Krakow. “[The] second half was like a different team as the ladies moved to the ball by using give and goes, switching the field, and playing through balls.”
The Elks will host Kalkaska today, then host TC Liberty on Monday (4/28) with both games starting at 5 p.m.
Elk Rapids News 212 River Street P.O. Box 176 Elk Rapids, Michigan 49629 231-264-6670 Phone 231-264-6685 Fax