Scoring five runs in the first four innings and none thereafter, the Hope baseball team used solid defense and three strong pitching efforts to hold off Calvin College in the final five innings of their MIAA Baseball Tournament game on Thursday, hosted at Adrian College.
The Flying Dutchmen defeated the Knights, 5-4, and remain in the hunt, advancing to play Alma in the tournament's back draw in Game 5, also on Thursday.
With the win, third-seeded Hope is 17-24 while fourth-seeded Calvin fell to 16-25 and was eliminated from the tournament.
Senior pitcher Connor Grimes (3-1) of Grand Haven, Michigan (Grand Haven) earned the win by scattering nine hits and striking out two in six innings. Sophomore Sam Balke of Grand Rapids, Michigan (Forest Hills Eastern) provided middle relief for the seventh inning while sophomore CJ Otteman of Zeeland, Michigan (Zeeland East) came in the eighth and ninth and secured his fifth save, allowing one hit and striking out two.
The Flying Dutchmen bats were especially hot to start. Of their 13 hits in the game, 10 of them came in the first four innings. Eight Hope players got at least one hit, all mostly singles to score their five runs. Senior Danny Carrasco of Grandville, Michigan (Calvin Christian) hit a double to rightfield to drive in a run in the all-important, four-run fourth.
Though Calvin took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, Hope had a 5-2 lead after the top of five. Single run innings by the Knights in the bottom of the fifth and sixth was all of the scoring for the rest of the game by both teams.