The Saginaw Sugar Beets (0-2-0) battled hard, but an amazing inaugural season (one in which most team's can only dream) in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League would eventually come to a heartbreaking end following a 10-8 loss to the Southern Ohio Copperheads (2-0-0) who completed a sweep of the Sugar Beets (2-games to none) to win the 2018 GLSCL (best of three) Championship at Bob Wren Stadium in Athens, OH tonight.
The Sugar Beets jumped out to an early lead when Saginaw CF Jacob Crum (Central Michigan University); third baseman Daniel Page (Hofstra University); and DH Max Trucks (Alma College) loaded the bases on consecutive singles, which led to a bases-clearing double by Beets second baseman Ryan Robinette (Lawrence Tech) for a 3-0 lead, before Robinette was then driven in on an RBI-single off the bat of shortstop Cooper Marshall (Western Michigan University) for a 4-0 Sugar Beets lead in the top of the second inning.
The 3-RBI double was the fourth extra-bases hit in the past two games for Robinette, who was 3 for 5 with 3-doubles in the series opener at Merrill HS on Sunday afternoon.
The Beets added to its lead in the fifth when Marshall led off with a walk, while RF Gaosh Williams (Central Michigan University) and Saginaw catcher Connor Charping (Western Michigan University) loaded the bases with back to back singles, as LF Brady Wood (Adrian College) grounded out, but managed to score Marshall on the play for a 5-0 Saginaw lead, ending the day for Copperheads starter Thomas Zazzaro (Lee University) before Sugar Beets first baseman Noah Marcoux (Davenport University) drove in Williams and Charping with a 2-RBI single to give the Sugar Beets a 7-0 lead in the top of the fifth inning.
Zazzaro (2.85 ERA) would give up 7-runs on 9-hits and 3-walks, with 3-strikeouts through 4-innings, while reliever Kyle Wisniewski (Shawnee State University) allowed 1-hit and 2-walks, with 1-strikeout through 1-inning of relief for the Copperheads.
Southern Ohio answered in bottom half of the fifth when shortstop Joey Weisenseel (Penn State University) singled and CF Ty Suntken (Bowling Green State University) followed with a double, while Weisenseel was driven in on an RBI-single by Copperheads LF Jack Longo (Ohio University) as Suntken scored on an infield ground-out, before Southern Ohio third baseman Blaine Crim (Mississippi College) was driven in on an RBI-double off the bat of first baseman Blake Holub (St. Edwards University) to cut the Saginaw lead to 7-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Sugar Beets starter Brandon Reed (Central Michigan University) had a quality start for Saginaw, giving up 3-runs on 7-hits and 3-walks, while striking out 4-batters through 6-innings.
The Copperheads battled back in the seventh when Longo singled, setting the stage for Ray Zuberer (Western Kentucky University) who cleared the bases with a 2-run home run, before Crim followed with a solo home run, chasing Sugar Beets reliever Kyler Seeman (Northwestern Ohio University) as the Copperheads cut the Saginaw lead to 7-6 with just 1-out, while Beets reliever Matthew Blunk (Lawrence Tech) walked Weisenseel with the bases loaded, allowing Holub to score, which tied the game at 7-runs apiece after seven innings of play.
Seeman gave up 4-runs on 4-hits and 1-walk throughout 1/3 of an inning, while Blunk allowed 2-walks, with 1-strikeout through a third of an inning as well.
Saginaw responded with a run in the eighth when Charping drove in his Western Michigan teammate, Marshall with an RBI-double to regain the lead (8-7) in the top of the eighth inning.
Sugar Beets reliever David Klug (Lawrence Tech) finished out the seventh, then walked Longo and Zuberer to start the bottom of the eighth inning, before being replaced by Saginaw closer Billy Blair (Concordia University) who got Crim to force Zuberer out at second on a fielders choice, however, Blair was subsequently called for a balk, which allowed Longo to score from third and tie the game at 8-runs apiece, before walking Holub, which led to a Saginaw throwing error, allowing both Crim and Holub to score for a 10-8 Southern Ohio lead it would not relinquish.
Klug gave up 1-run on 2-walks through a third of an inning, while Blair (0-2) was tagged with his second loss of the playoffs after giving up 1-earned run on 1-walk to close out the final inning for the Beets.
Southern Ohio reliever Gus Cunningham (Florida Southwestern State University) earned the win for the Copperheads after giving up 1-run on 2-hits through 1-inning of relief.
Every batter in the Saginaw lineup had at least 1-hit for the Sugar Beets tonight, with Marshall leading the way, going 2 for 3 with an RBI, 2-walks, and 2-runs scored, while Charping was 2 for 4 with an RBI and 1-run scored to pace the Saginaw offense.
Trucks finished 2 for 3 with a walk, and 1-run scored, and Robinette was 1 for 4 with 3-RBI's, while Marcoux finished 1 for 5 with 2-RBI's to round out Saginaw's offensive production.
This is the first GLSCL championship for the Southern Ohio Copperheads, who are in its sixteenth season since joining the league way back in the 2002 season, which should put a little perspective on this amazing run for the Sugar Beets players and coaches, who will now return to their respective college team's for fall baseball in preparation for the 2019 collegiate season, before returning to Saginaw next season with the hopes of bringing home the 2019 GLSCL title.