SportsHigh School


Grandville "controls emotions" in district opening win over Kenowa Hills

Bulldogs score three late to win 9-6
Grandville baseball
Posted at 9:15 PM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 22:58:38-04
Grandville 9, Kenowa Hills 6

Grandville topped Kenowa Hills in Tuesday's division one baseball district opener in a game of momentum.

The Bulldogs, who were the home team determined by a pregame coin flip, scored three runs in the first and two in the second for a 5-1 lead.

The Knights pulled to within three on a solo home run from starting pitcher Justin Stulpe in the 4th inning.

Grandville pushed the lead back to four on an RBI single from Payton Mazzola in the bottom of the 5th.

That is when the tide turned.

After an RBI single from the Knights Nick Thayer to make it 6-3, Nolan Thayer scored three with a double left field to tie the game at six.

"We talked to guys all week long about playoff baseball, bad things are going to happen, emotions run high," Grandville head coach Matt Cook said. "I think our guys did a great job of controlling their emotions, obviously we didn't want them to come back and tie the game up but our guys didn't let it get to them at all."

Grandville baseball
Luke DeHaan hits a sacrifice fly in the 6th inning versus Kenowa Hills

Senior catcher Spencer Verburg, who already had a double and two-run single, led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo home run put his team back in front.

"Every game you want to play like your last so we just have to keep the energy up in the dugout and good things happen on the field," Verburg said. "We realized that some of our guys might not ever step on the field again and it kind of hit some guys and we got the energy back up and good things happened."

The Bulldogs added runs on sacrifice flies from Andrew Dukesherer and Luke DeHann for a 9-6 lead after six innings.

Dukesherer started on the mound and pitched the first five and a third innings, Lukas Brewer finished the sixth and got the first two outs of the seventh.

Grandville baseball
Ben Furguson delivers versus Kenowa Hills

Junior lefthander Ben Ferguson came on with two outs in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded to face Nolan Thayer who was looking to add to his heroics.

Ferguson got Thayer to fly out to center to end the game.

He threw four pitches, marking the shortest outing of his high school career.

"The big run cushion, the three runs in the bottom of the sixth really helped," Ferguson said. "They are going to make a play I know it, so just let him hit the ball and let the defense do the work and they came through."

Grandville (25-13) advances to play Hudsonville (31-5) on Friday in the district semfinal at Hudsonville at 1 p.m..

The Eagles took two of three from the Bulldogs during OK Red play this season.

Jenison plays Grand Rapids Union on the other side of the district bracket.