Newell, Shimel pitch Cardinals past Hillman in likely district final preview
Friday night might have been a Division 4 district championship preview for the Johannesburg-Lewiston baseball team.
The Cardinals (14-6) swept visiting Hillman 9-1 and 9-2, but they elected to not throw No. 2 pitcher Sheldon Huff because the sophomore will likely see the Tigers in the playoffs in a few weeks.
"I threw Lucas Newell because if we see Hillman in the districts, it'll be Sheldon that sees them," coach Cody Proctor said. "So I didn't throw Sheldon, but I did throw (No. 1 pitcher) Tanner Shimel instead. Tanner will go on Tuesday (during the pre-district game) and the first game on Saturday (for the district semifinal). We wouldn't see Hillman until the championship if we make it. So we didn't pitch Sheldon just to not show him to them."
Newell did his job, stepping up in place of Huff. He pitched all six innings in Game 1, striking out three, walking three, allowing two hits and giving up no earned runs.
What's more, he grounded out in the first inning but gave Shimel enough time to plate the winning run.
A seven-run third inning put the game away for the Cardinals, who saw Austin Carroll bat 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, Shimel drive in two runs and Huff record a triple.
"Defense and pitching were key," Proctor said. "We pitched great."
Shimel got the win in the nightcap, throwing 73 pitches in six innings to stay two throws shy of the pitching limit. He gave up six hits, two earned runs and one walk but struck out four.
"He was coming out at 75 pitches no matter what," Proctor said. "He just did his job tonight."
Huff led offensively with a double and one RBI, while the Cardinals scored six runs in the fifth to break open a 3-0 lead.
Cardinals suffer letdown, split with Bulldogs in SVC doubleheader
The Johannesburg-Lewiston baseball team proved it can hang with tough teams.
In fact, it did that Monday at Gaylord St. Mary, as it split with the No. 9 Snowbirds, who have been to three-straight Division 4 quarterfinal games.
But the Cardinals might have left all the juice they needed to knock off St. Mary in Gaylord, as they lacked intensity during a Ski Valley series Thursday against Inland Lakes.
They muscled their way to an 11-10 win in Game 1, but they dropped the nightcap 10-8 after squandering a late lead. One factor was they played without their top pitchers, Tanner Shimel and Sheldon Huff, who were burned by the pitching count Monday.
"I don't know if we let up after a big game or what?" coach Cody Proctor said. "We need to understand the importance of every game, and that's what we're trying to teach them. I wish I had more to say. We didn't have the intensity (we had against St. Mary) late in the second game."
Game 1 saw Tommy Runyan (3-for-4 batting) single home Sheldon Huff to kick off a three-run fifth inning that clinched the win. Austin Carroll made it home on an error during Runyan's at-bat, while Trent Waltiere scored the winning run on a passed ball shortly afterward.
Huff and Tyler Madej drove in two runs apiece, while Runyan and Lucas Newell combined to strike out four batters on the mound.
The Cardinals (12-6, 8-3 SVC) led 8-6 entering the final inning of the nightcap, but Inland Lakes plated four runs to pull off the comeback.
Shimel and Runyan each drove in two runs, and Madej and Preston Marlatt together fanned six batters while pitching.
"We didn't play well defensively in both games," Proctor said. "We hit the ball well, but we just didn't get it done tonight as we should have. It's tough to lose another league game, but that's what happened. We just have to get back after it."
Cardinals beat No. 9 Snowbirds for first time in 5 seasons
GAYLORD – The Johannesburg-Lewiston baseball team had this doubleheader circled on the calendar.
For the second outing in a row, Tanner Shimel nearly tossed a no-hitter, only this time it was during a 1-0 win over rival Gaylord St. Mary on Monday at William Mackowiak Sports Complex.
It was the Cardinals’ first win over the Snowbirds in five seasons and only St. Mary’s second Ski Valley loss during that time-frame.
“The kids were excited,” J-L coach Cody Proctor said. “They just played baseball and did what I know they’re capable of doing. We saw a good pitcher (in St. Mary starter Drew Koenig). But we played great defense, and that’s what I talked about us doing all year long.”
“We made all the plays. We made every play that we could make, and we had no errors.”
Dan Runyan (2-for-2 batting) drove in the winning run in the second, which brought home Preston Marlatt.
Shimel struck out six and walked four for the Cardinals, who are 11-5 overall. He gave up just one hit.
“He’s been lights out,” Proctor said. “He’s finally settled into where I expect him to be as an ace this year. If he continues to pitch like this, he’s absolutely tough to hit. Those (St. Mary’s) coaches gave him all the credit in the world. He is a tough kid to play against.”
So was Shimel bummed that for the second game in a row he’s had a no-hitter broken up?
“Tanner is a bigger picture guy,” Proctor said. “As much as he wants a no-hitter, he’ll take that win all day. He’s had two opportunities for a no-hitter, but he just wants the win.”
“The kids are playing pretty good baseball right now, and we’re ready to make a run no matter what we have to do.”
Drew Koenig struck out five and walked three for St. Mary, while Andrew Zielinski had the Snowbirds’ lone hit.
“Tanner Shimel pitched a phenomenal game,” St. Mary coach Matt Nowicki said. “He had some great defense behind him, and I can’t say enough about how well they played. Drew pitched well, too, and they had only three hits against him, but it was just a really well-played game.”
“You don’t see too many Division 4 games that are 1-0. They (J-L) did what they needed to do to win, for sure, and I can’t take anything away from them. We just didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had.”
Nowicki, who has built a powerhouse at St. Mary, praised the team Proctor has assembled this spring.
“They’ve got a good, young squad, and they’re out to prove something,” Nowicki said. “I don’t blame them a bit (for circling this game on their calendar). Obviously, we have a target on our back, and it has been a couple of years since they’ve beaten us. They were hungry. And that’s what I told my coaching staff after the game – those boys were hungry.”
The Snowbirds (11-4) drove in four runs in the fifth to secure an 8-3 victory in the nightcap. Koenig and Alex Pudvan each had RBIs, while Joseph Moeggenberg picked up the win on the mound, striking out four and walking four in four innings.
Sheldon Huff struck out five and walked four in 4 1/3 innings for J-L, which got RBIs from Lucas Newell and Tyler Madej. Tommy Runyan was 2-for-3 batting.
Nowicki said the Snowbirds weren’t too bummed about dropping an SVC game. Even with the loss, they still sit atop the conference and are likely to repeat as the league champions, barring another unfortunate loss late in the season.
“We know we’re going to get everybody’s best, and we have to rise to the occasion,” Nowicki said. “There’s no other way to look at it. We’ve got to make sure we hit the baseball and play good defensively.”
“Everything we want to accomplish is still in front of us. We’ve got to play solid baseball and keep moving forward.”
Shimel tosses no-hitter as Cardinals roll Mancelona twice
Tanner Shimel knew what happened the second Johannesburg-Lewiston baseball coach Cody Proctor trotted onto the field.
Shimel entered the final inning Friday at Mancelona three pitches away from reaching the pitching limit. Facing a 0-2 count, he threw a ball on his third pitch, halting his no-hitter just one batter away from a complete game.
Nevertheless, the senior finished with 12 strikeouts, one walk, no hits and 75 pitches in the 9-0 win over the Ironmen.
Proctor could have left Shimel in the game but it would've burned him for Monday's match-up against rival St. Mary.
"When I called time, he slapped his glove when I came to get him," Proctor said. "He's the bigger guy, and he knows it's more important for him to pitch Monday than to have a no-hitter all to his own."
Shimel struck out the first six batters of the match-up.
"This is the second game in a row he's really settled in," Proctor said. "When he's dialed in, he works quick hits his spots and mixes up his pitches well. He was that way tonight, and he that way last Monday, too.
"He's not overpowering, but he has decent velocity and hits his spot, and that's all we need out of him to win."
J-L's defense played just as well as Shimel pitched.
"It's really good to see Tanner pitching well," Proctor continued. "He struggled a bit to start the year, and he's starting to find himself again, and it's making us a better baseball team. When somebody put it in play, we made the plays behind him. We're playing really good defense and finally coming around after a slow start to the spring."
Tommy Runyan led with three RBIs, and J-L (10-4, 7-1 SVC) scored three runs in the first to put the game out of reach for any kind of Mancelona comeback.
Sheldon Huff and Runyan combined to strike out 10 in the nightcap, which saw J-L pick up an 11-1 win.
Kevin Gehringer and Tyler Madej each collected two hits, while Gehringer and Shimel drove in two runs apiece. Gehringer also scored three runs.
Two more pitching gems from Tanner Shimel and Sheldon Huff ensured the Johannesburg-Lewiston baseball team 5-0 and 11-0 wins over host Central Lake in Ski Valley play Monday.
Shimel tossed a two-hitter, fanning 10 batters and walking two as the Cardinals’ offense collected 11 hits to ensure the Game 1 win.
Preston Marlatt was 3-for-3 with an RBI, while Huff was 2-for-3 with one RBI.
“Tanner was dialed in,” coach Cody Proctor said. “When Tanner is working quick, that’s when he’s the best. He was working quick. Kids were stepping in the box, and he was just going. He was focused and settled in, and that’s how he was going today.
“We played pretty good ball with no errors. So when we play good defense, we’re tough to beat.”
In the nightcap, Huff also tossed a two-hitter, striking out nine and walking just one.
Offensively, Huff drove in three runs, while Madej was 3-for-2 with two RBIs. Tommy Runyan and Marlatt added two hits apiece.
“In the last three games, Sheldon has been dealing,” Proctor said. “He’s given up just four hits in three games and he’s had 25 strikeouts.”
“I think we’re starting to play our kind of baseball now. No errors and we’re playing smart, good defense. Things are starting to flow now.”
J-L is 8-4 overall and 5-1 in the conference.
Cardinals split with Pellston, East Jordan in back-to-back nights
A pair of doubleheaders, a pair of splits for the Johannesburg-Lewiston baseball team.
On Thursday, Pellston took the opener 9-5, but the Cardinals (4-4, 1-1 SVC) won Game 2 6-0 to begin Ski Valley play.
In the loss, Tanner Shimel struck out eight but gave up nine hits, five earned runs and two walks in 5 1/3 innings, as the Hornets used a five-run fourth to snap a 2-2 tie and clinch the win.
Austin Carroll and Lucas Newell each finished with two hits and two RBIs, and Huff recorded a double.
"We did not play good in that first game," coach Cody Proctor said. "We just were not into it. It was the same problem we had last night with East Jordan. We just weren't into it during the first game.
"I don't have an answer for it. I know we haven't been on the field much, but we still need to play better. Hopefully, with us now getting enough baseball in, that'll help us get going and play better early on in games."
During the next game, Huff tossed a one-hitter, striking out six and walking only two in six innings.
Newell grounded to second base to bring home Carroll for the winning run in the third.
Preston Marlatt was 3-for-3 batting with two RBIs, Kevin Gehringer had a double and drove in two runs and Dan Runyan tripled.
"Sheldon was lights out tonight," Proctor said.
One night earlier, East Jordan beat J-L 7-6 in the opener after knotting the score in the fourth and then plating the winning run one inning later.
The Cardinals scored three runs in both the first and third innings, led by Carroll and Tyler Madej collecting two RBIs apiece and Shimel doubling.
Matt Ross, Madej, Shimel and Newell combined to strike out 10 in the non-conference match-up.
J-L bounced back with a 12-1 win in the nightcap, scoring four runs in the first and another seven in the third to secure the victory.
Runyan (2-for-2, 4 RBIs) opened the game by doubling to right field to bring home Madej, Carroll and Marlatt to give his team a 4-0 lead.
Also helping was Madej with two hits and two RBIs and Marlatt with a double.
Marlatt, Tommy Runyan, Huff and Myers struck out eight as a staff.
Cardinals fumble 3-run lead, fall short of sweeping Manton
The Johannesburg-Lewiston baseball team blew a 4-1 lead, otherwise, it would have swept Manton in non-conference play Tuesday.
Instead, the host Rangers stormed back in Game 2 and edged the Cardinals (2-2) 6-5 after scoring five runs in the final three innings.
Austin Carroll (2-for-2, three RBIs) singled home Sheldon Huff to give J-L a three-run lead in the third.
On the mound, Huff, who struck out three, struggled late in the game, even loading the bases.
"It sucks because he was throwing so well and started to struggle," coach Cody Proctor said. "But it's not his fault. We just lost focus and had some mental mistakes in the batters box. That kind of cost us the game because we quit scoring runs.
"We just had a couple of mental errors in the batters box we shouldn't have had."
In the opener, Tanner Shimel threw just 49 pitches in five innings, striking out two, to ensure the Cardinals a 6-2 win.
"Manton was just really aggressive at the play, and they made him work," Proctor said. "Even if (the count was) 0-0, they were still swinging at everything. The put the ball in play really well, but our guys were there to make the plays."
In the third, Tommy Runyan singled to third to score Shimel for the winning run.
By Brandon Folsom - Gaylord Herald Times
JOHANNESBURG — With coach Cody Proctor in his third season, the goal is now quite clear for the Johannesburg-Lewiston baseball team.
“There is no reason why we can’t compete for a league title,” he said. “Obviously, there’s one team that has been at the top of our league the last couple years. So that’s who we need to beat, to knock them off the top.
“No doubt, we’re capable of winning the league this year.”
That team atop the Ski Valley has been rival St. Mary, which entered the season ranked No. 1 in Division 4. The Snowbirds have gone to three-straight state final fours.
“It’s not going to be easy because, in baseball, we can’t be just a one-sided team,” Proctor continued. “Our pitching needs to be good, our defense needs to be good and we need to score runs. We need as few errors as possible.
“In order to be good enough to win the league, you have to be solid in all parts of the game.”
The Cardinals are also eying a district title, one Proctor thinks is achievable with the draw they have. They’re in a district with Atlanta, Hillman, Posen and Rogers City.
“But our first goal, obviously, is to win the league and then focus on the district,” the third-year coach said. “I think we have the team to do that. We’ve just got to put it all together.”
Expected to lead the Cardinals to those titles is senior Tanner Shimel, who was J-L’s lone Herald Times All-Area first team player a year ago. He was also All-SVC first team, all-district and voted his team’s MVP. He helped with 27 runs scored and a .348 batting average while striking out 60 on the mound.
Shimel will be the team’s ace this spring. He struck out 10 in his debut last weekend, so he’s well on his way to being a top player in Otsego County again.
While the Cardinals graduated Jett Ewing, it does return a host of All-Area honorable mentions in Matt Ross, Tommy Runyan, Dan Runyan and Sheldon Huff.
Proctor expects the pitching rotation to include Shimel, Huff, Lucas Newell, Tommy Runyan, Mason Myers, Ross and Preston Marlatt.
The infielders include Dan Runyan at catcher, Tommy Runyan at first base, Tyler Madej at second, Shimel and Newell at shortstop and Huff at third.
The starting outfielders are Austin Carroll in left, Marlatt in center and Kevin Gehringer in right. Ross, Trent Waltiere, Allen Morgan and Christian Pryor will also rotate in.
ELSIE – Tyler Madej drew a walk to push in the winning run, as the Johannesburg-Lewiston baseball team topped Eben Junction Superior Central 11-1 in a neutral-site game Saturday at Ovid-Elsie.
Lucas Newell doubled to bring home Preston Marlatt and Dan Runyan to cap off a six-run fifth inning that brought on the mercy rule.
Newell was 2-of-3 batting with two doubles, while Austin Carroll also drove in a pair of runs. Superior Central walked seven J-L batters.
Pitcher Sheldon Huff struck out three and walked three.
"Sheldon pitched very well today, and our defense helped him," coach Cody Proctor said. "We turned two double plays in that game."
The Cardinals (1-1) dropped the nightcap 3-0 to the host Marauders, despite Tanner Shimel pitching lights out. The senior threw 10 strikeouts, walked two and gave up only one earned run in four innings. Tommy Runyan and Lucas Newell closed the game.
J-L, which visits Whittemore-Prescott for a doubleheader Thursday, April 11, mustered just two hits all game, both from Madej.
"Offensively, we struggled all game," Proctor said. "We struck out nine times. What was really tough was Ovid-Elsie using a new pitcher every single inning. It was really hard to get into any kind of a rhythm with lefties, righties, new pitchers and different speeds.
"We just couldn't string anything together. We had the bases loaded with one out. We had our opportunities and just couldn't capitalize."
JUNIOR VARSITY BASEBALL SCHEDULE
4/24 at Inland Lakes 4:00