Falcons hold off Lions in Northern State opener at Bremen
BREMEN — On a night when the rain, wind and cold affected the game from the start, John Glenn’s bats came out on fire. After a middle inning rally by the Lions, Falcons reliever Michael Holderread shut the door in the fifth, and Glenn handed host Bremen a 14-6 Northern State Conference loss Monday.
Trailing 7-2 after a big six-inning first by Glenn, the Lions cut into the deficit with three runs in the bottom half of the fourth as Tyler Coffel and Jacob Bennitt both drew walks followed by a long triple from Dillon Mullen, who scored on a wild pitch to bring the score to 7-5.
When Falcons starter Mark Einhorn hit Eric Knepper leading off the bottom of the fifth, and Drew Coffel doubled him home to cut the Falcons’ lead to 1, Glenn coach John Nadolny went to his bullpen for Michael Holderread, who closed the door on the young Lions.
Using their newfound adrenaline, the Falcons pushed across another five runs in the sixth when Einhorn walked, Justin Gierlowski singled and David Jaworski drove them both in with a two-bagger after a double steal. Austin Bloss singled, and Tyler Niespodziany hit a three-run shot over the left field fence to push Glenn back out to a 12-6 advantage.
The Falcons added two insurance runs in the seventh on two hits, an error and two walks for a 14-6 victory that was closer than the final margin indicated.
“I felt Mark pitched really well, but a couple of walks and a hit got to him,” said Nadolny. “We brought in Mikey, and what a game-changer as he slammed the door on their rally. Hey, they could’ve taken the lead and had us chasing them.”
“If you take away that first inning it’s a ball game,” said Bremen head coach Bo Hundt. “They had some hits fall in, and it became a game of momentum. Jacob (Bennitt) settled down, but when he approached 115 pitches in the sixth I just had to bring him out, and they hit the guys we brought in.”
Glenn started fast in the top of the first as Drew McDonald singled to center followed by an Einhorn hit. After Gierlowski drew a walk, Jaworski and Kyle Liedtky hit back-to-back singles, and Bloss doubled to deep left center but was thrown out trying to take third.
Niespodziany lined a double over third, and Ryan Price and Drew McDonald both singled to give Glenn a 6-0 lead off eight hits in the frame.
The Lions came roaring back in their half of the inning, however, as Bryce Cassel and Knepper got their team started with a pair of singles. After Drew Coffel reached on a fielder’s choice, both Wes Burkholder and Tyler Coffel had base hits, and Jacob Bennitt drew a walk before Mullen went down swinging to leave the bases loaded and Bremen trailing 6-2.
Glenn tacked on another run in the fourth when Gierlowski hit a dinker over the mound and scored on a wild pitch to push the lead to 7-2.
All total, Glenn batters racked up 17 hits to seven by the Lions in Monday’s win.
“It was nice to see the guys come out swinging that first inning,” Nadolny said. “This was a typical conference game, a typical Glenn-Bremen opener — high-scoring, exciting, and the weather.”
Niespodziany finished with two doubles and his three-run homer to lead the Falcons’ offense. Einhorn racked up seven strikeouts in four innings of work before Holderread chased him for the save in the fifth.
Mullen doubled and tripled and finished with two RBI for the Lions.
Glenn moves to 6-1 with a 1-0 NSC start, while Bremen slides to 3-3 and 0-1 in conference play.
Bremen will try to bounce back in NSC play when the Lions travel to Culver Wednesday for a 5 p.m. start.
“Hey we were right there. We hit the ball, ran the bases well and for the most part we fielded the ball,” said Hundt. “We have some young guys who need to learn Bremen Lion ball, but we’ll be fine.”
Glenn, meanwhile, will look to keep the wins coming with an NSC match-up at home versus the Triton Trojans Wednesday.
“Our offense has been a pleasant surprise for us as we haven’t seen the field in a week. This is always a high-scoring game. Bremen’s young, and Bo always has his kids ready, so this is a great win to open conference with,” said Nadolny.
• JOHN GLENN 14, BREMEN 6
Glenn: 600 105 2 — 14 17 0
Bremen: 200 310 0 — 6 7 1
Mark Einhorn (W, 2-0), Michael Holderread (5) and David Jaworski; Jacob Bennitt (L, 1-2), Dillon Mullen (6), Pedro Lopez (7) and Drew Coffel.
2B: Tyler Niespodziany 2 (G), Austin Bloss (G), Jaworski (G), Coffel (B), Mullen (B).
3B: Mullen (B)
HR: Niespodziany (G)
Records: Glenn 6-1 (1-0 NSC), Bremen 3-3 (0-1 NSC)