South fork, Ferndale split entertaining baseball doubleheader

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – Action from Thursday’s doubleheader at Ferndale.

The Ferndale boys took advantage of some timely hitting to win game one of a Little 4 baseball doubleheader at home to South Fork in wet conditions on Thursday, but the Cubs responded in style to win game two in extra innings.

The Wildcats took the opener 9-3, and the Cubs won game two 7-5 in nine innings.

Neither team had played in a couple of weeks because of spring break and rainouts, and the rustiness showed early in the opener.

The Cats, however, settled into the game at the plate, with Trent Titus leading the way and finishing 3-for-5 with a run.

Austin Michael got the win on the mound, striking out six in five innings and allowing just five hits and two walks.

Paden Prior and Mattias Alejandre each pitched an inning in relief to help seal the win.

Ferndale’s Kannon Christiansen also had a big game at the plate and finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, while Michael added a hit and drove in two runs and Levi Dixon was 1-for-3 with an RBI.

“The conditions were not ideal, but the team and pitchers worked through it,” said Ferndale head coach Justin Andersen, who praised umpires Russ Killingsworth and Paul Sotello for allowing the  players play the game after a two-week layoff for both teams. “Obviously both teams were rusty, but I was happy with what we did offensively in the first game.”

The Cubs led early in game one, but defensive errors and some timely offensive by the Cats saw the home team pull away.

Everett Paula led the Cubs at the plate and finished 2-for-3 with a run.

The visitors, however, responded in game two, with pitcher Justin Freitas impressing in his first start on the mound this season.

Freitas overcame a shaky start and settled into the game after giving up four runs in the first inning, finishing with seven strikeouts in 4.2 innings.

Jasper Shafer got the win in relief, striking out there in 4.1 innings.

In what was an exciting showdown, the Cubs chipped away at the early deficit and tied the game in the fifth, only to see Ferndale re-take the lead in the bottom half of the inning.

The Cubs, however, dug deep to pull out the win.

In the top of the seventh, Broc Contreras was hit by a pitch before stealing his way to second and then scoring the tying run on a Makani Buck-Zulim base hit.

After a scoreless eighth inning, Buck-Zulim stepped up again in the top of the ninth, singling to reach base and advancing to second on a wild pitch.

Tanner Curran then doubled to drive in the go-ahead run and would add an insurance run moments later on a Paula base hit.

Curran finished 3-for-5 with two doubles, while Paula was 2-for-4.

“I’m glad the boys didn’t give up after going down by three,” South Fork head coach Chris Contreras said. “The time off really hurt our swings early, but thankfully they kept playing to avoid the season sweep.”

Prior pitched five solid innings for the Cats, with Alejandre taking the loss in relief.

Parker Prior led the Cats at the plate and was 2-for-4 with a double, with Paden Prior and Dixon each finishing 1-for-3.

“Hat’s off to South Fork,” Andersen said. “They could easily have brown in the towel in the second game, but they came back. They stuck with it.”

A trio of freshmen — Parker Prior, Jarett Smith and Jonah Anderson — all continued to impress on a young Ferndale team.

“My freshmen are still finding ways to contribute,” Andersen said.

With the split, the Cats have now won three of four games against the Cubs in league play and improved to 5-3 in the Little 4 and 6-7 overall.

The Cubs are now 3-3 and 8-8.

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