With a very important series beginning tomorrow against the Lima Locos, Royal Oak’s pitching staff struggled for much of their exhibition game against the Detroit Aces. A large portion of their struggles came against two batters on the Aces in particular, Brady Carpenter and Terrance Binion, who had four singles apiece on the day. The Aces had thirteen hits as a team on the day, with nine of them coming from their top four hitters and eight from their leadoff and cleanup men.
Interestingly enough, most runs were hit in by other players. Carpenter had one run batted in tonight, on his third single of the game in the sixth inning. Binion only received one RBI too on his 4-for-4 performance tonight, likewise coming on his third single in the fifth inning.
The Aces scored all of their runs in bunches. They scored three runs in the fifth and sixth innings, and then put the game out of reach with four runs in the ninth.
Royal Oak initially had control of this game, grabbing a 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Central Michigan’s AJ Kostic. It was a wild play, with the first run coming in naturally, but Kostic baited a throw to second with Callanan lurking at third, allowing him to score on the throw down.
Detroit made sure that lead was short-lived, who had their batch of their runs on a two RBI single by James Berry, with Binion’s RBI single coming shortly after, making it 3-2 Aces. After the Leprechauns, who struggled most of the game capitalizing on scoring opportunities, left the bases loaded, Detroit added three more runs with their second batch of runs in the sixth. Dwight Hubbard hit a single with runners on first and second, but both runners came all the way around to score after a fielding error by Brayden Dowd (USC) in center field. Carpenter then got his RBI the next at-bat, hitting Hubbard in with a single.
Despite the loss, the Leprechauns did have some silver linings to take home tonight. Zach Hopman pitched well, as the Michigan State Spartan threw three scoreless innings to start the game, allowing just two hits and striking out five. Offensively, Alex Cheeseman (Alabama-Birmingham) had three singles of his own tonight, including a stolen base.
Down 6-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Ryan Callanan (San Bernardino Valley College) did make the game competitive again, bringing two runs around with a single, cutting the deficit in half, 6-4. Royal Oak had more opportunities in the next two innings, with two hits in both the seventh and the eighth, but were unable to score either time. What especially stung Royal Oak was the fact that two runners were thrown out on the basepaths in the eighth inning, with Michael Lareau (Wabash Valley) thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double and Patrick Ilitch (Valparaiso) thrown out trying to steal third following a double.
Any chance of a comeback for Royal Oak vanished in the top of the ninth, with four runs coming in following multiple two RBI doubles by Ethan Burdua and Daniel Beccari, making it 10-4 Detroit. The Leprechauns struck out three times in three at-bats in the ninth, and that was the ballgame.
Royal Oak will look to quickly forget this loss with a face-off against Lima (7-3) at the Lucky Corner tomorrow for Princess Night, where Rapunzel is expected to make an appearance. The second game of the series will be on the road, and the final game will be another home game for the Leprechauns, who will look to narrow the gap between their current position and a playoff spot.