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See photos, video from Spring Lake’s regional baseball win over Whitehall

Lakers’ four-run fifth inning is the difference against Vikings in Division 2 regional semifinal at Oakridge.

MUSKEGON — The further a team progresses in a state tournament, miscues and missed opportunities are generally more magnified.

That was essentially the difference in Spring Lake’s 4-1 victory over Whitehall in a Division 2 regional baseball semifinal Wednesday at Oakridge High School.

With the win, Spring Lake (29-9) advances to Saturday’s 10 a.m. regional final at Petoskey, where the Lakers will take on Sparta (29-10).

Meanwhile, Whitehall closes its season with a 26-11 record.

Whitehall beat Spring Lake, 9-3, in the Traverse City West Tournament on April 27, but in the do-or-die format of the MHSAA state tournament, the Lakers executed better and made fewer mistakes.

Hits were close (Spring Lake 4, Whitehall 3) and so were errors (Spring Lake 2, Whitehall 1), but the Lakers broke a scoreless tie with four runs in the fifth inning with the benefit of two hits, four hit batsmen, and a catcher interference.

Whitehall hit five batters total in the game. Meanwhile, the Vikings could not make the most of their opportunities as they struggled to execute bunts in different instances. They got on the board in the sixth on Noah Meinert’s single scoring Isaac VanAmberg.

Kyle Stratton and Myles Welch had the other hits for Whitehall, which on Saturday won the program’s first district title since 2017.

Photos by Harper Leon for CatchMark

Stratton had one stolen base, giving the MHSAA career-stolen base record-holder 199 total in his four seasons with the Vikings. He broke the MHSAA career record of 180 previously held by Whitehall legend Nate McLouth.

Ryne Christensen took the pitching loss for Whitehall against Spring Lake. He allowed four earned runs on four hits with five strikeouts, three walks, and the aforementioned five hit batsmen in 6 1/3 innings of work.

Zane Stahl, a 6-foot-6 right-handed Louisville commit, picked up the pitching win for Spring Lake. He allowed one run (zero earned) on two hits with five strikeouts and three walks in 5 1/3 innings. His pitch count was kept under 75 so he could pitch again in Saturday’s regional final and/or quarterfinal should the Lakers make it.

Maddux Kippling struck out three, walked one, and allowed one hit in 1 2/3 innings of relief for the Lakers.

Jaden Core (double), Zach Schlepp, Owen Smies, and Dayton Clark had the hits for Spring Lake, whose roster features on two seniors.

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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