CLARE – Beaverton baseball’s Saturday afternoon was a microcosm of all the emotions that sports can evoke. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows it was all there on Saturday. The day started with a walkoff extra inning win against Evart in the regional finals and ended with a heartbreaking extra inning loss to Gladstone in the super regional three hours later.
Drew Grove got the start on the mound for Beaverton in game one against Evart. He went five and a third innings giving up four hits and only one earned run while striking out four. Evart got on the board first in the top of the third when they picked up a single run. Beaverton tied the score in the bottom of the fourth. Jarrett Inscho led off with a single ,moved to third on a pair of wild pitches and scored on a sacrifice grounder off the bat of Jack Owens.
Both teams scored in the sixth inning. Beaverton’s Nathan Longstreth was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the inning and later scored on a double by Inscho. The score remained tied at 2-2 until the bottom of the eighth when the Beavers rallied with two outs. Lucas Schweinsberg took first on a fielder’s choice and moved to second on a single by Jack Owens. Sophomore Carson Oldani then lined a 3-2 pitch to center field knocking in Schweinsburg and giving Beaverton the walkoff 3-2 win.
Jarrett Inscho got the win in relief pitching the final two and two thirds innings giving up one hit and striking out three. Inscho and Longstreth each had two hit in the game.
Next up for Beaverton was Gladstone in the super regional for the right to advance to the Division 3 semi-finals in East Lansing. Gladstone had beaten Boyne City 2-1 in the first game of the day.
Gladstone jumped out to an early 2-0 lead when they got a pair of hits and scored two runs in the bottom of the first. The Gladstone pitchers had trouble finding the strike zone early and the Beavers eventually took advantage of it scoring two runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings. Back to back walks to David Krohn and Longstreth followed by a two RBI single from Trent Reed tied the score at 2-2 in the top of the third.
Walks led to two more Beaver runs in the fifth. Longstreth and Inscho walked and both eventually came around to score, Longstreth on a sacrifice fly by Schweinsburg, and Inscho on an error. Beaverton’s final two runs came without the benefit of a hit. Walks by Grove, Longstreth, and Reed loaded the bases in the sixth. Grove and Longstreth would eventually score giving the Beavers a 6-2 lead. Gladstone threatened in their half of the sixth, but a beautiful diving catch by centerfielder David Krohn saved two runs and sent the Beavers into the seventh inning with a four run lead.
Gladstone sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the seventh scoring four runs to tie the score. The Beavers were close to putting the game away but couldn’t come up with the third out until the tying run had scored. When Beaverton failed to score in the eighth and ninth inning the door was left open for the Braves. Four straight batters reached base in the bottom of the ninth giving Gladstone the 7-6 win.
The Beavers finished 31-6 on the season and will lose only five seniors from this year’s team. The leadership of Nathan Longstreth, Logan Gerow, Drew Grove, Jack Owens and Clint Lewis will be tough to replace. All five were vital to the success that the team has experienced over the past several years. Back-to-back conference and district championships along with this year’s regional win is quite a legacy and also a path for all the Beavers that follow.