Trojans Ride Strong Pitching, Timely Hitting to District Victory over Waverly

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Saturday, June 1, 2019, 4:50 pm
By: 
Mark Meyer

Sophomore pitcher Ethan Cullen improved his season record to 5-0 in leading the Trojans to a 4-1 victory over Waverly on Saturday.

On what was to quickly become a rain-soaked afternoon, the East Lansing High School baseball team took advantage of a Saturday morning start time and the strong right arm of Ethan Cullen en route to a 4-1 Division 1 district semifinal victory over Waverly.

After throwing two wild pitches and allowing a run in the first inning, Cullen retired 14 of the last 16 batters he faced - and did not walk a batter.

Junior left-hander Jayth Joseph worked the final two innings for the save, and struck out two of the six hitters he faced.

East Lansing (18-15-2) will play for the district championship at 5:30 p.m. Monday against the winner of the Grand Ledge-Okemos semifinal, which was rained out and will begin at 3 p.m. Monday.

Cullen, who improved his record to 5-0, helped his own cause by driving a triple to the right-field fence with one out in the fourth inning and the score tied at 1. Designated hitter Sam Watters put the Trojans ahead to stay when he smashed a base hit past Waverly first baseman Joe Botello and into right field. Watters came around to score on a fielder’s choice to give Cullen and Joseph all the run support they would need.

East Lansing added an insurance in the seventh inning when Watters delivered his third hit of the game, a run-scoring single that drove in Aiden Rudy.

Watters, left fielder Benno Staszewski and second baseman Marty Johnson combined for six of the Trojans’ 12 hits while sophomore catcher Will Knapp (in photo below) reached base four times and scored a run.

“That’s nice, when you can get production out of that part of the lineup,” said East Lansing coach Mark Pendred. “They help pick up the slack for the guys at the top of the order.”

Cullen worked out of a mini jam in the third inning after Waverly lead-off man Jake Hartman lashed a one-out triple to deep center. Cullen retired RJ Ostrom on an infield pop-up and Botello on a fly ball to end the threat.

“We threw a lot of strikes, and that’s what we need to do,” Pendred said of Cullen’s effort, which included one strikeout.

Pendred replaced Cullen with Joseph to start the sixth inning with Waverly’s two-three-four hitters due up.

“They had gone through their order twice, and I thought at that point a little something different from a lefty was going to work against the top of their order,” Pendred said.

East Lansing head coach Mark Pendred congratulates Louis Booth after the last out of Saturday's win over Waverly.

 

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