Saginaw Twp – The Delta College baseball team split their second league series in as many tries on Monday, dropping a 2-1 decision to visiting St. Clair County Community College (SC4) before winning the nightcap, 6-1. The Pioneers are now 8-9 on the young season overall and 2-2 in MCCAA East play.
Jeff Wright was the tough loss loser in game one after throwing six shutout innings before giving up two runs on three hits in the seventh. Delta had runners at third base with less than two outs in the first, third, fifth and sixth inning but failed to score.
"It's frustrating, absolutely," said seventh year head coach Danny Smith. "We pride ourselves in those situations and to have a game where we don't dominate in those situations is tough."
SC4 got back-to-back strikeouts to stem the Delta threat in the first before catching the Pioneers on failed squeezes in the third and sixth innings. The Skippers also derailed a double-steal situation in the fifth to end a DC threat.
"We're not sold on the concept of JOE baseball and that's disappointing, " said Smith. "Check that – it's heartbreaking - for every single player that has come through this program for the last six years - to know that their brethren in 2018 don't believe the same things they did."
Delta has long had a team motto of '9 Guys Named Joe' that has allowed them to win 30-plus game in each of the last five seasons while qualifying for the post-season in each of those seasons. The Pioneers finished fifth in the country in 2017 after making it to the College World Series for the first time in program history.
St. Clair scored two runs in the seventh inning to break open a 0-0 tie in game one. Zach Schirmer hit a solo homerun in the bottom of the inning before the Skippers closed it out to win, 2-1.
Grant Dittmer struck out 13 batters in five innings in game two and left with a no-hitter after five innings as Delta clinged to a 6-1 lead. Dittmer would earn the win to go 1-1 on the season as Robin Van Orden threw the final two innings in shutout relief to secure the victory.
Schirmer drew three walks and scored two runs to lead the Delta offense while Mitch Morley added a single and a double with three RBI to the cause. St. Clair used five pitchers in the game.
"Nobody expects us to be the 2017 team," said Smith when asked about the fact that Delta held a 13-1 all-time record against St. Clair coming in to the season. "Everyone should expect us to compete better than we did, all the time. It doesn't matter who we play. We have yet to show up and play Delta College baseball this season." Smith is sitting just eight wins from his 200th all-time as a head coach at Delta.
The Pioneers next play at Alma College on Wednesday in a non-conference double-header. First pitch is scheduled for 2pm.