BASEBALL: WL Central stomps rivals, storms over WL Western for DH sweep
WIXOM – Walled Lake Central knew that when it faced rival Walled Lake Western Wednesday on the road that it would have to bring its best swings, as the Vikings were facing Warriors’ ace and Michigan State-signee Andrew Gonzalez.
The Vikings did just that and pulled out a 6-3 win over "Gonzo" and Western in the first game of a doubleheader and it was all downhill from there. Drubbing their crosstown rivals 15-0 in the second game, Central secured the sweep in an offensive fireworks display.
Central head coach Mike Roffi knew his club was ready for the challenge.
“The Central-Western rivalry is what it is, throw the records out and it’s two really good baseball teams and our programs, our players respect Gonzo an awful lot,” he said. “He’s one of the top three or four pitchers in the state and our goal was to battle him and make him throw a lot of pitches and I thought we did that in game one. We had a lot of nice contacts today and even I was surprised with how well we hit the ball.”
With Central clinging to a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning of the opener, the Vikings used an RBI double from senior Ben Besh and an RBI triple from catcher Kevin O’Malley in the top half of the inning to push the lead to 6-3 and hold on for the win. Dan Little went five innings on the hill and was credited with the victory.
Western head coach Mike Larges didn’t make excuses in the wake of the twin-bill downing.
“Coach Roffi and his team did a great job,” he said. “We made some errors against a team you can’t make errors against and that’s the problem. You have a kid like Andrew Gonzalez, who’s one of the top five pitchers in the state, and he gives up two earned runs, but Central ended up with six runs. It’s just hard, but Central won a great game in the first game and brought it straight over to game two and took it to us. Hats off to them, they played great baseball.”
In the second game, Central jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three innings behind an RBI double by Mike Morilli followed by a two-RBI triple off the bat of Zach Kallgren.
That would be more than enough run support for starting pitcher Collin Gattschalk, who pitched all five innings in the second game, while recording five strikeouts to earn the win for the Vikings, after he nabbed the save in the opener.
Starting off a little shaky, Gottschalk settled down and coasted.
“I was kind of overthrowing my fastball in the beginning,” he said. “But I worked in a few curveballs and the fastball started working well to and the defense didn’t make an error and they were playing great.”
Piling it on in the fifth, Central brought the mercy rule into effect as a three-RBI double from Jerrt Hass, a two-RBI double by George Pastor and an RBI single off the bat of Morilli concluded the contest early.