DeWitt scored four runs in the first inning and added one in the second and two in third on its way to a 7-4 baseball victory over Lansing Catholic on Monday night in the first round of the Capital Diamond Classic.
The Panthers (15-9) advance to face Portland at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday in a quarterfinal at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The Cougars didn’t score until the sixth inning off DeWitt junior and winning pitcher Stryker Minix.
“He’s someone who has come on for us. We knew he was going to be able to keep the ball around the plate,” DeWitt coach Alan Shankel said of Minix. “He has great control, and changes speed real well. We felt that was going to be a good matchup, because they have some power in the middle of that lineup. He did a good job keeping them off balance.”
Chris Ruby went 3-for-4, Connor Grice was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI, and Sam Smith knocked in two runs in support of Minix.
“I wasn’t throwing as many first-pitch strikes as I would have liked,” Minix said. “The changeup was working pretty well. My arm felt pretty good. But I have to give it to my teammates. Four runs in the first inning makes it pretty easy to pitch. We hit the cover off the ball.”
The Cougars got a run in the sixth and three more in the seventh to make it close.
“We keep hitting until the last out’s made,” Lansing Catholic coach Andrew Smith said. “We’ve had some comeback victories this year. So we still had some confidence.
“But you can’t dig yourself a hole like that with the way we played defense early in the game. You’re not going to win games against good ball clubs playing like that.”
Andrew Krause went 3-for-3 with a double, and Austin Schertzing was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI for the Cougars (11-10-1).
“Krause is a good hitter when he takes that approach that he took the last couple of times,” Smith said. “We didn’t set the table all that well for him, but he hit the ball well today.”