MADISON HEIGHTS, Michigan -- In the first game of the season, the Lutheran North Mustangs blew away the Bishop Foley Ventures from start to finish, 12-1. The second game of the doubleheader between the Catholic League teams was called off due to darkness and will be made up at a later date.
Kevin Kapanowski, James Neimeyer and Noah Fiehn came in hot with back-to-back-to-back singles off Justin Campbell, a left-handed pitcher committed to play baseball for Central Michigan, to start the game. Moments later, Kapanowski and Neimeyer crossed home plate and Lutheran North took a quick 2-0 lead.
"Getting the first hit of the game was important," Kapanowski said. "It was a jumpstart to the game and the win was an overall jumpstart to the season."
Campbell, who is 6-foot-6 and can hit the upper 80s on a good day, kept the Mustangs (1-0) off the board in the second inning, but Charles Kruse singled on a hard ground ball to second base in the third to score senior Michael Barno.
The fourth inning started with Ben Borders singling to center field on a line drive and Kapanowski followed suit with a double to score the junior second baseman. For a 5-0 lead, Kapanowski scored on a single from Barno later in the inning.
While he recorded seven strikeouts, Campbell gave up five runs on six hits and five walks across 4.0 innings pitched.
"With the blowout, it sends a message to the Catholic League that we are a new Lutheran North team that can play with anyone especially going against their ace in Campbell, who is going to Central," Kruse said.
With the bases loaded for the Ventures (0-1), a pitch crossed the plate flew to the backstop. It was ruled as a passed ball, so the earned run was not charged to Neimeyer, but it allowed Michael Ryan, a catcher committed to play for Toledo, to score and give Bishop Foley its only run of the day.
Neimeyer, a senior, toed the slab and was dominant with 81 pitches across 4.2 innings of work. He gave up one run (zero earned runs) on two hits and six walks with nine punch outs in his first outing of the season. Neimeyer owns a comfortable 1.71 WHIP.
Bishop Foley gave up seven runs in the sixth inning to give Lutheran North all the momentum. Fiehn scored on a passed ball, so did Jack Hilt. Then Kruse knocked in Andrew Lech with a single, a wild pitch scored Kruse and Drew Weaver hit an RBI single. Last but not least, Fiehn ripped a two-run double to center field, scoring Kapanowski and Weaver, to give Lutheran North a 12-1 lead.
For the Mustangs, Kruse finished 4-for-4 with two RBI, Fiehn went 3-for-5 with two RBI and Kapanowski chipped in two hits and an RBI.
"It feels great getting out to a good start," Kruse said. "I wanted to prove myslef to the team and show that I could play with the guys because it was my first game on varsity."
Fiehn, a sophomore, entered the game to finish the game against Bishop Foley. The three-sport athlete tossed just 18 pitches and recorded three strikeouts across the final 1.1 innings for Lutheran North to finalize the 12-1 victory.
The second game of the doubleheader was called after two innings due to darkness. The Mustangs held a 1-0 lead and will finish the contest later in the season against the Ventures.