Manistee Saints close NABF World Series pool game with win over Hackensack

August 6 – BATTLE CREEK – Lucas Richardson played the hero on Friday.

The Manistee Saints finished the game of pool in the National Amateur Baseball Federation World Series with a pristine 3-0 record after Richardson’s ultra-clutch two-out, two-RBI single lifted them above the Hackensack Troasts by a final of 6- 5.

The Saints entered in the bottom of the seventh trailing 5-4. Jake Finkbeiner started with a line single to center field to tie the run on board. It looked like he would be blocked early on after Danny Passinault struck in and Alex Strickland swung to the right, but Alex Schmitt walked five pitches to keep Saints hopes alive.

Richardson quickly walked into a 0-2 hole after watching the first pitch for a strike and fouling on the next. He pulled the next two offers from the area before firing a 2-2 shot to the center right to drive home the tying and winning runs.

The Saints fell 5-0 to the Troasts in the top of the fourth inning as three errors led to four unearned runs. But Manistee got back into the thick of it late in the fifth, scoring four times thanks to a grand slam from Passinault who threw the first pitch he saw over the right field fence to make it a Game 5- 4.

Starting pitcher Todd Schmitt pitched 3.2 innings and allowed all four unearned runs on two hits with two strikeouts and two walks. Dylan Bates came on in relief, taking the win in 3.1 innings with one run allowed on four hits while striking out one and walking none.

Ahead of Friday’s dramatic victory, the Saints (28-12) took out the bats to open pool play with double-digit runs against the South Bend Royals and Lombard Orioles. Manistee outscored the Royals 10-5 in Game 1, then crushed the Orioles 12-5.

A dozen hits behind multiple efforts from Dom Palmara, Luke Linder, Finkbeiner, Alex Strickland and Sam Schmitt plus a two-run homer from Richardson put the Saints in the driver’s seat against South Bend. Manistee scored four in third and five in fourth to give himself a 9-0 lead.

Each starter either had a hit, scored a run or had an RBI with four (Finkbeiner, Strickland, Sam Schmitt and Richardson) getting at least one of each.

Manistee took a 10-0 lead in the sixth before the Royals scored five times in the bottom of the frame. But South Bend couldn’t take it anymore against the Saints’ pitching staff.

Starting pitcher Sam Schmitt extended his tournament scoreless streak to 11 with four shutouts for the Saints. He allowed just one hit and struck out seven while walking three. Tommy Reid pitched three relief innings and took the win, giving up all five runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts.

In Game 2 of the day, the Saints ripped in the sixth inning to score eight runs against the Orioles. Danny Passinault had three hits, including two doubles, and three RBIs while scoring twice. Stephen Weinert also had three runs on two hits. Strickland had two hits, including a double, with one RBI and one run scored. Reid also had two hits and an RBI with two walks.

Starting pitcher Roddy MacNeil went the distance in the win, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits with three strikeouts and four walks.

MacNeil faced 33 batters and threw 124 pitches, including 74 for strikes.

The Saints continue to play the World Series on Saturday and Sunday.

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