KEARSARGE - For the longest time Saturday afternoon, the Wolverine Oldtimers appeared to have an easy victory against Portage Lake tucked away.
Then the southend crew struck for 13 runs in the top of the seventh inning to score an improbable 14-10 win in the first game of the annual two-game baseball rivalry.
The northend crew had unloaded 14 hits in mounting a 10-1 lead going into the top of the seventh.
Steve Stukel of Wolverine delivers a pitch in Saturday's oldtimers baseball game against Portage Lake in Kearsarge. (Paul Peterson photo)
"It was the most bizarre Oldtimers game I've ever seen," Wolverine manager Jim Oikarinen said afterward. "And they (Portage Lake) did it all with two outs."
The big rally was helped along by seven walks by two Wolverine hurlers. Glenn Mitchell walloped a long three-run homer to key the outburst.
"That homer by Mitchell was one of the longest I've ever seen in this series," Oikarinen noted. "It was really blasted."
PL starter Floyd Wakeham pitched to just two batters before tweaking something in his knee.
Mike Olson and Jed Pollard followed to the mound for Portage Lake and were hit hard for a time.
A six-run fourth inning had given Wolverine an 8-0 lead.
Pete Oikarinen ripped a long a double to begin the frame and Greg Patrick, Dennis Salbashian, Tom Clisch, Bill Petrelius and Tino Kitalong followed with singles.
Portage Lake managed a single run in the fifth inning on a double by Mitchell and single by Mark Maijala to make it 8-1. But Wolverine tacked on two runs in the bottom of the frame.
But then followed the final explosion by the southenders.
Joe Romano and Mitchell each counted three hits for the winners, while ageless Harold Filpus chipped in two safeties.
Tom Clisch had three raps for Wolverine with Greg Patrick, Pete Oikarinen, Jim Oikarinen, Dave Yeo, Tino Kitalong and Al Piirala collecting two apiece.
Pollard was the winning hurler, while Steve Stukel took the loss. Scott Laurie and Jim Oikarinen also pitched.
The two old rivals square off at 1 p.m. Saturday in Stanton in the final game.