6-run innings push Reds to easy victory
The outcome was basically decided in the fourth inning Sunday, so it was far from the most intense baseball game ever played at Whittlesey’s Mike Roiger Stadium.
The simple fact that there was baseball being played was the biggest news of the day.
After a spring of uncertainty, the host Whittlesey Reds finally began another season of Dairyland League baseball with a 16-1 rout of the Merrill Rangers on a breezy, cloudless afternoon. The teams played before a sizable crowd that spread out along both sides of the field, looking to soak up some live sports and some sun to offset the cool southeast wind that blew throughout the day.
Playing as the visitors, the Reds gave their fans plenty to cheer about, using two six-run innings to easily put away the Rangers, who had been unable to even practice on their field prior to Sunday’s game.
The first big inning for Whittlesey was the top of the fourth. Leading 2-1, the Reds got a lead off single by Brandon Loertscher. An error on a fielder’s choice hit by Derek Nichols put two on for Ben Meyer, who put down a sacrifi ce bunt that got the runners into scoring position. Spike Alexander singled in Loertscher and Nichols scored on a wild pitch. Nick Meyer’s single deflected off the pitcher into centerfield and drove in Alexander. Back-to-back RBI doubles by Thomas Mildbrand and Jeff Kraschnewski made it 7-1 and Taylor Reinhardt’s long single, after he tripped while rounding first, drove in the final run of the inning and made it 8-1.
Tyler Thicke doubled and scored on Alexander’s single in the fifth. The Reds busted it wide with another six-spot in the sixth. Brigham Kelley walked, Loertscher singled and Thicke drew a oneout walk. John McMurry reached on a dropped fly ball to left, scoring Kelley. Darren Leonhard then launched a drive that sailed over the rightfield fence for a grand slam home run and made it 14-1. An unearned run was tacked on later in the inning. Jon Laher’s RBI fielder’s choice in the seventh closed the scoring.
The Reds scored their first two runs of the new league season in the top of the first inning. Nick Meyer opened the game with a double to right-center off Merrill starter Shawn Schultz. He moved to third on Mildbrand’s grounder to first and scored on Jeff Kraschnewski’s sacrifi ce fly to right.
Reinhardt doubled and Cody Loertscher reached on a third-strike wild pitch. Those two pulled off a double steal with Reinhardt scoring.
The Reds piled up 18 hits in the seven- inning game with Nick Meyer, Leonhard, Mildbrand, Reinhardt, Brandon Loertscher, Thicke and Alexander collecting two apiece.
Cade Alexander got the starting assignment on the mound and covered the first three innings. After walking the first two batters, he struck out the next three to get out of the first. He struck out two more in the third. The Rangers got a run on two hits and a walk in the second. Alexander added another strikeout in the inning.
McMurry took the next three innings and was sharp, allowing two hits while striking out four. Thicke struck out two in the seventh.
The Reds have the league’s bye this weekend. They are scheduled to host Medford’s summer varsity team in a seven- inning game on Wednesday, June 24 before returning to league play on June 28 by hosting Everest at 1:30 p.m.