Aidan Burgess toed the rubber for the Regents on a cold, windy Tuesday at Mansfield Stadium. Burgess continued to heat up as the night progressed, giving up only one hit over 6 1/3 innings before giving way to Austin Cotharn who retired the last two batters.
Here’s how it went down:
Top of the first was the only half inning in which Middleton had a hit. That’s it. One hit. A walk to leadoff hitter LF Liam Belleveau was quickly followed by a lineout by their SS Nolan Kelliher. Kelliher zipped a zinger to Cotharn who calmly corralled the liner and threw a strike to first to double up a surprised Belleveau. Alan Roden, the Cards first baseman grounded sharply to Donovan O’Flahrity, our first basemen, but the ball scooted out of his glove and the relay to a covering Burgess was not in time. Catcher Zach Shipley followed with a single, Middleton’s only safety of the night. (For you old-schoolers, you know that a safety is a single. For you youngsters, you just learned something during spring break.) Burgess struck out the next hitter, RF Luke Ballweg, swinging. No runs, one hit, one error. 0-0.
The bottom of the first for the home Regents was a 1,2,3 inning for pitcher Jimmy Frusciante, retiring our second baseman Cotharn, our LF Tommy Hill, and our Catcher Drake Baldwin on a strikeout looking, a fly to center, and a pop to short respectively.
The top of the second featured Aidan Burgess striking out 2 of the 3 batters.
The bottom of the second for West featured a single by DH Otto Treichel, driving one up the middle. He was followed by Donovan O’Flahrity, who strolled. (Another old-school term, this time for a base on balls). Right Fielder Jens Shager attempted to bunt Treichel over, but Frusciante was cat-like and pounced quickly on the ball and threw out Otto at third. Colin Pulkrabek, our centerfielder was bested by Frusciante on strikes for the second out. John Frehner, our starting third baseman followed with an RBI single to score O’Flahrity. Nate Millman ended the inning with a flyout to center. West 1, Middleton 0.
The top of the third featured a flyout by the #9 Hitter for Middleton, Brady Schmidt their first baseman for the first out, a walk by Belleveau, a pop to first by Kelliher. Alan Roden reached on an error but Shipley followed with a fielders choice to retire Roden at second when Frehner threw to Cotharn for the third out.
We opened it up a bit in the bottom of the 3rd. Cotharn blistered a shot to RF where Middleton’s Ballweg made an outstanding effort by laying out horizontally and nearly catching the liner. Base hit. Tommy Hill followed with a double down the LF line to score a hustling Cotharn from first base. Drake Baldwin then walked, as did Treichel. O’Flahrity liked what he saw and decided to walk as well, earning an RBI in the process when Hill was forced in. That was it for Frusciante, as he was relieved by Derek Reisdorf. Jens Shager greeted Reisdorf by grounding into a very close 6-4-3 double play, as Baldwin crossed the plate for our 4th run. Pinch hitter Max Hanson grounded to shortstop who threw to first for the 3rd out. West 4, Middleton 0.
In their half of the fourth inning, Middleton was not successful in doing anything of substance, and we rejoiced.
In our half of the 4th, they got us 3 up and 3 down, and they rejoiced.
Aidan Burgess was cruising along in the 5th, much to the delight of the Regent crowd, masterfully taking down the Cardinals with another 1,2,3 inning. The only near-threat was a hot ground ball from Belleveau that was man-handled by O’Flahrity at first. Burgess struck out Kelliher for the final out of the inning.
In the bottom of 5, Hill led off with his second double of the evening, Baldwin was caught looking, Treichel walked and Sam Mohoney came in to run for him. O’Flahrity followed with a single, and Hill stopped at the stop sign after rounding hard at third base. A squeeze bunt attempt failed on a pitch outside in the dirt, and a head-first-sliding Hill was retired at the plate on a tag by Shipley. Shager flew out to left to end the frame.
In the 6th, Middleton again was unable to mount a threat. Burgess was keeping his pitch count down and looking strong. He got a groundout from Roden, walked Shipley wo was run for by Josh Acker. Ballweg struck out, bringing Aidan’s total for the day to 5. Carsen Schulz, their DH grounded a shot up the middle that was knocked down somehow by Burgess, who then chased down the carom and threw a bullet to first to retire the side.
The bottom of the 6th by West was started with a walk by Pulkrabek, a single by Frehner, and a walk by Millman. This was the end of Reisdorf, who was spelled by their third pitcher. He was greeted by Austin Cotharn who knocked in Pulkrabek with a long Sacrifice Fly to left field. Hill then popped to first, but Baldwin picked him up as a good teammate will do, by doubling to deep right to score Quinn Burgess who ran for Frehner, and Millman. Treichel then singled in Baldwin for our 8th run. 8-0 West.
They had one more chance to score in the top of 7. Burgess wanted the ball. He wanted to finish what he started. Their first batter had other ideas. He laced a frozen rope to mid to shallow right, where Shager was prowling. Jens read the ball off the bat perfectly and raced in, diving head first to snare the ball, finishing with a Hollywood stuntman roll, coming to his feet to nail the landing and show the umpire the ball in his glove. A web gem no doubt. The next batter walked, and Burgess was gassed. A standing ovation ensued as he walked off the mound. Cotharn finished the show. Game Over. West 8, Middleton 0.
Next up: Thursday at 5 PM at Mansfield vs Verona. Be there. This is good baseball.