Baseball is a quirky sport. There are lots of subtle things going on that the casual fan might not notice. Rally caps are not one of these things. They are noticeable. And they are silly. But they work. Tonight was proof.
The West Regents hopped on the bus, Gus, and set off for Janesville. Just like yesterday. Except today was different. It was warm, sunny, and pleasant as the Regents finished the Big 8 Conference regular season schedule vs the Janesville Parker Vikings.
Leading off for West today was Catcher Drake Baldwin, who dug in against Janesville’s starter Sam Garvoille. Drake grounded out to Viking first baseman Sam Nemetz. Right fielder Tommy Hill followed with a groundout to the pitcher, and DH Otto Treichel struck out.
Parker came to bat in the bottom of 1 against our started Gabe Hill. Garvoille hit a can of corn fly out to Eli Sorensen in CF for out #1. Nemetz K’d. CF Jordan Bailey singled. SS Kyle Burkette also singled. Catcher Cade Bowman lined to a sliding Austin Cotharn for the nifty catch on the third out.
In the top of 2, Austin singled, but that’s all we did.
Janesville went down 1-2-3. This was highlighted by Gabe Hill pouncing off the mound like El Gato Grande to field a dribbler and throw out Ty Randall, their DH.
Top 3. 3B Charlie Met lined to left. First baseman Owen Christenson walked, and was zipping around third after Drake Baldwin’s double, and was cut down at the plate. Drake moved up to third on the throw to the plate. Tommy Hill then knocked in Drake with a single. Hill then stole second. Otto walked. Left fielder Donovan O’Flahrity then lined out to left to end the half inning.
Bottom 3. Gabe got third baseman Brandon Seidel to ground out to Charlie Met who moved over to first as Owen C had to leave the game with a finger injury. The bus driver and I fashioned a very nice splint from a plastic fork, and we think he’ll only be out of action for a short time. Garvoille singled. Nemetz grounded out to John Frehner at 2B. Bailey reached on a missed pop up that allowed Garvoille to score. Burkette doubled to score Bailey, then Cowman singled to score Burkette. Gabe struck out left fielder Jaden Ellis to end the inning.
Top 4. Austin walked. Eli struck out. John Frehner was at bat when Austin took off for second base. John’s follow through on a swing took him into the path of the catcher, and Austin was called out due to the Batter Interference. That is not something you see every day. John then grounded out to second.
Bottom 4. Gabe was still in there, firing away. He induced a pop up from Randall, then struck out Chase Hamilton, and got Seidel to fly out to Eli.
Top 5. Charlie walked, and David Grunder who entered when Owen went out, grounded out to the pitcher. Drake flew to center and Tommy lined out to left.
Bottom half of the 5th saw Nate Millmann come in to hurl for the Regents. He walked the leadoff man Garvoille, and Drake quickly threw him out by a lot when he tried to steal second base. Nemetz flew out to a sliding Tommy Hill in right. Bailey singled, Burkette had an infield single, and Bowman followed with another infield single. Nate got the pinch hitter to fly to center, another can of corn to Eli. 3-1 Vikings.
In the 6th, Otto started with a single, and Sam Mohoney came in to run for him. Donovan O’Flahrity walked. Austin laid down a bunt to get the runners over, but Mohoney was thrown out at third. Eli beat out an infield single to load the bases. Donavan Parker pinch-hit for Frehner and Dono was cut down at the plate 1-2. The catcher then over threw first base while trying to get a double play, and Cotharn scored. 3-2 Vikings. We’ve got a ball game going!
In their half of the 6th, they got one back on a single by Hamilton. Millmann exited the mound and traded places with Austin Cotharn at shortstop. Hamilton advanced to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a groundout by Seidel. Another wild pitch allowed Hamilton to score. Garvoille walked. Still 2 outs. Nemetz grounded to Met at first for the third out.
Top of 7. Now or never. The Regents chose now. David Grunder led off the inning against Seidel who was now pitching. Grunder singled to center to start a rally that would last for a while. This prompted the baseball gods to shine down upon Riverside Park, sending a message to get out the rally caps. Mary O’Flahrity started the trend of wearing her cap in an odd, inside out way, balancing it on her head. I followed suit with a shark-fin model rally cap. The fix was on. The movement gained momentum. Al Parker wore the inside-out classic model. Drake singled to keep it going and move David to second. Tommy Hill then hit a sharp grounder off the wrist of Casey Stone at third base, and everyone was safe. Word trickled into the dugout where more rally caps were donned. The mojo was strong. Now, bases were loaded for Treichel. He singled to knock in David and Drake to tie the game and move Tommy to third. Otto moved up to second on the throw to the plate. Tommy would score moments later on a wild pitch that got Otto to third. 5-4 Regents! But wait, there is more! O’Flahrity walked (not Mary, but Dono), and stole second. Otto then scored on a wild pitch. Austin lined out to right. Eli struck out. Donovan O’Flahrity was on third base now, as John Frehner walked. Charlie Met came to the plate. Frehner dashed for second and stopped half way as the catcher threw down to get him out. Little did he know John was messing with him. He stopped so that Dono could sneak home. John stayed in the rundown long enough to score the run. Good execution!
The Vikings looked like they were mounting a threat in the bottom of 7, but Eli Sorensen had come in to pitch and was not about to let this one get away. They managed a bunt single by Bailey, and a single by Bowman, but Ellis struck out and Randall grounded out to end the game!
Gabe finished with 4 innings pitched, No earned runs, 3 total runs, 5 hits, and 4 strikeouts without any walks. Nate had 1.1 innings pitched, 4 hits, one walk, and no earned runs.
Austin finished with 0.2 innings pitched, no earned runs, one walk and no hits.
Eli had one inning pitched, 2 hits, no walks, one strikeout and no runs scored.
After the varsity rally, the players hopped the bus and headed to cheer on the JV team, nearly helping them pull out a victory. I heard they were very vocal. Good job boys!
Friday night is a shared senior night between West and Edgewood. See you there!