Rams split in action at Bay City Western tournament
The Rams traveled to Grand Haven to take on the Buccaneers in varsity baseball action on Tuesday, May 3. Through four innings, it was a 1-1 game and then the Rams offense picked up. They used some timely hitting and took advantage of some Grand Haven defensive miscues to score a run in each of the fifth and sixth innings and four runs in the seventh.
The first Rockford run was manufactured in the third inning when Max Crimp reached on a fielder’s choice and was moved to second on an Andrew Rademacher single. Crimp reached third base on an error by the Buccaneer catcher and scored on a Drew Farmer fielder’s choice.
The Rams scored once again in the fifth. Matt Boonstra doubled down the line and Jesse Edick took his spot on base as a pinch runner. Crimp then sacrifice bunted Edick to third, and Rademacher hit a sacrifice fly to center to pick up the RBI.
In the sixth, Brandon Nostrant reached on a walk and was bunted over to second by Shain Showers. Tony DiLeo was then intentionally walked and Ian Stankus singled to drive in Nostrant.
In the seventh, Crimp reached base on an error, Rademacher singled, Farmer singled, Nostrant reached on an error, and Christian Leinesch doubled to put four more runs on the board.
Offensively, the Rams were led by Rademacher (2-2, 1 RBI), Leinesch (2-4, 2 doubles, 1 RBI), Boonstra (1-3, 1 double), Stankus (1-4, 1 RBI) and Farmer (1-4, 1 RBI).
Bryan Baldwin toed the rubber for the Rams, going the full seven innings and getting the win. He cruised through the first two innings and gave up the first Buccaneer run in the third inning on a walk, a single and an error. The fourth, fifth and sixth innings were quick for Baldwin as well, as he retired the side in order each inning. In the seventh, the opposing pitcher led off the inning with a single. That was followed by a walk and another single to plate the second Grand Haven run. Baldwin then finished the game by inducing two routine ground balls—one to Stankus at second base and one to Showers at shortstop. On the day, Baldwin went seven innings while giving up two runs (one earned), five hits, three walks and struck out five.
The Rams beat Grand Haven 5-1 Thursday, May 5 to complete the sweep of one of their conference opponents. The win set up a pretty important match-up between Hudsonville and Rockford on May 10.
Rockford jumped on the board early when junior left-fielder Farmer led off the game with a single, taking advantage of a passed ball and a wild pitch. Nostrant singled in the first inning.
The Rams scored again in the second when junior second baseman Stankus doubled, followed by an RBI double from senior first baseman Baldwin. Rockford scored one again in the third on a leadoff triple by Nostrant and a sacrifice fly from junior catcher DiLeo. In the fourth inning the Rams scored two more runs when Baldwin reached on an error, senior right fielder Rademacher singled and Farmer drove them both in with a triple down the right field line.
The Rams were held scoreless in the fifth and sixth, but that was all that was needed. Offensive contributors were Farmer (2-3, 2 RBI), Nostrant (2-3, 1 RBI), Baldwin (1-3, 1 RBI), Stankus (1-3), Rademacher (1-3). As a team, the Rams out-hit the Buccaneers 7-3.
Defensively, Rockford was solid, committing no errors while senior southpaw Joe Kropiewnicki worked his way with ease through the Grand Haven offense. Kropiewnicki was effective, facing only 26 batters in the seven innings pitched. Grand Haven threatened in the first on a walk from Kropiewnicki, a sacrifice bunt and a balk to move the runner to third. Kropiewnicki then got an infield fly and a weak ground ball to first to strand the runner at third. He then cruised through the second, third and fourth innings. Again, in the fifth the Buccaneers threatened with a leadoff walk and a wild pitch. The Grand Haven runner was moved over on a ground ball out. Then DiLeo picked the runner off when he threw to Nostrant at third after a Kropiewnicki pitch. Kropiewnicki then struck out the next batter to end the inning. Grand Haven scored their lone run in the sixth on a leadoff single, a wild pitch and an RBI single. On the day, Kropiewnicki went seven innings, gave up three hits, a run, two walks, and struck out four in securing the win.
This win put the Rams solidly in second place in the conference with a 7-1 record.
Rockford won one and lost one on Saturday, May 7 at Bay City Western’s tournament. The Rams beat two-time Division IV state champion Beal City 7-1 in the first game and lost against a tough Bay City Western team in the championship game.
In the first game, Rockford out-hit Beal City 13-6. They scored seven runs but could have scored many more, as they left nine runners on base. The Rams scored one in the first, two in the second and four in the sixth.
In the first inning, Farmer led off with a double, Nostrant sacrifice bunted him to third and Showers and DiLeo both singled. In the second inning, Farmer was on base again with a single, Nostrant doubled and then Showers doubled to drive them both in.
In the sixth, the Rams took advantage of a walk, three Beal City errors, and singles by DiLeo, Leinesch and Stankus to tally four more runs. Offensive leaders were Showers (3-4, 2 RBI), Farmer (3-4), DiLeo (2-3, 2 RBI), Leinesch (2-3, 1 RBI), Stankus (2-3) and Nostrant (1-2).
Austin Stephens got the win for the Rams. He gave up an unearned run in the second inning and was quite good the rest of the way. In fact, he seemed to get stronger as the game went on. Stephens went the distance, throwing seven innings while giving up six hits, one unearned run, no walks and struck out 10.
In the second game, the Rams’ offense struggled a bit. They managed just four hits for the game. They scored a run in the second inning when Leinesch singled and stole second. Edick then singled to score Leinesch. That was the only run of the game for Rockford.
The Rams threatened again in the sixth when Stankus singled and Nostrant and Showers reached on errors, but they couldn’t plate the runs. Again, in the seventh they had a runner on third base when Edick singled and went to third on an error on a ball hit by Mike Bilski, but couldn’t get him home. Edick was 2-3 with the sole RBI, Leinesch was 1-3 and Stankus was 1-3.
Defensively, Caleb Post got the start and was followed by Showers. Post developed a very good slider in the off season and it was just a bit flat. The Warrior hitters took advantage. Post had one very good inning in the second, when he gave up back-to-back hits and then proceeded to strike out the side to end the threat. Post went the first four innings giving up eight hits, three runs (two earned), two walks and had five strikeouts. Showers shut down Bay City’s offense as he went two strong innings, giving up no hits, no runs and had two strikeouts.
Rockford now stands at 13-5 overall and is 7-1 in the OK Red conference. They take on Hudsonville in conference action this week. Game one was at Rockford on Tuesday, May 10, and game two is at Hudsonville on Thursday, May 12. Hudsonville is 8-0 in conference and these games should prove to be a challenge for both teams.