Rockford traveled to West Ottawa on Tuesday, May 17, for the first of their two conference games and lost a close game 10-9. Five of the six losses the Rams have suffered this year have been by one run. The problem with this loss is that it brings them back to a tie with Hudsonville for first in the OK Red after holding a one-game lead on the Eagles for a short four-day period.
The game began with quick first, second and third innings for both Rockford and West Ottawa. In the second inning, though, the Rockford bats started to wake up. Rockford scored three runs in the second inning on a Matt Boonstra double and a Kory Young single. They scored three more in the third on singles from Brandon Nostrant, Shain Showers and Christian Leinesch, and another double from Boonstra. Rockford scored one more run in the fourth on singles from Andrew Rademacher, Drew Farmer and Tony DiLeo. They were held scoreless in the fifth inning and scored two more in the sixth on a double by DiLeo and singles from Leinesch and Boonstra. They went into the seventh down a run and had opportunities with a Farmer double, DiLeo single and Leinesch walk, but failed to capitalize. Rockford left 12 runners on base for the game.
Bryan Baldwin and Austin Stephens split the six innings, pitching three apiece. Baldwin cruised through the first inning striking out two of the three batters he faced that inning, and then struggled with the strike zone a bit as he walked five batters in the next two innings. However, he held West Ottawa to only one hit in his three innings of work. Stephens was off his game as well, as he hit two batters and walked two batters in the fourth inning to give up the Ram lead. He settled down and threw scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth, but it was too late as the Rams failed to plate enough runs.
Offensive leaders were DiLeo (3-4, one RBI), Boonstra (3-4, two doubles, three RBI), Leinesch (2-4, two RBI), Rademacher (2-4), Farmer (2-5), Nostrant (1-3), Young (1-3, two RBI) and Showers (1-4).