The Rams traveled to Jenison on Monday, May 23, for the first of their last two conference games in OK Red action, and defeated the Wildcats 8-3.
Rockford scored early as Drew Farmer walked to lead off the game and then advanced to third base on an errant pick-off move and scored on a passed ball. The Rams scored one in the second inning as well, when Christian Leinesch drew a walk, Ian Stankus and Max Crimp singled, and Andrew Rademacher hit a sacrifice fly to plate Leinesch.
Rockford then scored four more runs in the third inning as Brandon Nostrant led off with a single and stole second. Tony DiLeo walked, Leinesch reached on an error, Matt Boonstra singled and Stankus doubled to the fence in left-center.
In the fourth, the Rams plated two more runs when Farmer led off with a single, Nostrant walked, Shain Showers sacrifice bunted and DiLeo singled. Rockford was held scoreless in the fifth, sixth and seventh.
Offensive contributors were Farmer (1-3), Nostrant (1-2, SB), DiLeo (1-3, RBI), Boonstra (1-4, RBI), Stankus (2-3, double, RBI), Crimp (1-3) and Rademacher (0-2, RBI).
Defensively, Bryan Baldwin was on the mound for Rockford. Baldwin went the distance in securing his fifth win. He gave up one run in the second inning and two in the fourth. His line for the game was 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.
Rockford beat Jenison once more, in their last OK Red conference game of the season on Wednesday, May 26. The Rams mercied the Wildcats 10-0 in five innings behind another solid pitching performance from Joe Kropiewnicki.
The Ram offense wasn’t as prolific as it had been recently, as they had just four hits for the game. They did capitalize on 13 walks, one error, two wild pitches and two passed balls by the Wildcat defense. Offensively, Rockford was led by Farmer (2-2, two RBI, two SB), Nostrant (1-1, RBI, two SB) and Stankus (1-2).
Kropiewnicki scattered four hits and didn’t give up a run in claiming his eighth win of the season. He went the complete five innings walking one and striking out two.
With the win, Rockford claims at least a share of the OK Red crown. The Rams are now 12-2 (23-6 overall) in the conference and Hudsonville is 11-2 (22-4 overall) with one final conference match-up against East Kentwood. If Hudsonville wins, they share the crown with Rockford and, if they lose, Rockford is the sole OK Red champion.