The Rockford varsity baseball team moved their record to 8-2 (4-0 OK Red) on the season after a 3-0 week that included a second consecutive sweep of an OK Red opponent. The Rams began the week by routing East Kentwood 10-3 on Tuesday, April 17 and followed that up with a hard-fought 4-1 decision over the Falcons on Thursday, April 19. The week concluded with a 13-3 triumph against Sparta in a non-league affair on Friday, April 20.
But the competition gets progressively tougher for the Rams over the next few weeks, according to Rockford Coach Ian Hearn.
“We start out with a very good Grand Haven team at home and away on Tuesday and Thursday,” said Hearn. “And we follow that up with a doubleheader against a state-ranked Midland squad on Saturday, showdowns with Hudsonville the following Tuesday and Thursday and a trip to Bay City Western the following weekend to play the third-ranked team in the state. We have played some decent baseball at times, but we really need to step it up over the next few weeks.”
Last week began with a bang at home on Tuesday against East Kentwood. The Rams scored early and often en route to the 10-3 victory over the Falcons. Brent Showers went the distance on the mound to post his second victory against one loss. He allowed 10 hits while striking out four and walking only two. Senior standouts Shain Showers and Tony Dileo let the way offensively for the Rams with three hits and three runs batted in apiece (both had a double as well). Drew Farmer and Kory Young had two hits each including a double for both. And Jesse Edick notched a two-bagger of his own to chip in to the offensive carnage for Rockford.
Rockford managed only five hits in a much tighter contest with the Falcons on Thursday. But they were key hits that mostly went for extra bases and the Rams were able to ride the right arm of Ian Stankus to claim the 4-1 win. Stankus gave up only a single unearned run to move to 3-0 on the young season with a complete game performance. Stankus allowed only seven hits while fanning three and walking only one. Dileo and Young both had a pair of hits including a home run apiece. Dileo gave Rockford a 2-0 lead with his first inning bomb, but the game entered the sixth frame with Rockford clinging to a narrow 2-1 lead. Young then belted his second homer of the year and Dileo followed with a run-scoring double to give the Rams a little cushion at the end.
Friday’s contest with Sparta, in less than ideal conditions, was also tightly contested until the bottom of the third. Rockford led only 3-2 before breaking things open with nine runs at that juncture on their way to a mercy rule shortened decision. Max Crimp raised his mark to 2-0 by throwing the first four innings. Alex Hertel came on to strike out the side in the top of the fifth and seal the win for Rockford. Drew Farmer and Dylan Postma were the only Rams with multiple hits as they each had a pair.
“Our pitchers have been solid for the most part this season and our defense has played pretty well too with a few exceptions,” said Hearn. “Our hitters have had a solid approach and have also been finding ways to get on base. But now we have gotten to the point of the season where we need to put every facet of the game together on a consistent basis if we hope to continue on the path to achieving our goals.”
Rockford kicked off this week hosting Tri County and Sparta in back-to-back games on Monday, April 23 (too late for press).