By RANDY GREGORY
After struggling to a 1-3 record in Indiana out of the gate, the Rockford baseball team continued their stellar play of late with a 4-1 record in games contested last week. Rockford faced off with Grand Haven in a twin bill on Tuesday, April 30th and faced the Bucs in a return engagement on Thursday to begin the week. Rockford topped Grand Haven in all three contests in a fairly decisive manner. The first game on Tuesday was a 5-2 Ram win and the second tilt was a bit more decisive with a 13-2 Rockford win. In the single contest the Rams posted a 5-0 victory on Thursday.
“Our pitching has been very good all year long,” said Rockford coach Ian Hearn. “Offensively we have really come along and developed some consistency over the past two weeks. Put the two together and you can see why our level of success has picked up recently.”
Reid Kelley, Alex Hertel and Brent Showers tossed a trio of outstanding games against Grand Haven. Kelley allowed two runs and two hits while striking out 13 in the 5-2 win. Hertel allowed two runs and five hits while fanning seven in the 13-2 victory, and Showers tossed a four-hit shutout with 9 Ks in the 5-0 Ram triumph.
The Ram bats were booming in the hit column in all three games but they struggled hitting in the clutch save for the middle contest.
Showers and Tim Redder (2b and 3B) each had three hits and Kory Young (2B) and Matt Dileo (2B) had a pair of hits in the opener. In game two six different Rams had multiple hits. Tyler Pellerito led the way with three hits, while Showers, Steven Powell, Landon Haney, Steve Bilski and Jonathan Stewart all had a pair of hits. In the final game, Showers again had three hits and Matt Dileo added a pair while Redder laced a double.
Rockford hosted a tourney on Saturday, May 4th and split the two games they played. Rockford fell to Troy in the opener 7-3 before rebounding to post a 13-3 pasting of Holt in the consolation contest.
“We just didn’t play with a lot of intensity in the first game on Saturday for whatever reason,” said Hearn. “But we came back and showed what we are capable of in the second game. Every time we started to get something going there seemed to be two outs and we didn’t get the key hit to put us over the top. We actually led Troy 3-2 in the sixth-inning but couldn’t quite finish them off. We will learn from this and move on.”
Freshman Bryce Kelley picked up the win in the second contest while allowing three runs on five hits while striking out four in the mercy-rule shortened triumph against a state quarterfinalist team from last year (Holt).
Stewart and Bilski had two hits each in the opener and Dileo poked a double for the Rams. Cory Stankus, Showers, Dileo and Young all had a pair of hits in game number two.
Rockford will look to continue their perfect mark in OK Red play (6-0) when they face Grandville in a trio of games this week. The Rams will host Grandville on Tuesday, May 7th (too late for press) and will return the favor with a trip to Grandville for a single game on Thursday. They will close out the week by hosting Caledonia for a double dip on Friday.