by RANDY GREGORY
Once again playing under the banners of Team Ram Black and Team Ram Orange the Rockford baseball teams had a pretty fair amount of success while competing against teams comprised of players from multiple schools and states.
Team Ram Black was mostly manned by 15 to 17-year old Rams playing opponents in an 18 and under bracket at various venues and in several tourneys. They also faced off with a 19 and under squad that featured a few college players. To further complicate the issue, Team Ram Black was also without Kory Young, Brent Showers and Tyler Pellerito for most, if not all of the summer season. Young and Showers played for a national championship All-Star team with others players from around the state and Pellerito played for an All-Star team coached by his father. Team Ram Black was coached by varsity assistant Steve Fusee with help from head varsity coach Ian Hearn.
The squad ended up with an overall record of 16-9 which included a win over the CMU Stars at Theunissen Stadium on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. The Stars have players from all over Mid-Michigan and have long been known for their prowess on the baseball field. Team Ram Black also went 3-2 at the Prestigious Ultimate Strike Zone tournament and 4-1 at the River Classic while squaring off with teams from Ohio, Indiana and around Michigan.
“Jonathan Stewart had a phenomenal summer for us,” said Hearn. “He led off and stole a ton of bases while hitting and fielding extremely well. Ryan Baughman had a breakout season on the mound and hitting as well and Reid Kelley was 5-1 on the mound and seemingly always rose to the occasion.”
Team Ram Orange was mostly a younger team that was mainly members of last year’s freshman team. They were coached by former Ram Sean O’Rourke and head junior varsity coach Steve Dengler. Despite fielding a roster of 15 and under players, Team Ram Orange also stepped up and played against entirely 16 and under competition.
The season got off to a rough start but the finish was quite impressive according to Hearn.
“The kids really took some lumps early, but they rebounded nicely,” said Hearn. “They physically matured and really came together as the summer progressed. They finished right around .500 despite consistently playing teams that were not only older than they were, but also came from various baseball academies and multiple schools. They did an excellent job of representing Rockford baseball.”