Rockford Baseball Team

Win streak reaches nine as Rams inch closer to OK Red title

May 24, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY The Rockford baseball team gathered more steam as they chugged inexorably along toward their third OK Red title in the last four years. It was anything but easy in the two league contests however, as first the Rams topped Jenison 11-10 at home on Tuesday, May 15, and followed that up with a 6-3 triumph over the Wildcats at Jenison on Thursday, May 17. Things were a touch easier on Saturday, May 19, at the Rockford Varsity Invitational. Rockford opened up play by routing Portland 15-5 to advance to the championship game against Hamilton. It was tight early, but Rockford exploded for seven runs in the fifth and sixth innings combined to crush the Hawkeyes 10-0 for their second consecutive mercy-rule victory, and took home the title. The Rams now stand at 23-4 overall and 11-1 in OK Red play. Hudsonville is only one game behind at 10-2, and both teams have only two games left in conference play. Any combination of two Rockford wins or Hudsonville losses gives Rockford the crown solely. The Rams will play a home-and-home series with a solid Grandville squad, while Hudsonville has the same agenda against a very good team from West Ottawa. “It was a struggle against Jenison,” said Rockford Coach Ian Hearn. “They are a very talented and well-coached team. But we won both games and that is the important thing. Grandville is also an excellent team and would love nothing better than to knock us off. It isn’t going to be easy, but we got ourselves into position to win the OK Red and now we have to go out and perform just as we have been all year long.” Rockford appeared to be on their way to an easy win in Tuesday’s game against Jenison when they jumped out to an early 8-2 lead. But timely Jenison hits and some uncustomary sloppy defense from the Rams let the Wildcats right back into the game. Brent Showers started and was relieved by Kory Young, who got the win. But that wasn’t until Shain Showers (hold) and Ian Stankus (save) had to come on and shut the door for the thrilling 11-10 win. The Rams pounded the ball offensively, led by three hits from […]

Rockford baseball retakes lead in OK Red race

May 17, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY Coupled with a Hudsonville loss to Grand Haven on Thursday, May 10, the Rockford baseball team took sole possession of first place in the OK Red by sweeping a pair of games from the West Ottawa Panthers last week. Rockford topped the Panthers 9-2 on Tuesday, May 8 at home before rallying late to take a 4-2 decision in Holland on Thursday. With four games left in conference play the Rams now stand at 9-1 (19-4 overall) while Hudsonville follows closely behind at 8-2. “There is still a lot of baseball to be played,” said Rockford Coach Ian Hearn. “We have four very tough games left with Jenison and Grandville, and Hudsonville still has to play West Ottawa and East Kentwood. West Ottawa was a pretty solid team and we missed some opportunities to get out to a lead on Thursday. But we managed to win both games and that is what good teams do.” In Tuesday’s tilt, Brent Showers went the distance on the mound for Rockford to garner the win. Showers allowed eight hits and only one earned run while whiffing eight and issuing a pair of bases on balls. Showers also helped himself at the plate with a pair of hits. Kory Young added a pair of doubles and Drew Farmer chipped in with a pair of hits including a double. Not to be outdone, Ian Stankus twirled a gem in Thursday’s contest. Stankus allowed four hits while fanning seven and walking a trio of Panthers. Rockford amassed 12 hits as a team but it took some late heroics from Young and Steven Powell to claim the vastly important conference win. With the score tied at 2-2 in the seventh inning, Young blasted a home run and Powell later added an equally important run-scoring single. Just like Showers, Stankus also helped himself with the stick by getting a pair of hits. Tony Dileo led the way for Rockford with three hits and Young also added another base knock. The Rams concluded the week by sweeping a pair of games from Caledonia at Rockford on Friday, May 11. The Rams blasted the Fighting Scots in the opener 13-1 before taking the nightcap by a margin of 6-3. Reid Kelley tossed […]

Rams baseball powers through first half of brutal schedule, Eagles next

May 3, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY The Rockford baseball team came through the opening salvo of a murderous schedule with a 5-0 record. But it only gets tougher this week as the “Big Boys” of the OK Red square off on Tuesday and Thursday, May 1 and 3, in a home and home series that will decide early supremacy in the conference. That would be Rockford and Hudsonville for the novice baseball fan. And if that weren’t enough, the Rams will travel to Bay City Western on Saturday, May 5, for a tournament against the number three-ranked team in Division I. Rockford started the week by trouncing Tri-County 15-4 on Monday, April 23. Reid Kelley got the win on the mound and Tim Redder had the big stick at the plate. Redder had three hits and five RBIs to pace the Ram offense. Drew Farmer had a pair of hits, including a triple, and Max Crimp and Kory Young both added doubles. Next up was a pair of conference games against a dangerous Grand Haven team that was off to a very good start. Tuesday’s contest was a nail-biter from start to finish that saw the Rams eke out a 12-11 win at home when Ram catcher Tony Dileo picked off a Buc runner at first base with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh. The return trip to Grand Haven played out in a decidedly different manner as the Rams led from start to finish in winning 8-2. Alex Hertel was the winning pitcher in Tuesday’s game for Rockford and Ian Stankus got the tenuous save thanks to Dileo’s heroics. Farmer, Young, Dileo and Stankus all had a pair of hits to pace the offense. Stankus also snagged the win on the mound for the Rams on Thursday while allowing no earned runs over the first six innings. Rockford pounded out 16 hits led by the four-hit showing of Young. Shain Showers, Dylan Postma, Dileo, Stankus and Farmer all chipped in with a pair of base knocks to help keep Rockford firmly in control offensively. “We persevered through some difficult circumstances to get those two wins,” said Rockford Coach Ian Hearn. “When you walk as many people as we did and toss […]

Rams baseball looks to build on last year’s title

April 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY The 2011 version of Rockford baseball entered uncharted waters by capping off the season with a Division I state championship last June in Battle Creek. This year’s squad returns the bulk of that team along with some overwhelming expectations from both Michigan and national pundits. Louisville Slugger has slotted Rockford as the No. 27 team nationally in their preseason rankings. The ESPN Fab 50 includes the Rams as the 48th-ranked club in the nation as well, while also placing Rockford sixth in the Midwest (which strangely includes a pair of teams from Oklahoma). Not to be outdone, the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association anointed the Rams as the number one team in Michigan in their preseason rankings as well. “We do return a lot of positional players this year, but we lost all three of our top pitchers,” said Rockford Coach Ian Hearn. “We have some very good arms, but they are untested to a certain extent and it will take us a while to gel as a team. We aren’t going to sneak up on anybody this year and it will be interesting to see how we react to having a target on our backs.” No fewer than five players have already signed to continue their baseball careers on the collegiate level next year. They are seniors Drew Farmer (Western Michigan), Tony Dileo (Eastern Michigan), Shain Showers (Evansville University), Ian Stankus (Grand Rapids Community College), and Nick Street (Owens Community College in Toledo, Ohio). Coupled with some talented juniors and three sophomores who were part of a junior varsity squad which very nearly ran the table last year (27-1), and the groundwork is in place for another successful season. Hearn will have multiple options both in the infield and in the outfield for the Rams. As many as five or six Rams are vying for time in the outfield, led by Louisville Slugger Preseason All American Farmer. Brandon Nostrant, Kory Young, Reid Kelley, Stankus and Max Crimp will also figure into the mix. Alex Hertel has been swinging a solid bat early and is nosing his way into the conversation as well. The infield situation is, if anything, even deeper in talent. Showers, Stankus, Nostrant and Young all saw considerable […]

Rockford pitcher Kropiewnicki no-hits West Ottawa

May 26, 2011 // 0 Comments

Rockford played West Ottawa for the second time on Friday, May 20, as their Thursday game was rained out. The Rams avenged a loss earlier in the week as they gave away a game to the Panthers and lost by a run. This game was not quite so close. Senior left-hander Joe Kropiewnicki wasn’t going to give the Panthers any inkling of coming away with a second win. It was a totally different game indeed. The Rams came to play and didn’t give away outs. Kropiewnicki started out the first inning by striking out the side. In the second inning he gave up a lead-off walk and then retired three in a row with two fly balls and a ground ball to second. In the third, he struck out the first batter and got two more ground ball outs. In the fourth, it was two ground ball outs and a strikeout as well. In the fifth, and last inning, due to the mercy rule, he hit the lead off batter, the second batter reached on an error and then the lead runner was picked off second by catcher Tony DiLeo, who threw him out from his knees. Kropiewnicki then got two more ground ball outs to end the game. He was never in trouble. The no-hitter gives him his seventh win. He went five innings while giving up no hits, one walk, one hit batter and striking out five. The no-hitter marks a unique accomplishment that may be a first for Rockford baseball—back-to-back no-hitters. The Ram offense used some timely hits, walks and hit batters to score 10 runs in support of Kropiewnicki. Rockford scored early as they posted five runs in the first. They followed that with three in the second and two in the third. In the first, Drew Farmer and Brandon Nostrant both drew walks. That was followed by singles from Shain Showers and DiLeo. Christian Leinesch then walked and scored on an Ian Stankus ground ball. In the second inning, Andrew Rademacher led off with a single that was followed by a homerun from Farmer (his team-leading third of the season). Nostrant was hit by a pitch. Showers then doubled and Nostrant scored on a wild pitch. In the third, Stankus […]