Rockford Rams Baseball Team

Rams baseball comes up empty in regional final loss to Hudsonville

June 14, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY The preliminaries had been taken care of and the headliners were all set for the highly anticipated showdown between two of the state’s top baseball teams on Saturday, June 9 at Jenison in the Division I regional finals. The 30-4 Rockford Rams had topped a stubborn Grand Haven squad 5-2 and the 27-5 Hudsonville Eagles had beaten back a challenge from a solid Lowell team by a score of 7-3. This would be the rubber match between the two titans, who had split mercy-rule wins on their home fields against each other earlier in the regular season. Things began promisingly for Rockford as they pushed across three runs in the top of the second inning to jump out to an early lead. But that would be the high-water mark for Rockford, as their usually reliable defense collapsed with stunning regularity over the next two innings. The Eagles scored six runs of their own in the bottom of the second and added five more in the third to assume an 11-3 lead and basically seal the deal and a trip to the Division I quarterfinals. The contest concluded with a 12-4 Hudsonville victory. “Hudsonville has a very good hitting team and we just made too many errors that gave them extra chances and resulted in runs for them,” said Rockford Coach Ian Hearn. “We had been a very resilient team this year and just battled our way through mistakes. But there were just too many of them today against a team as good as Hudsonville is. The kids fought all the way through till the end, and the team and individual players had outstanding seasons. We need to celebrate this team’s camaraderie and accomplishments and not dwell on a difficult day.” In Saturday’s opening game against Grand Haven, Rockford showed the resiliency they had exhibited on multiple occasions over the last few years. Grand Haven scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead. A pair of Ram errors in that frame accounted for both runs, but Rockford answered back immediately with one run of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Brent Showers drilled a double to left-center that scored Ian Stankus, who had […]

Teetering on precipice, Rams rally for district title

June 7, 2012 // 0 Comments

by RANDY GREGORY With runners on the corners, two down and two strikes on Brent Showers, the Rockford Rams were staring at a 5-4 deficit to Northview in the top of the seventh inning in the Division I district final at Rockford on Saturday, June 2. Their dreams of defending their state championship from 2011 couldn’t have been more precariously perched as Brower Snedeker prepared to deliver the potentially decisive pitch for the Wildcats. Just prior to the ball leaving the pitcher’s hands, the home plate umpire screamed “Balk!” and the crowds and teams on both sides erupted simultaneously in stunned disbelief. The balk allowed Shain Showers to trot home with the tying run. An inning later the Rams tallied another run to take a 6-5 lead that Kory Young made stand up and the Rams advanced to next week’s Division I regional at Jenison. “That was a battle between two very good teams out there today,” said Rockford Coach Ian Hearn. “We started out playing baseball the ‘Rockford way’ in the first inning, but then in the second, third and fourth innings things weren’t going our way. We kind of lost our way and started pressing for a while. It took us till late in the game to regain our focus and it was almost too late. This is a determined bunch and I am proud of the way they rallied in a difficult situation to move ahead.” The first inning featured a barrage of Ram hits that didn’t stop until the Rams pushed across four runs. Drew Farmer led off with a single that was followed by arun batted in (RBI) double from Showers. Tony Dileo followed with another double that made it 2-0. An Ian Stankus ground out made it 3-0. Brent Showers ripped yet another double and was chased home with another RBI single from Steven Powell. It was 4-0 Rockford and it appeared for all intents and purposes that the rout was on. Farmer perpetuated those thoughts with a beautiful diving catch in center field in the bottom half of the first. But Snedeker came on to start the second inning and stymied the Rams over the next five and two-thirds innings. Meanwhile, the Wildcats chipped away with two runs […]

Review of Rockford baseball’s 2011 championship season

June 30, 2011 // 0 Comments

The Rams didn’t have anyone get drafted in the MLB draft this year. It’s not that they didn’t have talent—they certainly did. But they didn’t rely on the pitcher who throws 90+ or the hitter who hit 20 homeruns. What they did have was a never-give-up attitude, a mantra of GBED (Get Better Every Day) and inspiration in the form of an 11-year-old boy. Coach’s son, Ian Hearn Jr., had to have two heart surgeries as the Rams prepared to go into the playoffs. It was a source of inspiration as they resolved to win for Ian Junior. And win they did. The Rams worked their way through the districts, regionals, quarterfinals and semifinals until they got to the title game and won the state championship—a first for Rockford baseball. Thankfully, the surgeries for Ian Junior were successful as well. There wasn’t any one player who carried the team on their back. It was a total team effort from day one. The Rams had adversity and distractions along the way, but worked through them like a true family. The guidance and instruction from the coaching staff allowed the team to stay focused and on track to accomplish what had not previously been done at Rockford. In a school the size of Rockford, playing in the tough OK Red conference, it’s hard to believe there would be freshmen mature and talented enough to be part of a state championship-caliber varsity team. Kory Young is one such player. Young could have stayed at the junior varsity level and received more playing time, but chose to stay at varsity and gain valuable experience that will certainly serve him well in the years to come. He batted .333 and was a great utility player when the Rams needed him. He will certainly be one of the bright spots in the future for Ram baseball. Two other freshmen were pulled up for the playoffs: Reid Kelley and Brent Showers. Kelley is a fireballing right-handed pitcher and will likely be a big part of future Ram success. He gained some valuable experience and will no doubt be looked to as a team leader in the years to come. Showers’ situation was a bit different. Tony DiLeo, the junior everyday catcher, was […]

Rockford defeats Jenison to claim at least co-champion of OK Red

June 2, 2011 // 0 Comments

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. […]