by RANDY GREGORY The nationally ranked Rockford varsity baseball team jumpstarted the 2012 season with a trio of games in Indiana last week. The Rams started things off on the right foot by routing Bedford-North Lawrence 14-3. They then topped Edgewood by a count of 8-1 before dropping the finale to Lawrence Central by a narrow 1-0 margin. “The first two games were probably closer than the final scores indicated,” said Rockford Coach Ian Hearn. “The Bedford-North Lawrence game was 1-0 going into the fourth inning and we pulled away late against Edgewood. The game against Lawrence Central was two very good teams going at each other and the only run was after an error we made in the very first inning. It was a pretty good weekend of baseball against some very good competition.” Ian Stankus was the winning pitcher in the opener despite a bout of wildness. Alex Hertel added a pair of scoreless innings in relief to cement the win. Rockford was paced offensively by several of their senior stalwarts. Drew Farmer and Tony Dileo had three hits apiece while Shain Showers and Max Crimp both had a pair. Jesse Edick chipped in with a double. The Rams erupted for nine runs in the fourth inning to pull away. Nick Street and Crimp went four and three innings respectively against Edgewood in Saturday’s opener. Street was rewarded with the win and Crimp the save for their efforts. Steven Powell was the offensive catalyst with a pair of doubles and five RBIs. Showers and Kory Young also contributed a pair of hits each. The final game of the trip was the most exciting as well as the most frustrating for Rockford. Save for the single run in the first inning, the two teams went back and forth with occasional chances but no ultimate rewards. Rockford threw sophomores Brent Showers and Reid Kelley, and they didn’t disappoint against elite competition while allowing only five hits. Rockford could manage only four of their own, however, and the lone tally stood up as the determining factor in the hotly contested game. “Lawrence Central played tremendous defense all game long,” said Hearn. “Their center fielder took away at least three doubles, but by the same token we […]
Rockford Varsity Baseball Team
The Rockford varsity baseball team split a pair of non-league games on Saturday, May 22. In the opener, they beat Ogema Heights 4-0 behind a solid pitching performance by junior lefty Joe Kropiewnicki. Mt. Pleasant handed them a loss in the second game. Rockford’s offense struggled a bit, as they had just four hits in the contest. Sophomore Tony DiLeo hit another homerun while senior John Veitengruber and junior Bryan Baldwin each clubbed a double. DiLeo, Mike Bilski and Zach Martinek each had an RBI in the game. Kropiewnicki was never in trouble, as he notched the win for the Rams. He threw seven innings, gave up no runs, six hits and one walk while striking out eight. In game two, Mt. Pleasant proved to be a much tougher opponent, as the Rams dropped the game 4-0. They faced a quality left-handed pitcher from Mt. Pleasant, who was just a sophomore, and he held them in check the entire game. Offensively, Rockford was held to just three hits for the game. Baldwin, Shain Showers and Martinek all had singles. The loss was given to senior Taylor Masiewicz despite a pretty strong pitching performance. It was only Masiewicz’s second time on the hill for the Rams and he was behind in the count quite a bit, but looked pretty good. Masiewicz threw six innings, gave up three earned runs, three hits, seven walks and fanned four. He was relieved in the seventh inning by Martinek. Martinek pitched one inning, giving up one earned run, two hits, two walks and struck out one. The Rams beat the West Ottawa Panthers in league play at home on Monday, May 24, and lost a game at West Ottawa on Wednesday, May 26. In the first game, the Rams won 6-1 behind another strong pitching performance by Baldwin. Rockford was outhit by West Ottawa 7-8 on the day, but the hits were timely and the Panthers made some errors that the Rams capitalized on. Leading the way for the Rams, offensively, was Martinek, who had two singles and scored two runs. Christian Lienesch also had a single, scored two runs and had an RBI. Also garnering hits on the day were Andrew Rademacher, Masiewicz, Showers and Drew Farmer. Baldwin was […]
The Rockford varsity baseball team hosted and defeated Grand Haven on Wednesday, May 12, in a game that was rescheduled due to rain. The Rams scored early and never looked back. Their potent offense struggled as they only garnered three hits on the day. Fortunately, Bryan Baldwin pitched with his normal effectiveness and the Rams went on to win the game 5-0. Offensively, the three singles in the game were hit by Evan Smith, Christian Lienesch, and Baldwin. All other base runners reached by error, fielder’s choice or walk. Baldwin took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before giving up his only hit on the day, a double by the leadoff batter in the top of the seventh. Impressively, Baldwin didn’t walk anyone and struck out 11. “It was nice to see Bryan continue to pitch well and to see our defense continue to get better,” said Coach Hearn after the contest. This game put the Rams at 6-3 in conference and 16-5 overall. Rockford swept Grand Haven by winning their second contest 11-2 on Friday, May 14 at the lakeshore. The Rams scored four runs in the first inning, five in the fourth and two in the sixth, as their offense pounded out 13 hits and 11 runs while leaving seven runners on base for the day. Sophomore Shain Showers was productive again, leading the way on offense. Showers was 2-3 at the plate with a triple and three runs batted in. Zach Martinek also had three RBIs resulting from two timely singles. Christian Lienesch was 2-3 and John Veitengruber was 2-4. The other runs were driven in by Veitengruber, Ian Stankus, Tony Dileo and Drew Farmer. Defensively, the pitching duties were handled by fellow junior left-handers, Austin Stephens and Joe Kropiewnicki. Stephens was effective and received his fourth win of the season. He went five innings, while giving up five hits, one walk, and striking out six. He really was never in trouble other than a 390-foot fly ball that speedy centerfielder Lienesch tracked down for an out. Stephens also picked off two base runners on the day. Kropiewnicki came in for the sixth and seventh innings, and was effective in securing the win for the Rams. “Krop” pitched two innings while giving […]
Rockford varsity baseball Coach Ian Hearn notched his 300th win at Grand Haven on Friday, May 14. That’s no small feat for someone just 38 years old. It often takes many coaches 18 years, 20 years or even longer to hit the 300 mark. It took Coach Hearn just over 11 seasons. That also qualifies him for entry into the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. Hearn was a standout athlete at Central Michigan University (CMU). At CMU, he played two sports, baseball and wrestling. Coming to CMU, he was an outfielder and hitter. What he found was that the wrestling commitment was so intense that by the time the wrestling season was over, and baseball was just beginning, he didn’t have his full strength and stamina to give to baseball. Having a good arm and being left-handed, the decision was made that if he continued to wrestle, he would become a pitcher. He was an effective lefty for the Chippewa baseball team during his time at CMU. After graduating from CMU with a degree in education, Hearn took a teaching job at Owosso High School. He also was the wrestling coach while there. He had been there just one year, when he and his wife, Michelle, moved to Traverse City. He was a substitute teacher and JV baseball coach at Traverse City Central (TCC) for his first year. The varsity baseball coach soon recognized Hearn’s talent and abilities and, with his impending retirement, decided to offer Hearn the role of taking over the varsity program. Soon after taking over as the head varsity coach at TCC, Hearn was well on his way to 300 victories. At TCC, Hearn coached several standout players. Many have gone on to play at the college level including Division I, University of Michigan. Coach Hearn left Traverse City and took the coaching job at Rockford, but not before notching 239 wins there. At Rockford, Hearn won 20 games in 2008 (his first season at Rockford) and 26 games in 2009 as the Rams won the OK Red conference championship for the first time in over 20 years. So far this season, the Rams are 16-6 under Coach Hearn, and hope to do well in district and regional […]
Rockford’s varsity baseball team split a pair of games with Midland on Saturday, May 1. The Rams dropped the opener 9-8 in seven innings and only needed five innings in the back end of the doubleheader to win in convincing fashion 13-3. In game one, the Rams traded the lead with the Chemics of Midland before going into the seventh and final inning all tied up at eight runs apiece. Midland scored in the bottom of the seventh to notch the win. The Rams’ offense proved to be effective in the first game as they pounded out 10 hits but left seven runners on base and committed two errors defensively. Bryan Baldwin led the way with three singles and two runs batted in. Drew Farmer added a triple that scored two runs as well. The pitching duties were spread out among four pitchers: Joe Kropiewnicki, Evan Smith, Zach Martinek and Bryan Baldwin, with Baldwin taking the tough loss. Coach Ian Hearn’s “chalk talk” between games proved motivational, as the Rams came out swinging and scored six runs in the first inning of the next game. The game was never in doubt as Rockford continued the hit fest with 14 in the shortened five-inning game. Leading the way offensively was Baldwin again with three singles, a double and three RBIs. Andrew Rademacher contributed as well with two singles and an RBI. Ian Stankus had two singles, a double and two RBI, and Shane Showers knocked in three runs with a single and a double. Defensively, the Ram middle infield of Showers and Stankus turned their second double play of the day, and Zach Martinek notched the win going three and two-thirds innings of scoreless pitching in relief of Caleb Post. The Rams have a heavy week of baseball coming up as they play a doubleheader against Wyoming Rogers on Monday, conference games versus East Kentwood on Tuesday and Thursday, and a doubleheader at home vs. Traverse City West on Friday.