A Corn Belt classic
MILROY – In a game that featured 23 total hits and 10 innings, it took a slight overthrow on a fielder’s choice to ultimately separate the Marshall A’s and Milroy Yankees on Monday night.
With one out and the bases loaded, Milroy’s Jesse Drager hit a grounder to third base, but Mason Schnaible’s throw for the force at home pulled catcher Cody Curry away from the plate and opened enough space for Matt Bauer to score the winning run in a 7-6 victory for the Yankees.
The Yankees had led for a majority of the game after plating two runs in the bottom of the first, but despite doubling up the A’s in hits could not put Marshall away for good until the climatic 10th.
“Talk about a range of emotions. We were leaving guys on, but we felt like Austin (Deutz) was throwing well and keeping (Marshall) off balance. Granted they were hitting some balls hard at people, but you’ll take that,” Milroy manager Ryan Rohlik said. “It felt like we were in control of the game and could have broke it open at any particular moment. We didn’t, then they scored two to tie it and we get one back. And I don’t know what happened in the ninth, I have no idea. But I’m proud of the way the guys responded in the bottom half to come back and tie it. That takes a lot of guts.”
Milroy led 2-0 entering the top of the sixth, when the A’s finally broke through against Yankees’ starter Austin Deutz. Andrew Kinney blasted a double off the right field wall to score Ben Korger and Jason Minett and tie the game at 2-2.
Deutz, who allowed three runs on five hits in 7 2/3 innings, took a no-decision in the game, as did Marshall starter Nate Dickhausen.
Dickhausen made an emergency start after an injury to Marshall’s Jordon Kontz and battled through a night when he didn’t have his best stuff on the mound. The veteran right-hander gave up 14 hits over 6 2/3 innings, but allowed just three earned runs.
“We really didn’t have anyone to go with so he had to go. When it comes down to it, he gave us great effort,” A’s manager Sean Culhane said. “He gave up a lot of hits, but that’s just effective pitching. He didn’t have his greatest stuff, he pitched to them and they hit it, but to his credit and our defense’s credit we got out of innings.”
The Yankees got a run back in the bottom of the sixth and added another in the seventh on a double down the right-field line by Riley Carpenter.
The A’s clawed back into the game with a run in the eighth, using a single by Kinney, wild pitch by reliever Anthony Rohlik and errant throw by catcher Matt Bauer to get within one.
Then the A’s rode two hits and two Milroy errors to three runs in the top of the ninth, grabbing a 6-4 lead in the process.
The lead was not to last, however, as control issues cropped up in the bottom of the ninth for Marshall reliever Dylan Shoemaker. Shoemaker walked two and hit two batters, beaning pinch-hitter Aaron Mathiowetz with the bases loaded to shrink the Marshall lead to 6-5.
Kinney relieved Shoemaker with one out and the bases still loaded, but Brian Dolan’s sacrifice fly to center field brought in Drager with the tying run.
The mix of familiar faces and new names to the Milroy mix have the Yankees in the midst of an eight-game winning streak. By knocking off the A’s, the Yankees also secured the Corn Belt League title with a 10-1 mark with a game to play.
“We’ve got a lot of veterans on this team and they’ve welcomed these youngsters with open arms,” Rohlik said. “We pride ourselves on being a tight-knit group and they’ve meshed with us really well. The guys have stepped right in. Riley (Carpenter) has been playing a lot and Aaron (Mathiowetz) and Jesse Drager have just kind of adapted with us, they’re just team guys and that’s what it takes to have a good team.”
The A’s failed to take advantage of a lead off walk in the top of the 10th, while the Yankees refused to waste a leadoff double by Bauer in the bottom of the inning.
Marshall missed an opportunity to get out of the inning with a double play following an intentional walk of Justin Schlemmer. Micah Gronli’s grounder to short proved too slippery for Korger and loaded the bases for Drager.
“We kind of cost ourselves, when you look at what we did,” Culhane said. “We got three in the ninth and then we couldn’t get out of the ninth. It’s small things that are killing us right now, but what I’m excited about is that we’re finally hitting the ball again.”
One player who wont be hitting the ball anytime soon for the slumping A’s, who have lost four of their last six games, is Jordon Kontz. After breaking his foot prior to Monday’s game, the A’s top hitter (.508 average on the season) and everyday center fielder is out indefinitely.
“Depending on how long he’s out, it could be a huge loss,” Culhane said. “Injuries happen and I told the guys everybody’s got to step up. And they know that.”
Both Marshall and Milroy are off until Sunday. The A’s (11-5 overall, 4-4 Corn Belt) travel to Raymond for a chance to right the ship. The Yankees (12-2, 10-1) are at Sacred Heart.
“I think we’re having fun. We’re just looking forward to a little break here, enjoy the Fourth and regroup,” Rohlik said. “When we play Sacred Heart on Sunday, that’s the last in our league. We can’t better or worsen our position. Then we’ve got a couple that are non-league, so we’ll try to stay sharp and stay healthy.”
A’s 000 002 013 0-6 7 3
Yankees 200 001 102 1-7 16 4
A-Nate Dickhausen, Dylan Shoemaker (7), Andrew Kinney (9); Y-Austin Deutz, Anthony Rohlik (8). WP-Rohlik. LP-Kinney. 2B: A-Kinney; Y-Andrew Schmidt, Matt Bauer 2, Riley Carpenter. SB: A-Doug Mead; Y-Micah Gronli, Dean Zwach. LOB: A-7; Y-13.