Rangers 13, Athletics 10
The Dayton Rangers rallied twice to knock off the defending MVABL champion Fairborn Athletics, 13-10 on Sunday, April 12 at Fairborn Legion field.
Joe Becker got his first Opening Day nod on the mound and held the A’s strong offense hitless for three innings. The Rangers gave Becker an early lead with two runs in the top of the first inning. Brennen Glass walked with two outs. Robert Riley roped a double to center field, and Glass was able to score on a throwing error. Joe Staten followed with a double to plate Riley. As the A’s lineup turned over for the second time, they were able to get to the Rangers starter. Matt Addis drove in the first run in the bottom of the fourth, and the Rangers’ lead was cut to 2-1.
The A’s tallied four runs in the bottom of the fifth, knocking out Becker. Shawn Schmitt was able to stop the bleeding as the Rangers trailed 5-2 after five complete.
The Rangers rebounded with four runs in the sixth to retake the lead. Schmitt reached on an error to start the rally. Brandon Riley was then hit by a pitch. After a couple of pop flies, Robert singled to load the bases. Staten then smacked an opposite field double to clear the bases and tie the game. Todd Peck singled to right to score Staten on a close play at the plate and the Rangers were leading 6-5.
Schmitt blanked the A’s in the sixth and the seventh. In the top of the 8th, the Rangers tacked on a pair of runs to build an 8-5 advantage. Brandon and Phil Dickerson led off with back-to-back doubles. A bases-loaded fielding error allowed the second run of the inning to score.
Once again, as a Rangers pitcher started to go through the A’s lineup a second time, the Fairborn bats started clicking. Kyle Combs had a two-run double and Joey Watson smacked a 2-run home run to give the A’s the lead at 9-8. After Shawn Haffner doubled for his third hit of the day, Rangers coach Jonmarc Lippincott turned the ball over to rookie Eric Jordan. Jordan struck out the side to stall the A’s bats.
The top of the ninth began with a single by Lippincott, followed by a walk to Ryan Meinert. Brandon lined out to center. Dickerson then blooped a single to center to load the bases to bring up newcomer Brennen Glass. After fouling off a handful of pitches, Glass got a pitch he wanted and deposited it over the left field fence for a go-ahead grand slam. Robert kept the inning alive, reaching on a fielding error and scoring later on a wild pitch.
Pitching with a four-run lead, Jordan gave up a walk and a single to bottom of the A’s order. However, Jordan recorded a crucial strikeout and a pair of fielder’s choices to wrap up the game and earn the win in his rookie debut. It marked the first time in team history that a reliever won an Opening Day game.
Offensive highlights: Brandon Riley 2b, 2 runs; Phil Dickerson 2-5 2b RBI; Brennen Glass HR 4RBI; Robert Riley 4-5, 3 runs, 2b, 2 SB; Nick Gilmore 2-5.
Historical Notes: Brandon Riley extended his career-best hit streak to 21 games. The Rangers move to 11-8 in Opening Day games. Robert Riley’s first inning double was the 5000th MVABL hit in team history.