Rangers 10, Royals 4
The Rangers kicked off their 21st season by winning their 7th consecutive Opening Day contest, knocking off the Kettering Royals 10-4 on Sunday, April 2 at Centerville high school.
Ryan Meinert toed the rubber for his first Opening Day assignment and was efficient over three innings of work, allowing a hit and an unearned run.
The Rangers' offense started off on a good note as leadoff batter Brandon Riley walked and stole second. One out later, Robert Riley doubled down the left field line to plate Brandon for a 1-0 lead. Ben Schooler added a two-out, RBI single later in the inning.
Nick Gilmore doubled home Brandon Riley in the third to increase the Rangers' lead to 3-1.
The Rangers batted around in the fifth to put the game nearly out of reach. With one out, Brandon Riley and Gilmore singled in succession. A Robert Riley dribbler trickled through the third baseman's legs to score Brandon. Ryan Kemp followed with a shallow single to center to load the bases. Schooler was then hit by the pitch to force in another run. Brandon Marshall had an RBI single, and Chris Pluta singled home two more to make the score 8-1.
Robert Riley relieved Meinert in the fourth and was unscored upon over his first three innings of work. Persuading the coach for another inning, Riley promptly hit the first batter in the seventh and walked the next. RBIs from Joey Cherry, Darren Gouin and Chris Flaherty ballooned Riley's ERA, but kept the Rangers' lead at 8-4.
Ryan Kemp added some insurance with a solo home run to start the bottom of the seventh and the Rangers added an unearned run to finalize the scoring.
Rookies Cody Oakes and Kemp each tossed scoreless innings to wrap up the game.
Offensive highlights: Brandon Riley 3-3, 3 runs, SB; Nick Gilmore 2-5, double, RBI, SB; Robert Riley 2b, RBI; Ryan Kemp 2-4, HR; Ben Schooler 2-3, 2 runs, 2RBI, SB; Chris Pluta 2-3, 2RBI, 2SB.
Historical Notes: The Rangers improved to 13-8 overall in Opening Day games. The win was the team's 300th victory in MVABL play. Chris Pluta stole the franchise's 1000th base. Brandon Riley scored his 100th league run and is 1 RBI away from 100 for his career. Jonmarc Lippincott is 3 hits shy of 800 career hits.