GameS 9, 10
Game 1: Redlegs 12, Rangers 10
Game 2: Redlegs 5, Rangers 2
For the first time in 26 matchups in the Backyard Battle, the Redlegs take both ends of a doubleheader over the Rangers (6-4), winning 12-10 and 5-2 out at Middletown Madison High School.
What started out well for Rangers' starter Joe Becker in game 1 with a pair of strikeouts, turned ugly with a bloop single, followed by a Mike Hartman home run. But the Rangers got one run back on Ben Schooler's sac fly in the second.
The Rangers fell behind 4-1 headed into the bottom of the third, when the offense finally got to Redlegs starter Matt Redman. Jonmarc Lippincott started with a single and moved to third on Brandon Marshall's double. Eric Becker singled in both runners to cut the deficit to 4-3. After a walk and a single loaded the bases, Rob Nesteroff singled in a run to tie the game. One out later, Schooler unloaded the bases with a 3-run double. Nick Gilmore's sac fly rounded out the scoring as the Rangers took an 8-4 lead.
Not to be outdone, the Redlegs batted around themselves in the top of the fourth to regain the lead at 9-8. An RBI double from newcomer Stephen Hoendorf put the Rangers back into a tie ballgame. After the Redlegs went down in order in the fifth, Lippincott drove home the go-ahead run in the bottom of the frame.
But once again, the Redlegs top of the order continued to get on base and plated two more runs to take the lead back at 11-10. The Rangers were primed to counter the scoring in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with no outs. However, a drawn-in Redlegs infield squelched a run at the plate, and after an infield-fly ruling for the second out, Redlegs' reliever Aaron Carmack struck out the final batter of the inning.
The Redlegs added one final tally in the seventh for some added insurance, as the Rangers squandered another scoring opportunity in the end, ultimately leaving 11 runners on base.
Game 2 saw an intriguing matchup of MVABL rookies, as the Rangers sent Ryan Kemp to the hill, countered by the Redlegs' Tyler Henry who made his league debut. The Redlegs jumped out quickly with a pair of singles and a couple of doubles, sandwiched around a couple of errors to take a 4-0 lead right out of the chute.
While Kemp wouldn't allow another hit over the next 4 innings, the Rangers were trying to find an answer for the Redlegs' rookie left-hander. Two of their three hits off Henry came in the third, and Nesteroff's RBI single and Schooler's sac fly cut into the Redlegs' advantage at 4-2.
But the LOBs were the name of the game for the Rangers, as they left another 9 men on base in game two, leaving runners in scoring position with less than 2 outs in each of the last 5 innings.
Ryan Meinert relieved Kemp in the seventh and allowed a solo HR to Kyle Arend, as the Redlegs completed their first ever sweep of the Rangers.
Offensive highlights: Ben Schooler 2-for-5, 2 runs, 5 RBI, double, 2 sac; Nick Gilmore 2-for-4, RBI, double, 3 BB, 3 SB; Rob Nesteroff 4-for-6, 2 runs, 2RBI
Historical Notes: Nick Gilmore is 3 hits away from 100 career hits.