GameS 11, 12
Game 1: Rangers 14, Wild Boars 1
Game 2: Knights 11, Rangers 10
The Rangers took on both the Wild Boars and the Wright Knights in a split doubleheader at AIA in Xenia on Saturday, June 17. The first game against the Boars was a scheduled game, followed by a rain makeup with the Knights.
Shawn Schmitt returned to the mound for the first time in 2017 and showed no sign of rust, blanking the Boars through the first five innings, before allowing a run in the sixth, and earning the 'W' in the 14-1 victory.
Missing several full-time players, the Rangers still played competitive baseball throughout the day. In game one, rookie Stephen Hoendorf belted his first home run of the season to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Eric Becker's two-run single in the third moved it 3-0. Jonmarc Lippincott smacked a two-run double to increase the lead to 5-0 in the fourth. Hoendorf added an RBI triple in the fifth, and Rob Pederson picked up his first career hit with a run-scoring single.
The floodgates opened in the bottom of the sixth, as the Rangers pounded out five hits and scored seven runs. Nick Gilmore had an RBI single. Joe Becker and Cody Oakes added RBI doubles. Schmitt and Cooper Nolte also drove in runs in the inning.
Newly acquired Andrew Collins tossed a scoreless seventh inning and struck out two in his MVABL debut.
Game 2 against the Knights started out rough as players were dropping like flies and errors were a-plenty early on. Already thin in player personnel, the Rangers lost players to hamstring pulls, groin pulls, and a concussion.
Looking to continue Collins' success from game 1, he was sent back out to start game 2. He looked sharp producing 8 groundballs. The downside was that four of them resulted in errors as the Rangers found themselves in an early 5-0 hole through 1 1/2 innings.
The Rangers' first tally came on a two-out RBI single from Nolte in the bottom of the second. Eric Becker drove in the second run in the third. The Knights powered up in the fourth off Rangers' reliever Joe Becker. Anthony Turner launched a solo HR, and after a single, Alan Hooper drove a ball to the left-centerfield gap that looked like it would be caught. However, the injury bug caught the Rangers' centerfielder midstream, allowing the ball to fall in and roll all the way to the fence, resulting in an inside-the-park HR. The Knights added one more run to increase their lead to 9-2.
The Knights pushed two more runs across in the top of the sixth for an 11-2 score. However, the Rangers figured out a way to make a game of it, scoring 7 runs in the bottom of the sixth for the second time of the day.
Joe Becker, Nolte, and Gilmore singled to load the bases for Lippincott, who drove in a pair with a single down the right field line. Brandon Marshall followed with an RBI single. And after Oakes singled to load the bases again, Hoendorf unloaded for a grand slam, his second longball of the afternoon.
Staring at an 11-9 deficit in the bottom of the seventh, the Rangers could almost taste victory. Nolte led off with a walk and Gilmore singled. With one out, Marshall walked to load the bases. An ensuing wild pitch was uncorked, allowing Nolte to score and putting the tying run at third and the winning run at second. Oakes, already with 5 hits on the day, drilled a first-pitch fastball, only to be snagged by a lunging third baseman who subsequently doubled off Gilmore, who had no chance to get back in time.
A valiant comeback attempt, but the Rangers fell 11-10 in the nightcap, losing to the Knights for the first time since August 18, 2013.
Offensive highlights: Nick Gilmore 3-for-8, 3 runs, RBI, 3 SB; Jonmarc Lippincott 3-for-8, 2 runs, 4RBI, double; Brandon Marshall 3-for-8, 3 runs, RBI; Cody Oakes 5-for-7, double, 2RBI; Stephen Hoendorf 4-for-6, 4 runs, 6RBI, 2 HR, triple; Eric Becker 2-for-6, 3RBI; Joe Becker 3-for-6, 4 runs, RBI, double; Cooper Nolte 4-for-6, 2 runs, 2RBI.
Historical Notes: Nick Gilmore singled in the 7th inning of game 2 to register is 100th career hit. Shawn Schmitt eclipsed 700 innings pitched in league play.