Game s 6, 7
The first Backyard Battle games of the 2018 season kicked off on the league's inaugural Turn Back the Clock day at Centerville high school. An always competitive series between the Redlegs and Rangers, both teams came away with a victory, keeping the series deadlocked at 15-15 since its inception in April 2010.
The Redlegs won 5-3 in the first game, while the Rangers rebounded with a 10-7 victory in game 2, snapping a 7-game losing streak to the Redlegs.
A good pitchers duel broke out in game one as the Rangers sent Luke Trubee to the hill to face off against Redlegs ace Aaron Carmack. The Rangers jumped out early in the top of the first as Nick Gilmore reached on an error. After a HBP to Ben Schooler and one out, Brandon Marshall singled home Gilmore with the first run of the game. Rob Pederson followed with an RBI single and the Rangers quickly grabbed a 2-0 lead. The Redlegs bottom-half of the inning looked very similar with Matt Morrison reaching on an error and Adam Parks getting an HBP. However a bad bounce on a Kyle Arend grounder kept the inning alive for Rangers killer Mike Hartman, who plated a pair with a single to tie the game.
The Redlegs top of the order started the damage in the third with Morrison and Parks reaching, and Hartman driving them home. Eric Becker had a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fourth to bring the Rangers within a run. However, Morrison used his wheels to swipe another run for the Redlegs in the fifth. The Rangers had their chances in the final three frames but left runners at second base in each inning.
Trubee was the hard-luck loser in game 1, going 6 innings, allowing 1 earned run and striking out 4.
The start of game two looked to be a continuation of the same theme from the first game as Morrison singled for the Redlegs and scored on a grounder from Hartman. But Brandon Marshall stayed hot, capitalizing on his 3-hit first game and driving in Eric Becker with an RBI single to tie the game at 1-1.
Redlegs rookie Saige Micomonaco drilled a home run into a stiff wind in left to give the Redlegs back the lead in the second. And Hartman's RBI single in the 3rd padded the lead to 3-1. The Rangers got a couple lucky bounces in the third and took advantage of some wild pitches to put up a 6-spot and take a 7-3 lead. Cooper Nolte arrived to the ballpark just in time to be inserted into the lineup and lead the inning off with a double -- his fifth straight game with at least 1 extra-base hit. A HBP and walk loaded the bases for Marshall, who plated two runs with a single. Three straight errors helped increase the lead. A 2-run single by Becker in the 4th gave the Rangers a 9-3 advantage.
A 2-run double by James Robinson got a couple runs back for the Redlegs in the fifth. A couple more Redlegs miscues in the sixth gave the Rangers a 10-5 lead. The Redlegs attempted to rally in the top of the seventh as Hartman drove in two more runs, but a game-ending double-play gave the Rangers the win.
Joe Becker went the distance for his 4th complete game of the year, improving his record to 3-1. Becker struck out 8 and moved into 13th place in league history.
Offensive highlights: Brandon Marshall 5-for-7, 4 RBI, double; Nick Gilmore 3-for-7, 2 runs; Eric Becker 3-for-7, 2 runs, 3RBI; Cooper Nolte 1-for-2, double, SB.
Historical Notes: The Backyard Battle series is tied at 15-15.