Coming into Turn Back the Clock weekend, the Backyard Battle series record stood deadlocked at 16-16. And after the weekend was done, the stalemate remained as the Rangers and Redlegs worked a DH split at Middletown Madison high school.
In game one, the Rangers were forced to figure out Redlegs ace Aaron Carmack, of whom they have been unable to hang an "L" on since June 12, 2016. However, all the Rangers could drum up were 4 hits and 2 runs in a 7-2 defeat. The first run came on an RBI single from Jonmarc Lippincott in the third inning. The other tally came on an RBI fielder's choice from Brandon Marshall, scoring Rob Pederson, who earlier doubled to start the fourth inning. Drew Johnson was the unlikely recipient of a porous offense in his first outing on the mound for the Rangers.
For the second straight Sunday, with the help from Mr. Gilmore's mid-day hotdog bonanza, the Rangers found rejuvenation from their hitting woes and won game two 26-7.
Even though the first inning was bleak as Joe Becker was tagged for 3 runs, 2 earned, on 4 singles, the Rangers took advantage of some Redleg defensive miscues to garner their first lead of the day. With two outs in the top of the second, the Rangers were able to coerce a couple walks. A couple of swinging strike threes with balls in the dirt allowed additional baserunners to reach before Pederson's clutch 2-run single broke open the scoring and give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.
Lippincott's RBI single in the third highlighted a 3-run inning as the Rangers lead grew to 7-3. The Redlegs got a run back as former Ranger James Robinson belted a solo homerun to right, his first HR as a left-handed batter.
However, the Rangers answered with two runs in the fifth to build the advantage to 9-4. The dagger through the heart came in the sixth as the Rangers sent 12 batters to the plate, scoring 9 times. Joe Becker started with a leadoff walk. With one out, Rob Pederson singled and Ben Schooler drove home Becker. After another walk, Kujo and Nick Gilmore had back-to-back RBI singles. After a fielding error plated another run, Lippincott singled in a run. Chris Jones then plated a run on a fielder's choice, and Chris Ridl finished the scoring with an RBI double.
The Redlegs countered with 3 runs in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI double from Mike Hartman and a 2-run single from James Robinson.
As the top of the seventh rolled along, so did the Rangers offense. Five hits in succession to start the frame, followed by a walk, allowed Lippincott an opportunity to get his fourth hit of the day and his 700th MVABL hit. And with a full count and not looking for a walk, Lippincott roped a single to left to earn the milestone mark.
Joe Becker tossed 5 innings for his second win of the year, and his 49th career victory.
Offensive highlights: Rob Pederson 6-for-8, 3 runs, 3 RBIs, double; Ben Schooler 4-for-9, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Dominic Kuzujanakis 3-for-7, 5 runs, 2 RBIs; Nick Gilmore 3-for-6, 3 runs, 2 RBIs, double; Eric Becker 5 runs, SB; Jonmarc Lippincott 4-for-7, 4 RBIs.
Historical Notes: Joe Becker is 1 win away from 50 for his career. Eric Becker is 1 RBI shy of 100 for his career and 4 RBIs shy of 100 in league play. Jonmarc Lippincott collected his 700th MVABL hit and is 4 walks shy of 300 in league play. Rob Pederson had a career-high 4 hits in game two. Dominic Kuzujanakis had a career-best 5 runs scored in game two.