Diamond actin heats up for baseball and softball
By John Bernhardt
Patient at the plate, he’s a crafty hitter who runs well, hits in the clutch, and somehow, manages to get himself to first base. Scrappy, smart, and consistent, Roxbury’s senior catcher Spencer Hinkley is gaining a reputation as the offensive catalyst of the Rockets’ baseball team. Hinkley reached base seven times in nine plate appearances, helping Roxbury down South Kortright and Davenport in Delaware League action last week.
Hinkley’s uncanny ability to get on base took a turn towards the bizarre in Roxbury’s final at bat against South Kortright. The Rockets trailed, 4-2, with two outs and no one on base, and Hinkley their final hope. The scrappy Rocket struck out but beat the SK catcher’s throw to first base when the Rams’ backstop could not cleanly handle the potential game-ending pitch.
Starting the rally
SK pitcher Griff Metzko walked Will Rendler with a passed ball advancing the runners to second and third. When Eric Shultis’ infield ground ball pulled the first baseman off the bag, both runners scored and the game was tied. Sam Nash drilled the next pitch into the gap between center and right fields with Schultis scoring all the way from first base, and Roxbury claimed an unconventional 5-4 victory.
Nash’s game-winning smash was only Roxbury’s third hit in the game. Trailing 2-0, Roxbury tied the game in the bottom of the second inning when Derek Cowan worked a walk and scored on a Chris Clark triple. An infield ground out plated Clark later in the inning.
A Metzko double and singles by Dylan Cole and Ryan Sluiter drove home two SK runs in the fifth, setting the table for Roxbury’s final inning, game winning dramatics.
Schultis pitched a complete game, striking out 12, walking four and hitting one. Roxbury’s senior ace got stronger as the game unfolded getting six of the final seven SK outs on strikeouts with the lone contact a comebacker to the mound. “Eric found the strike zone and pitched great,” explained Roxbury coach Greg Funck.
Roxbury’s defense did not commit and error in backing up the efforts of their pitching ace.
Big first inning
Hinkley was a table setter in a five-run first inning at Davenport later in the week. Roxbury’s leadoff hitter worked two of six Rocket base-on-balls during the inning. Roxbury scored all five runs without a hit with the Wildcats committing three errors to aid the Rockets’ cause.
Despite spotty defensive help, Nick Hamil logged a solid six and-a-third innings on the mound to keep the Rockets in the game. Two errors and two hits, one a Kyle Wamsley double, helped Davenport score three unearned runs in the second.
A Hinkley double drove home Hamil and Jacob Davis to stretch Roxbury’s lead to 7-3 in the Rocket third. Davenport countered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.
Dakota Caronia led off Roxbury’s fourth inning with a base hit and later scored on an infield groundout to give his team an 8-5 lead. Mitchell Fischer’s two out single in the bottom of the frame narrowed the Rocket advantage to 8-7.
Hinkley was at it again helping Roxbury add an insurance run in the top of the fifth. The senior catcher reached base with a one-out single, stole second and third and scored on an infield groundout.
Hamil settled in retiring eight of the last 10 batters he faced. Schultis earned a save striking out the final two Wildcat batters to close the contest for Roxbury.
The wins improve Roxbury’s record to 4-1. The Rockets are undefeated in Delaware League play. “We’re playing much better baseball,” emphasized Funck. Our goal is for the pitchers to throw strikes and trust the guys behind them to make the plays, and we’ve been doing just that.”
It’s that time of the spring when the Roxbury softball team finds its groove. Mid-April is the time of year the Rockets have solidified their roles, worked out the early-season kinks and are ready to roll. Last week, Roxbury scored six of their seven runs in the first three innings downing, Delaware League rival Davenport, 7-2.
Senior pitcher Kendel Sprague pitched a complete game allowing only two hits. Sprague fanned nine. Davenport’s only runs came in the visitor’s sixth inning.
A Marissa Greene triple in Roxbury’s second inning drove home two of the Rockets’ three runs in the inning. The Rockets matched that output in their third at bat.
Kennedy Faraci had a two-hit game for the victors.
When the Margaretville girls’ softball team prevails, there’s a fair chance Rachel Mathiesen will play a major role in the outcome. Mathiesen, the Blue Devils’ senior pitcher, had a huge day at the plate on Thursday, going two for three, knocking home five RBIs and scoring the game-winning run.
Margaretville scored twice in the top of the seventh inning to take an 8-7 lead and then made that lead stand up when Mathiesen closed out the Eagles in their final at bat.
Margaretville capitalized on wild Eagle pitching, scoring the tying run in the seventh inning on a bases-loaded walk and the winning run on a wild pitch.
Kellsey Buerge had a two hit game for the Blue Devils.