Reds comeback twice

Published 8:50 am Monday, July 21, 2008

The New Richland Reds beat up on the rest of the Hwy. 13-60 Blue Division teams Saturday and Sunday at New Richland’s Legion Field to advance to the Class C regional Aug. 3 in Waterville. The Reds came from behind in both games over the weekend, beating Cleveland14-4 in seven innings and Minnesota Lake 5-4 to remain unbeaten in the playoffs at 2-0.

“This is where we wanted to be when the season started,” said Reds head coach Jason Churchill. “Hopefully we can take that fire and continue on in the playoffs.”

In Saturday’s first round game against the Cleveland Spiders (3-12), a team the Reds beat three times this year by a total of 34-11, New Richland starter Tony Schlaak was chased off the mound after just two short innings with Cleveland in front 4-1.

Email newsletter signup

The Reds went down in order in the bottom of the second but erupted for nine runs on seven hits in the third and cruised to an easy 14-4 win in seven innings.

The final game was a match-up between top seeded New Richland (13-8) and the third seed from Minnesota Lake (9-12), who beat No. 2 seed Lake Crystal 2-1 earlier in the day. The Royals and Reds split the two-game regular season series, with one of the games ending on a controversial call to end the game in the Reds favor.

Using that disappointing loss as motivation the Royals jumped out in front 2-0 in the first inning when Danny Dewitt drove in two runs with a standup double.

The Reds on the other hand looked to be off balance at the plate against Royals starter Zach Walters and fell behind 3-0 as New Richland collected just three hits in the middle five innings.

“He (Walters) was mixing up his pitches and did a real fine job against us for seven innings,” Churchill said. “He was really getting his curveball across and it just took us a while to adjust.”

The Reds almost waited to long to adjust, but when they did, it something to see. Trailing 3-0 in the bottom of the eighth Schlaak got the rally started with a double off the wall in left field and scored on an Aaron Gilliland single.

A fielder’s choice, a single by Chris Somage, and a base on balls by Adam Warnke loaded the bases for the Reds with two outs, trailing 3-1 and their No. 8 hitter, designated hitter Tory Somage, came to the plate.

Somage already had two of New Richland’s seven hits and had not hit a home run all season. No one in the dugout could have predicted what would happen next. Although he was looking for a fastball to hit Somage instead cranked a slow curve over the left field fence for a grand slam and a 5-3 Reds lead.

“That felt pretty damn good,” Somage said still grinning from ear-to-ear after the game. “That was an instant high. I knew it was gone as soon as it left the bat, but as I rounded the bases I just couldn’t believe that had just happened.”

Reds starter Vinnie Vanengelburg gave up one more run in the top of the ninth and held on for the 5-4 New Richland win. Somage led the Reds at the plate with a 3-for-4 performance and four RBIs, including the game winner.

“This feels great, we are just sky high right now,” Churchill said. “Now as we continue we get a couple of draft picks from the teams that are out of it that should help our pitching staff and hopefully we can make a run at this thing.”

Game One

New Richland 14, Cleveland 4

Cleveland – 310 000 0xx

New Richland – 109 013 0xx

WP – Aaron Gilliland

LP – Steve Schmitt

Game Two

New Richland 5, Minnesota Lake 4

Minnesota Lake – 200 001 001 4 9 0

New Richland – 000 000 05x 5 12 3

WP – Vinnie Vanengelenburg 9 IP, 4 R, 9 H, 9 K, BB

LP – Zach Walters 8 2/3 IP, 5 R, 12 H, 7 K, BB