The Russellville Indians baseball team (5-1) was able to hold on against the Jamestown Eagles (2-1) as it secured a 12-10 win on March 30.
Jamestown led 2-0 early after the top of the first inning, but Russellville answered back by scoring three runs in the bottom half of the inning to take a 3-2 lead. Russellville’s first three batters got on base one after the other, loading the bases with no outs. After the first out was recorded, Jake Schulte drove in the first run for Russellville with a base hit to make it 2-1. Two batters later, with two outs in the inning, Landen Waggoner drove in two more runs on a base hit to make it 3-2.
The score remained the same heading into the bottom of the second inning, when the Indians added three more runs — two of which came off Charlie Miller’s bat on a two-run home run to left field — to make it 6-2.
Russellville continued to add to its lead in the bottom of the third inning; with the bases loaded and two outs on the board, Miller forced a walk to make it 7-2. Schulte forced another walk during the next at-bat to extend the Indians’ lead to 8-2.
The Indians hit their second home run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning, as Christopher Seaver hit a two-run home run to make it 10-2. A few batters later, the Indians had the bases loaded once again, and Schulte brought in another run on a walk to make it 11-2.
Jamestown started to slowly get back into the game at the top of the fifth inning, when the Eagles scored two runs to make it an 11-4 game.
The score remained the same heading into the top of the sixth inning. The Eagles kept fighting back, quickly loading the bases with one out in the inning. Shayne Harlan drove in a run with a walk to make it 11-5; a second straight walk gave the Eagles another run, and they got even closer at 11-6. Jamestown went on to add four more runs and make it an 11-10 game.
The Indians were able to give themselves a little bit more room by scoring one run in the bottom of the sixth inning to make it 12-10.
Indians head coach Lucas Branson said the team’s response to Jamestown’s comeback attempt was a little shaky.
“We were on our fifth game in five days, so we had some tired arms, but our guys continued to compete and put forth as much effort as possible,” Branson said. “We are still learning how to close out games, so we will use this game as a learning tool to help us continue to focus on getting better.”
Eagles head coach Cody Stegemann said Jamestown’s comeback attempt shows the team fights to the last pitch of every game.
“I told the boys that what separates good teams from great teams is that great teams, no matter the score, will fight every pitch, play and at-bat until that final out is made,” Stegemann said. “My guys have all the motivation and determination in the world to go out and give it their all every day.”
In the top of the seventh, the Eagles were in a prime spot to complete the comeback; back-to-back errors followed by a base hit left the Eagles with the bases loaded and no outs in the inning. However, Schulte, who was pitching for the Indians, was able to get the final three outs thanks in part to two strike outs — including the last batter of the game — to give the Indians the 12-10 win.
Stegemann said he told his team there is nothing to be ashamed about with this loss, and that it could be a great lesson for the team.
“It was a great lesson learned that if we play like we did in those fifth and sixth innings from the get-go to the end of the game, we will be very successful,” Stegemann said. “I also told them to not forget the feeling of that loss, because that is a feeling we do not want to get used to, and we look forward to turning it around Monday against Pilot Grove.”
The Indians scored their 12 runs on 15 hits and had seven errors in the game, while the Eagles scored their 10 runs on six hits and had two errors. Both teams had eight walks each.
For Russellville, Logan Cinotto led the team with three hits; Landon Plochberger, Jesse Daniel, Miller, Landen Waggoner and Seaver all had two hits each. Miller and Schulte led the team with three RBIs each, while Waggoner and Seaver added two RBIs.
For Jamestown, Bradley Schoenthal led the team with two hits and three RBIs, and Mack Sorrells added two RBIs.
The Indians’ success on offense was a result of some good at-bats by the team, Branson said. Branson also said the success on offense was a big positive to come out of the game.
“Our offense has began to start to put together some really good at-bats, and that is one of the biggest positives to come out of the game,” Branson said. “We have tried to work on making some adjustments with a few players, and to see them have some success should give them more confidence moving forward.”
When it came to the errors, Branson said it’s something the Indians are going to be working on.
“We will have to spend some time going back to work on our defense over the next several days,” Branson said. “I feel like our defense is one of our biggest strengths, so I know our guys will respond.”
Stegemann said some of the takeaways for the Eagles are for their pitchers to be more aggressive early in the count to cut down the pitch count and let the defense work. Another takeaway is to be more selective at the plate while on offense, he said.
“We were getting way too aggressive early in the game at the plate chasing pitches. We as a team need to remind ourselves that we are at our best at the plate when we work counts and be patient,” Stegemann said. “Defensively, we just need to play catch. It sounds simple, but after we make the play, we just need to get back to the basics and make the throws we should be making.”
Branson said some of the things the Indians can take away from this game are continuing to work on ways to put away teams and to develop more confidence and believe they can be a great team.
“For five innings, we were really good and had opportunities to end the game due to run rule procedure,” Branson said. “But when that doesn’t happen, we have to focus on the next inning and keep our effort and focus where it should be.”
Russellville’s next game is at 5 p.m. April 8 against Fatima. Jamestown’s next game is at 5 p.m. April 8 at Higbee.