The Rolla baseball team (17-4-1, 5-1 OC) were finally able to face off against Kickapoo on Wednesday, May 2. The Bulldog bats came to life to the tune of five dingers from their outfield, as Rolla bashed their way to a 12-7 conference win. This was Rolla's first win over the Chiefs since the 2009 season.
This Ozark Conference matchup has been long awaited this year. Originally scheduled to be played a month ago, Rolla's game with Kickapoo was rescheduled four times before finally getting played on Wednesday. It was worth the wait.
After the first ended in a 2-2 tie, Rolla scored three runs in the top of the second to take the lead for good. Kickapoo chipped away at that lead a couple of times, but never got closer than down two runs. The Chiefs scored one in the third, before Rolla responded with one of their own in the top of the fourth. Kickapoo came back with another in the fifth, before Rolla drove home four more runs in the top of the sixth. Kickapoo made a late push with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, but the Bulldogs sealed the win with two more runs in the seventh on their way to the victory.
The story of the game was the Rolla outfield. Brett Gonzalez, Davie Pound and Blayne Yarger combined for five home runs in the win, with Gonzalez and Pound each hitting two. Gonzalez led the lead with five RBI in the win, while Pound drive in three and scored four times. He added a double and a walk to his impressive stat line. Yarger drove in a pair of runs, scoring three times on his home run and a single, along with a walk. Levi Loughridge also added an RBI on two hits, one of which went for two bases. Tristen O'Neal was 1-2 with three walks and a run scored, while Noah Doyle, Blaize Klossner and Zeke Arthur each added hits.
"We hit the ball extremely well and didn't break when they were hitting the ball," said head coach Marty Hauck. "Our outfield led us last night with five home runs, but up and down our order we are producing. Even the guys who aren't getting hits are moving runners over and doing what they need to do the for the team."
Jeremiah Ruth got the win for Rolla on the mound, pitching four innings. He allowed three runs on six hits and two walks to go along with a pair of strikeouts. Jonathan Reese came in for the long save, allowed four runs, two of which were unearned, on three hits and three walks with one strikeout. Coach Hauck appreciated their senior leadership on the mound.
"Jeremiah kept throwing strikes and did his job going through their order twice and turning it over to Reese, who finished it out," said Hauck. "It was a good job on the mound of staying composed and just pitching like we know those two seniors can."
Overall, coach Hauck was thrilled to see the first win over Kickapoo since 2009.
"It was another great team win against a very solid team," said the Rolla head coach. "It has been a while since Rolla has beaten them."
The Bulldogs were slated for another Ozark Conference game on Thursday, but the game was postponed due to rain. That contest will now be a Ozark Conference doubleheader with Parkview and Hillcrest on Tuesday, May 8. Next up for Rolla is the Fulton Tournament Championship on Friday.