A Hit Parade in Rockford Crushes a 5-Run Deficit, and Brings a W
The Kenosha Kingfish visited Rockford on Thursday holding the bottom spot of the Great Lakes East Division.
Zack Jones, the Rockford University pitcher started hot, picking off Mitchell Buban at first base for the second out of the inning. On the very next pitch, Jones struck out Zachary Nogalski to end the top of the first.
Jones hit a rough patch in the second inning, allowing the first two Kenosha batters on the base path, but came back strong closing the inning allowing zero runs.
The Kingfish played with some fancy pitching of their own with starter Kyle Gendron having a 3 up, 3 down inning in the bottom of the second. Gendron would retire the next four batters, for 7 straight retired Rockford runners.
Charles Middleton put Kenosha on top early with an RBI single in the third inning of play.
The fourth inning was highly productive for the Kingfish. Joey Scaffidi led the inning with a single, followed by RJ Pearson’s single, which soared past a diving Rockford second baseman in Josh Dudden. The next two batters would drive in runs for the visitors. An RBI double for Ryan Knernschield, and an RBI single for Drew Dyer put the Kingfish on top with a healthy lead.
Mike Jarvis and Joey Scaffidi walked back to back to begin another promising inning for the South-Eastern Wisconsin team, and when both runners advanced on stolen bases, Ryan Knernschield took advantage yet again, marking two more runs on the board, and extending Kenosha’s lead to 5.
The tides would turn in the bottom of the fifth, however, as the bats awoke for Rockford.
Nick Figus led off on base with an error on Kenosha’s third baseman, and the Rivets rolled on from that moment forward. Cam McDonald in his first game as a Rivet was driven in by a thriving Andrew Wilhite from Minnesota University. Wilhite had a huge night going 3 for 4 with two doubles, two runs, and two RBI’s.
Wilhite had struggled early in the year, and hopes to use tonight’s game as a catapult to some productivity. “It feels good to contribute to the team,” proclaims Wilhite, “We’ve just gotta keep these bats rolling, and keep scoring runs. I’ve struggled early, but I’ve been talking to the coaching staff, and I’ve really nailed down my fundamentals. I’ve just got to hit hard, and stay positive.”
The inning continued with shortstop Branden Comia singling to score Wilhite. Shortly after, Comia would score on a Kenosha error to allow Tom Josten to reach safely.
The Kingfish, though, would fight back. Ethan led off the sixth inning with a single, then Zachary Nogalski would bat in a run on a ground rule double that was lost in the infield’s rain tarp in foul territory in right field.
That would be all of the runs the Kenosha Kingfish would put on the board.
Another multiple run inning was on its way to Rockford’s squad as Jeff Heinrich dug in to face new Kenosha pitcher Tanner Fallon. Heinrich drove a single right over second base, and into center field. First baseman Cam McDonald tripled to sharp right field, allowing Heinrich to score. Next to the plate was the hot hand in Andrew Wilhite. Wilhite would deliver yet again with an RBI single to right field.
Nathan Schneiderman, otherwise known as “The Big Donkey,” stepped to the mound in replacement of Rockford reliever Tanner Probst. Schneiderman had an absolutely stellar outing, striking out the side in the seventh, and striking out 3 more batters in the eighth to record six total strikeouts on the day.
Schneiderman spoke with the media following Thursday’s contest. “I came in with my goal being to throw strikes and get ahead. I think of myself as a weak-contact pitcher, but I do get those swings and misses here and there. I just had to stay composed, and throw my game. We’re a special team, and I’m glad to be a part of what is coming together here.”
The screw crew put together another special inning with Josh Dudden leading off the seventh with a single. Tom Josten singled to right for his second hit of the day, sending Dudden to second. A wild pitch then advanced both runners, and clean-up batter Matt Higgins was up to the challenge. Higgins tied the game with an RBI ground ball. Tom Josten with aggressive base running was called out on a very close play at home plate on the next at-bat. Jeff Heinrich showed off some base running skills as well, stealing second, and reaching third on an error on the Kenosha catcher. Nick Figus came to the plate, and sent a screeching double into right field, scoring Jeff Heinrich, and giving Rockford their first lead of the night.
Andrew Wilhite kept it going in the 8th inning with his 3rd consecutive hit, and second double of the contest. Josh Dudden was another hot bat for Rockford driving four singles, to finish the game four for five. Dudden drove in Wilhite to give the Rivets some insurance for the top of the ninth.
A 1, 2, 3 inning for closer Joe Dittmar stamped another win into the books for Rockford.
The Rivets return home June 18 to take on the Battle Creek Bombers. For tickets, call the box office at 815-240-4159.
The Rockford Rivets are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 25-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 200 former Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET) and Curtis Granderson (MIA). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.rockfordrivets.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Rivets as your favorite team.