Rivets Drop Two of Three on First Half of Road Trip
By Grant Montgomery
After a resilient win on Saturday evening, the Rivets hit the road for six games. Rockford started the trip with a loss against the Kenosha Kingfish on Sunday and then went on to split a double header against the Battle Creek Bombers on Tuesday.
Sunday’s effort did not reflect the recent success the Rivets have had. The final score in the contest was 6-1 Kingfish. Rockford had trouble getting much going offensively. After going down 3-0 in the third inning, the Rivets loaded the bases in their half of the 4th but were unable to get back into the game by scoring only one run. This was a turning point in the game as Manager Josh Keim said, “When we can’t cash in with the bases loaded, it’s tough to get momentum going. We have to execute in those situations.” The Rivets left eleven men on base, which resulted in them only scoring one run.
Game one of Tuesday’s twin bill match-up against the Battle Creek Bombers was a resumed game from June 19th. The final score was 9-2 Rockford. Brad Littleton opened the day on the mound for the Rivets and did not look back, as he recorded his fourth win of the year. He pitched six complete innings while allowing two runs (both unearned). He also had more than enough run support to back him. Offensive production for the Rivets came from left fielder Matt Higgins and first baseman Aaron Mann. Higgins has been an offensive machine at the plate for Rockford this season, and that showed. He was 3-5 with two runs scored in the contest. Mann also recorded a multi-hit game on the evening while bringing in two runs in the eighth inning on a single.
The Rivets were unable to sweep the double header, as they lost game two 3-1. Much like Sunday’s game, the Rivets were unable to get the bats going. Jimmy Burnette got the loss on the night despite a strong outing. His final line was 4.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (1 ER) and 8 K. He was missing bats all throughout his performance as he recorded a good number of strikeouts. Even with the loss, Keim spoke highly of the left hander out of the University of Illinois by saying, “Burnette pitches with an edge. He always puts us in a good position to win.” This is exactly what Burnette did, but the bats stayed quiet. Rockford’s lone run scored came in the second inning when Jake Vander Wal came around to score on a wild pitch. Stranded runners were also the story as the Rivets left ten runners on base.
The Rivets will complete their road trip by taking on the Battle Creek Bombers once more on Wednesday night, followed by two games in Kalamazoo to take on the Growlers. The Growlers have given the Rivets trouble on the season as Rockford has dropped three out of the first four match-ups against Kalamazoo. The Rivets look to change this narrative on June 27th and 28th.
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.