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  • Val T.

Down to final out, Brady Beck bags 3 RBIs with 2-bagger to give Rochester win

Young also drives in 3, Paulik pitches 2 scoreless innings as Zebras overcome 5 errors


Sports Editor, RTC

Brady Beck

SOUTH WHITLEY — Brady Beck had heard the mantra from the Rochester baseball coaches: Right-center field is the place to be.

And on a day in which an aroma so pungent wafted through Whitko’s ballpark that some players on the home team wore masks while in the field, Beck came out with the sweet smell of success, following the mantra and drilling a two-out, three-run double in the seventh off reliever Isaiah Cripe to foil Whitko’s intentional walk strategy and give Rochester a 7-5 win over the host Wildcats.

Gavin Young also had two RBIs, and Colton Ferverda had an RBI single for the Zebras, who improved to 14-8 overall and 5-3 in the Three Rivers Conference. Jake Seuferer also had two doubles, and Tanner Reinartz had a double.

Whitko fell to 10-9-2, 5-3.

“I’m proud of the fight,” Rochester coach Cory Good said. “I told them I feel like I’ve said that a lot this year. The way we fight and we keep battling and we never give up is extremely encouraging. The other side of that is it takes us too long to get going, to look like a baseball team. So we talk a lot about preparation and getting ready to play and what you do before the game and when we showed up here and just trying to step on the field ready to go.”

Reinartz pitched the first three innings before Ferverda worked the fourth and fifth. Carson Paulik finished with two scoreless innings, retiring six of the seven batters he faced.

Riley Harman led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and advanced to second and then third on a pair of wild pitches, but Paulik recovered to strike out Kaden Ciaccia-Long looking and Easton Gamble and Breyden Kirkdorffer swinging to end the game.

Rochester trailed 5-1 after five innings but scored twice in the sixth on Young’s two-run single. They would later load the bases on walks to Brady Beck and Brant Beck before Cripe struck out Drew Bowers to end the inning and keep the Whitko lead at 5-3.

Undeterred, Brady Coleman and Paulik walked off Cripe to start the seventh. They moved to second and third on a wild pitch. Reinartz fouled to first, but Seuferer walked to load the bases.

Young then grounded to second. It appeared as if second baseman Kale Hepler had a chance to get a forceout at second, but he elected to throw to first to retire Young instead.

That scored Coleman to make it 5-4.

But now first base was open, and Whitko coach Cody York elected to walk Ferverda intentionally to load the bases.

That brought up Brady Beck, who had been 0 for 2 on the day. He was ahead 2-1 in the count, when he nailed a liner to deep right down the line. By the time right fielder Crew Ebbinghouse flagged it down, Paulik and courtesy runner Parker Casper scored. Whitko might have had a chance on Ferverda, but when the throw eluded the cutoff man, an elated Ferverda did a somersault falling on top of home plate to make it 7-5.

“It was,” Beck admitted when asked if the intentional walk to Ferverda was a motivating factor. “Obviously, Ferv can hit the ball further than I can, but there are times I hit the ball more than Ferv. If he hits the ball, it’s going a mile, but he doesn’t always hit it. I’m very confident at swinging the bat. If I strike out, I strike out. If I hit a bad one, I hit a bad one. But I like swinging the bat, and it was fun to see it go where it did.”

Beck is also an all-conference lineman in football and a four-time state qualifier and three-time state placer in wrestling. But he had not played organized baseball since he was 12 before this year. He is hitting .300 with 15 RBIs.

“I think it was just a little bit of wanting to have some fun,” Beck said. “Football, wrestling, being the guy puts a lot of stress on you at times, so coming into baseball and not playing since fifth grade, it just gave me a little bit of freedom to try and get a spot and just have fun with the game.”

Playing baseball means he gets to be teammates with his brother Brant, who played right field and walked twice in four plate trips.

“That is cool, although his attitude is not great,” a smiling Brady said. “I get to be around friends I haven’t hung out with a lot – Jake, Colton. Obviously, football a little bit and then in school, but you get to really be with them having games three, four times a week. It’s different, but it’s fun.”

Rochester committed four first-inning errors – two came on wild pickoff throws, one on a wild throw from a second baseman and one on a catcher’s interference – that led to three Whitko runs.

Grable drove in one run with a sacrifice fly, Kirkdorffer drove in a run with a fielder’s choice, and Hepler scored on an error.

Whitko freshman pitcher Daton Day shut out the Zebras on two hits through three innings. In the fourth, Reinartz led off with a walk and went to third when Seuferer doubled to deep left. Young fouled to the catcher, but Ferverda singled to center.

Reinartz scored on the play, but center fielder Max Platt charged it and threw home to retire Casper trying to score.

“Day did well, kept us off-balance,” Good said. “He had a little hitch in his delivery. I don’t know if that created any timing with anything. But then Cripe came in and had some more velo (velocity). They played us to the pull side all day long, and we were begging for a ball to go to the right side. Cripe struggled with some accuracy a little bit, but then a huge hit to right field to empty the bases kind of won us the game.”

Kirkdorffer had an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth. A wild throw trying to get Cripe on an infield hit sailed into right field for an error, and Kepler scored all the way from first, just beating Seuferer’s tag at the plate to make it 5-1.

In other TRC action Monday, North Miami scored in the bottom of the seventh to beat Peru 4-3 and hand the Tigers their first conference loss. Manchester beat Southwood 5-2 to tie Peru for the conference lead. If Rochester wins at Lewis Cass Wednesday, they will do no worse than a tie for third place.

Rochester 7, Whitko 5

Rochester 000 102 4 – 7 7 5

Whitko 300 020 0 – 5 6 0

WP – Carson Paulik (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K)

LP – Isaiah Cripe (1 ⅓ IP, 1 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 1 K)

2B – Tanner Reinartz (RHS), Jake Seuferer 2 (RHS), Brady Beck (RHS), Kaden Ciaccia-Long (WHI)

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