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  • Val T.

Down to their final out, wild pitches help Rochester top Caston

Young pitches 3 innings for win, Paulik helps with clutch hit


Sports Editor, RTC

Gavin Young Noah Herd

FULTON — Trailing 6-4 with two outs in the seventh, the Rochester baseball team rallied for six runs to beat host Caston 10-6 Saturday.

With a runner on first and two outs, Caston’s Gavin Mollenkopf hit Brady Coleman with a pitch. That kept the game alive for Carson Paulik, who singled to left field to score Kaleb Lutz, who had replaced Brady Beck as a pinch-runner.

Mollenkopf then walked Tanner Reinartz and Jake Seuferer, hit Gavin Young with a pitch and walked Colton Ferverda. And in the midst of all this, he threw a run-scoring wild pitch that allowed Coleman to score the tying run, a run-scoring wild pitch that allowed Paulik to score the go-ahead run and give Rochester their first lead, a run-scoring wild pitch that allowed Reinartz to score and another wild pitch that scored Drew Bowers and Young, who was hustling from second after catcher Lance Hanna had trouble locating the ball.

Caston relievers walked seven and hit six batters over the last three innings after starter Noah Herd allowed one run over the first four.

“My biggest thing early in the game was approach,” Rochester coach Cory Good said. “You know, in the first inning, we saw nine pitches, swinging at 0-1 curve balls and just not staying back and letting Herd get the better of us. So I was a little frustrated at our approach for a little bit. Once they made that change to Hanna, I thought that might benefit us a little bit more. Just seeing a little bit more velo (velocity) and kind of staying balanced on the ball.

“But we were taking team at-bats, and I think that was a different part of it. We were going up there. We were trying to get runners on base instead of trying to do everything ourselves and hit the ball hard and score runners.”

Paulik then pitched a scoreless seventh to close the game out.

With the game on the line in the top of the seventh, he said he relished being at the plate. As a team, he said they needed to be more patient. Herd was getting Zebra hitters out on their front foot, according to Paulik.

“I had to get a hit,” Paulik added. “Had to get on. It was now or nothing, and I came through and got the single. … I look forward to those moments, and I persevered through that, and I really focused, and I’m at my best when I’m focused.”

Rochester trailed 4-0 but came back and tied the game in the fifth, but Caston pulled a bizarre double play on Parker Casper’s failed squeeze bunt attempt with the bases loaded – it appeared as if Rochester’s baserunner at second did not know that the bases loaded were loaded and that he was forced to run – and retook the momentum with two runs in the bottom of the sixth off Young, who was in his third inning of relief.

Hanna drove home one run with a two-out, RBI bloop single to shallow right field. When Mollenkopf reached on an error, Talon Zeider scored to make it 6-4.

“Just put pressure on people,” Caston coach Blake Mollenkopf said. “That’s going to be our key. We’re not going to be a big bopper lineup. We just don’t have those hitters, but we’ve got guys who can spray it around the field and run hard, so that’s the way we’re going to attack things. I thought we did that today. Anytime you get clutch hitting, I told Lance that’s a line drive in the book.”

Rochester had the bottom third of their order due in the top of the seventh.

“Obviously, when you’re going 7-8-9, in my mind, you’re hunting two of the three outs,” coach Mollenkopf said. “Hitting Coleman is not good because those three (Paulik, Reinartz and Seuferer) are very good. I mean, they’re tough to get out. I told Gavin there after the game that I felt like he was trying not to make a mistake rather than attack them.”

Caston took a 1-0 lead in the first on Pete DuVall’s two-out RBI single to left-center off Colton Ferverda.

Ferverda pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the second, but Noah Herd’s two-run single and Caleb Stinson’s RBI fielder’s choice grounder in the third made it 4-0.

Ferverda reached on an infield single to lead off the fourth. He stole second and third and later scored on a squeeze bunt to the catcher from Casper.

That was the only run that Herd, Caston’s starter, allowed in four innings.

Rochester scored three times in the fifth on Young’s RBI single, Brant Beck’s RBI walk and a Hanna wild pitch that allowed Young to score.

Mollenkopf induced the inning-ending double play on Casper’s bunt attempt and then escaped trouble in the sixth when he got Ferverda to fly out to left to end the inning after walking Reinartz and hitting Seuferer and Young.

Rochester 10, Caston 6

Rochester 000 130 6 – 10 6 3

Caston 103 002 0 – 6 7 2

WP – Gavin Young (3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 3 K)

LP – Gavin Mollenkopf (2 ⅓ IP, 2 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 4 HBP, 1 K)

XBH – (none)

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