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  • Val T.

Frosh Casper, Coleman support Reinartz’s 10 Ks in Zebra win over Adams Central


Sports Editor, RTC

GREENTOWN — The Rochester baseball team gave a lights-out performance against Adams Central at the Howard County Invitational at chilly Eastern High School Friday – literally.

Parker Casper started a four-run rally in the third with a single and later added an RBI double, and Tanner Reinartz struck out 10 over six innings on the mound as the Zebras beat the Flying Jets 5-3 in the tournament quarterfinals.

Jake Seuferer added a two-run single for Rochester, who improved to 2-1. Rochester will next play Peru, a 7-6 winner in eight innings over Eastern in another quarterfinal, in the semifinals. Game time is 12:30 p.m. today at Eastern. The first semifinal will feature Northwestern and Bluffton at 10 a.m.

Semifinal losers will play in the third-place game at 3 p.m. The winner will play in the championship game at 5:30 p.m.

Adams Central cut a four-run deficit in half in the sixth when Reinartz balked home Jack Hamilton, and Keagen Combs had an RBI single.

But Reinartz slipped a called third strike past Carson Ross with two men on base to end the inning.

Carson Paulik relieved Reinartz to start the seventh and walked leadoff man Trevor Currie.

As soon as ball four was called, all the lights in Eastern’s new stadium – Eastern has a grass field for JV games and a turf field for varsity – went out. The time was 10 p.m., and the lights had been set to turn off on a timer. After about a two-minute delay, freshman second baseman Brady Coleman made a lunging stop to his left on Cade Van De Weg’s grounder, turned and threw from his knees to beat Currie by an eyelash for a forceout.

Paulik then struck out Ryan Tester and Hamilton looking to end the game.

“It’s huge,” Rochester coach Cory Good said of Coleman’s defense. “The Madison game (an 18-15 win on March 30), he turns the same thing, a 4-6-3 double play to end the game in the 3-4 hole, reverse pivot on the money. He is very good defensively. He seems to just be a lot more settled at second base, and it’s fun to watch his glove out there.”

Besides Coleman, the other freshman in the lineup was center fielder Parker Casper, and he singled to center with one out to kindle the third-inning uprising. That came after Adams Central pitcher Dakota Perry retired seven of the first eight batters.

Coleman then bunted down the third baseline. Combs, Adams Central’s third baseman, appeared as if he would wait to see if it would roll foul before deciding to field it in fair territory. His throw to first was late for a bunt single.

Paulik walked to load the bases. Casper then scored on a passed ball. Reinartz walked to load the bases again.

Seuferer then singled to left to score Coleman and Paulik and make it 3-0. Colton Ferverda, who was in the game for Reinartz as a courtesy runner, scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-0.

Reinartz had a no-hitter for 3 ⅓ innings before Perry singled to right field to score Hamilton, who had walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch.

But Seuferer, Rochester’s IU Kokomo-bound catcher, threw out Perry trying to steal second. 

Rochester’s half of the fourth featured Brady Beck reaching on an infield single deep in the hole. He went to second on Drew Bowers’ sacrifice bunt and scored on Casper’s bloop double to shallow right field near the line to make it 5-1.

“He’s been huge,” Good said of Casper. “Parker has jumped right in and started every game for us. Batted in the nine hole, and he’s been really good offensively – good eye at the plate, swings at good pitches, just a good approach.”

That was a big enough lead for Reinartz and Paulik. Rochester allowed 30 runs in two games to Madison and Jeffersonville last week. Their pitchers walked 19 and hit 10 batters in the two games.

Holding an Adams Central team that won 18 games last year to three runs and only walking six was progress, especially for a staff that lost pitchers like Aaron Huffman, Tarick McGlothin, Brayden Zink, Ethan Medina and Hunter Campbell to graduation.

“So last week – and I can say this now – in the bottom of the fourth, that strike zone went to a shoebox, and we really had to roll through it and deal with what we had,” Good said. “No, it’s early. This weather, we knew it was going to be cold. I’m thankful it wasn’t as windy as it could have been. I think it’s just getting us out here and getting some good reps, and we’ll be alright.”

Good said that sophomore center fielder Zakk Parks will not play this year. He said Parks had surgery for an ulnar collateral ligament “issue” in his elbow in February. Good said Parks first incurred the injury last summer.

Rochester 5 Adams Central 3

Adams Central 000 102 0 – 3 4 0

Rochester 004 100 X – 5 5 0

WP – Tanner Reinartz (6 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 10 K)

LP – Dakota Perry (4 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 7 K)

2B – Parker Casper (RHS)

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