- Val T.
Medina’s 4 RBIs, Zink’s pitching help Zebras beat West Central
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
A new cast of players joined up with the old crew of players that shared the Three Rivers Conference title in 2019 to help the Rochester baseball team defeat visiting West Central in their season opener at Bob Copeland Field Saturday.
Ethan Medina had two hits and four RBIs, and Kane Lutz had two hits, an RBI and three runs scored as the Zebras won 16-1 in five innings.
Brock Beehler added two hits and two RBIs, and leadoff hitter Tarick McGlothin had two hits and a walk and scored four times.
Kyle Reinartz’s RBI groundout in the first inning put Rochester ahead for good, and they scored 13 more runs in the second inning to take a 14-0 lead.
Brayden Zink, who also had a walk and a hit by pitch at the plate and scored twice, got the win in his varsity mound debut.
Zink pitched three scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and one walk. He struck out eight of the 11 batters he faced and had seven consecutive strikeouts at one point.
Playing their first game since losing in the 2019 sectional to Wabash, the RHS lineup featured veterans from that team such as Reinartz, Beehler, Lutz, Grant McCarter and Quin Stesiak along side newcomers like McGlothin, a sophomore shortstop; Medina, a sophomore outfielder-pitcher; Jake Seuferer, a freshman catcher; and Zink.
“I was really proud of the way he came in and pitched,” Good said of Zink. “You know, we got a lot of sophomores out on the mound today that haven’t played high school baseball before, and I was excited to see what they could do, and Brayden went out and set the tone early and threw a lot of strikes, which is all we were asking for. He did a really good job today.”
The win was a prelude for what coach Cory Good said should be a tougher week: home games against Delphi and LaVille on Tuesday and Friday, respectively, and a road doubleheader at John Glenn this Saturday.
“It’s good to come out and knock the rust off,” Good said. “We’re really going to get challenged this coming week though. … This is a knock-off-the-rust game, and we’re going to move on to some really quality opponents.”
Braden Nuest had an RBI single in the fourth for West Central, who had a record of 7-95 in their previous 102 games in the five-year period from 2015-19.
West Central pitching walked four and also hit four batters, including three walks and two hit batters in the mammoth second inning.
RHS also had six hits in the inning, including an RBI single from Reinartz, a two-run single from Medina, an RBI single from McCarter, an RBI single by Lutz, an RBI single by McGlothin and an RBI double from Beehler. Medina also had a sacrifice fly in his second plate appearance of the inning.
“I thought my approach was pretty good,” Medina said. “I just wanted to get a base hit and get my teammates in and do what I could do. But overall, I thought my approach at the plate was pretty good today.”
Good said he wanted an aggressive approach from the whole team at the plate.
“We talked about getting our pitch and when we saw it, get on it right away,” Good said. “Not taking a bunch of pitches. That first time we see our pitch, get on it and get after it. I thought we did that well today. We put the ball in play when it was needed. I didn’t think we were chasing a lot of things really.”
Meanwhile, on the mound, Medina followed Zink and allowed one run over the final two innings. He allowed three of the seven batters he faced to reach but wound up picking two of them off.
Medina said he has played baseball since he was 5. Though he didn’t get to play a travel season last year, he did play for his travel team last summer. Medina plays for Attack Travel Baseball out of Warsaw.
“I was looking forward to it because I wanted to get my first high school baseball game in and see how it is,” Medina said. “I thought it went OK. Pitching could have been a little better, but it’s also the first game I’ve ever played in high school.”
Good became a father for the second time on March 29. He and wife Shelby are parents to a son named Ripken. Cal Ripken Jr. is the newborn’s namesake. Cal Ripken Jr. played shortstop and third base for the Baltimore Orioles from 1981-2001. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. Ripken is most well known for playing an MLB-record 2,632 consecutive games from 1982-98.
Ripken Good has a 19-month-old older brother named Palmer. Cory Good, a 2007 Rochester grad, said that being a father has affected him as a coach. He said he thinks of himself more as a “father figure” and that he thinks about making sure his players learn “the stuff outside baseball” as well as baseball lessons.
“To say it’s hectic week would probably be an understatement,” Good said. “Family planning wasn't necessarily thought out real far in advance. Any time you become a dad, you just get a little more responsibility on your plate. I look at my players a little bit differently now. But it’s been good.”
This marked the first game at Bob Copeland Field in which people were allowed inside the new press box. The last time people were allowed inside a press box for an RHS home baseball game was 2017. The old press box was condemned before the 2018 season. It was under construction for 2019. The 2020 season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Rochester 16, West Central 1 (5 innings)
West Central 000 10 – 1 2 4
Rochester 1(13)0 2X – 16 10 0
WP – Brayden Zink (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)
LP – Wall (1 ⅓ IP, 5 H, 12 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 HBP, 2 K)
2B – Brock Beehler (RHS)
Rochester sophomore Ethan Medina pitches against West Central Saturday, Medina allowed one run over two innings in relief while also picking off two Trojan baserunners. He also had four RBIs at the plate in a 16-1 Zebra victory in five innings. (photo provided by Paula Beehler)
Watch entire Rochester vs West Central Baseball game here: