Reinartz fires no-hitter, leads Rochester past Eastern and onto Howard County semifinals
BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
GREENTOWN — Rochester sophomore baseball player Tanner Reinartz had not pitched in two weeks prior to the team’s game against host Eastern (Greentown) in the quarterfinals of the Howard County Invitational Friday.
His arm had been sore, and then it felt better, and that turned out to be bad news for the Comets.
No pain, no hits allowed.
Reinartz threw the first Rochester no-hitter in two years and also had two hits and two RBIs at the plate as the Zebras earned a 13-0 win in five innings.
“I’m still speechless,” Reinartz said. “It’s never happened before. It’s a crazy experience.”
Rochester improved to 1-1. They will play Rossville in the semifinals at 10 a.m. today at Northwestern High School. Rossville edged Northwestern 2-1 in their quarterfinal.
LaVille and Peru will meet in the other semifinal at 12:30 p.m.
The semifinal losers will play in the third-place game at 3 p.m. The winners will meet in the championship game at 5:30 p.m.
Freshman third baseman Carson Paulik had three hits and four RBIs, and Gavin Young had two hits and an RBI. Tarick McGlothin and Luke Hunting each had a hit and an RBI, and Hunter Campbell had a hit and scored twice.
Brayden Zink and Ethan Medina were the only Zebra starters to go hitless, but Zink had a walk and an RBI, and Medina walked twice and scored twice.
Reinartz tore through the Eastern lineup with a fastball, a curve and a slider. He struck out 11 of the 16 batters he faced. He said his fastball and his slider were his most efficient pitches. He said his curve was sticking in his fingers but said the slider was working well.
The slider can be effective against left-handed hitters. He said he often aims it at the back foot of lefties.
“I was hitting spots pretty well,” Reinartz said. “For not throwing for two weeks, I thought it was pretty good. … I had been having some arm pains, and yesterday, I went to see how it felt to throw, and I was good to go.”
He retired the first seven batters before hitting Ethan Acord with a pitch in the third inning. Two batters later, Cayden Calloway reached on a dropped pop-up, but Acord was caught overrunning second base and was eventually caught in a rundown and tagged out to retire the side.
Reinartz then struck out the final six batters he faced. His no-hitter is the first Rochester no-hitter since Evan Elliott and Brock Beehler combined for one in a 2-1 win over Delphi on April 6, 2021.
“Tremendous outing,” Rochester coach Cory Good said. “He throws a ball that we classify as heavy. It moves. It’s not a straight ball. A lot of guys throw a hard fastball, and it’s on a line the whole way. If you can get something to move a little bit, it makes it that much harder to hit. He’s a guy that can do that. Big kid for only being a sophomore. A lot of baseball experience. He really surprised us last year by what he could do on the mound as a freshman. First outing of the year of his sophomore season, he looks like he’s going to even get stronger.”
Good said it’s not unusual for a player to feel sore early during the cold-weather portion of the season. Temperatures were in the mid-to-upper 50s Friday.
Reinartz also plays basketball, and Good said some basketball players have trouble getting loose early in the season. He said Reinartz knew weeks ago that he would pitch this game, and he did not deviate from the plan.”
“It’s cold, he’s a basketball guy, he didn’t throw a lot,” Good said. “Some of these guys are just getting their feet underneath them and starting to feel strong. … Feeling comfortable outside when it’s cold … those are pretty normal things to have early in the year.
“We try to ask these guys, ‘Are you hurt or are you sore?’ Sore is pretty common with muscles and stuff like that. … I didn’t think there was a real issue there (with Reinartz). Just getting some arm strength back and getting his feet underneath him, it looked like he felt pretty good today.”
Rochester was coming off a 6-2 loss to Class 3A, No. 5 John Glenn in their season opener Tuesday, but Reinartz said that did not dampen enthusiasm for the season.
“I thought we battled,” Reinartz said. “To come in from two kids (Joe Chrapliwy and Brycen Hannah) that are going to really good colleges for baseball, I thought we hung in there.
“We’re going to be really good. Evan (Elliott) was a huge part to our team last year. This year, we’ve got everyone back plus some underclassmen, and we’re going to be really good. I think we can make a run.”
Howard County Invitational quarterfinal: Rochester 13, Eastern (Greentown) 0
Rochester 2 1 4 2 4 – 13 11 1
Eastern 0 0 0 0 0 – 0 0 6
WP – Tanner Reinartz (5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 HBP, 11 K)
LP – Cayden Calloway (3 IP, 5 H, 8 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)
2B – Tarick McGlothin (RHS), Carson Paulik (RHS), Gavin Young (RHS)