BY VAL TSOUTSOURIS
Sports Editor, RTC
The Rochester baseball team showed multiple ways to win a game in a span of 48 hours.
Just two days after beating Pioneer 19-17 and only about 20 hours after taking a 22-10 loss in five innings to Culver Academy, Rochester rebounded to edge Caston 2-1 at Bob Copeland Field.
Kyle Reinartz, the hero with three homers and eight RBIs in the win over Pioneer, starred on the mound this time. He pitched five hitless innings and got the win. He walked two, hit a batter and fanned eight.
He combined with Tarick McGlothin one a one-hitter. McGlothin retired six of the seven batters he faced and got the save. He walked none and struck out four.
Ethan Medina and Grant McCarter each had an RBI for Rochester, who improved to 5-4 in their final lead-up before the start of conference play against Peru Wednesday.
Peru is 9-0 and ranked No. 6 in this week’s Class 3A coaches poll.
Caston’s only run came in the fifth when Rowan Jellison walked, went to second and then third on a pair of wild pitches and then scored on a throwing error that tried to get him at third.
Joey Spin singled with one out in the sixth for Caston’s lone hit. He then stole second for the fifth and final Comet steal. But McGlothin recovered to strike out Jackson Rentschler swinging and Sam Smith looking.
McGlothin then pitched a 1-2-3 seventh, striking out Cam Kline looking, getting Jessie Rock-Wolf on a liner to second base and striking out Talon Zeider to end it.
“We’ve been talking a lot to our pitching about commanding and throwing strikes,” Rochester coach Cory Good said. “And we did that today. Kyle had his pitch count down. He attacked hitters early. And that’s what we need out of him. Starting conference play on Wednesday, that’s going to make or break us.”
Rochester had five hits. The lone extra-base hit was Ethan Medina’s double to deep right in the first that scored McGlothin all the way from first and gave RHS a 1-0 lead. Medina rounded second too far and got caught in a rundown and was tagged out on the play.
Caston stayed close when freshman pitcher Pete DuVall got Quin Stesiak to line into an inning-ending double play with a runner on third and one out in the second.
DuVall retired the side in order in the third, but Rochester nicked reliever Jessie Rock-Wolf for a run in the fourth.
Reinartz led off with a walk and stole second. He went to third on Brock Beehler’s grounder to short and scored on McCarter’s sacrifice fly to left.
But it was the mound where Reinartz shined. Eight days after he was lifted from a start against LaVille in which he had a no-hitter going, it happened again.
Caston had consecutive batters reach only once. In the fourth Spin led off by reaching on an error, and he stole second. Rentschler then walked. But Spin was caught trying to steal third, and Reinartz struck out Smith and Kline to end the inning.
“We just talked about approach, but I’ve got to tip my cap to them,” Caston coach Blake Mollenkopf said. “I know following them a little bit, and I know Coach (Good) was worried about some pitching issues with walks, and they’ve had some big run rally games. So we knew what they were struggling with and what they were going to emphasize, and I thought Reinartz was good. I thought he was consistently wild in the zone. He didn’t consistently hit the outer third. … He was in the umpire’s strike zone.
“But I think we’ve got to come with a better approach. … We’ve got to come to hit a little bit better. So I think it’s a mixture of those things.”
Caston starts Hoosier North play with a two-game set against Winamac. Game 1 is at home at 5 p.m. Monday.
“I thought today was going to be a really good test for us because I think Rochester had the same type of lineup,” Mollenkopf said. “Our kids compete. That’s all we can ask them to do. We’re going to have our hands full. I think Winamac’s going to be atop the conference. We’re going to have to play good baseball and be sound fundamentally defensively and throw strikes. Offensively is where we’ve got to get better.”
Rochester 2, Caston 1
Caston 000 010 0 – 1 1 0
Rochester 100 100 X – 2 5 4
WP – Kyle Reinartz (5 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 HBP, 8 K)
LP – Pete DuVall (3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 HBP, 1 K)
2B – Ethan Medina (RHS)
Caston’s Rowan Jellison rounds third base and scores on a throwing error as Rochester third baseman Brayden Zink looks for the ball in the outfield during Saturday’s game at Bob Copeland Field. Rochester won 2-1 to improve to 5-4 on the season. Caston fell to 2-3. (photo provided by Paula Beehler)