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  • Val T.

Rochester beats Rossville, Peru to win Howard County Invite

Hunting named tournament MVP; Medina has 3 hits, sliding catch in title game


Sports Editor, RTC

KOKOMO — Ethan Medina had three hits and an RBI and also made a shoestring catch in center field to save two runs in the fourth inning, and Luke Hunting had a hit and two RBIs to lead the Rochester baseball team past Peru 6-2 in the final of the inaugural Howard County Invitational at Northwestern High School Saturday.

Jake Seuferer and Hunter Campbell added two hits each.

The Rochester baseball team celebrates with the Howard County Invitational trophy.

Rochester won the eight-team tournament, winning their three games by a combined score of 31-4. They beat Rossville 12-2 in five innings earlier Saturday to reach the final.

Rochester coach Cory Good was allowed to recognize six players – a tournament MVP and five additional players on the all-tournament team. He said it was not an easy task.

“It’s tough,” Good said. “We had a collective effort. We’ve got a deep team. We’ve got a lot of guys that can play. Some guys don’t like not always getting an opportunity or something, but when you got a handful of players like we do and you’re winning games, it takes some of that sting off. So, yeah, just a great job there.”

It might have been a credit to a close-knit team.

“With at least 10 of us seniors, we can lead this team to somewhere special,” Medina said. “This group of seniors is really close. It’s like a big family. We’re all brothers. We’re all there for each other. We all play for each other. If someone gets down, we’re right there with them, getting them back up to where they need to be.”

Final: Rochester 6, Peru 2

Trailing 6-1 after six innings, Peru threatened in the top of the seventh. They scored a run on freshman Reis Bellar’s RBI double and loaded the bases when Tarick McGlothin walked Jackson Rogers.

But McGlothin slipped a curve past Bryce Hill, representing the tying run, for a called third strike to end the game.

The players celebrated out on the field and posed for photos with the trophy afterwards. The coaches decided on Hunting as tournament MVP, and Campbell, Aaron Huffman, Seuferer, Tanner Reinartz and Carson Paulik joined him on the all-tournament team.

Six Rochester baseball players received all-tournament honors at the Howard County Invitational at Northwestern High School Saturday. From left – Hunter Campbell, Aaron Huffman, tournament MVP Luke Hunting, Jake Seuferer, Tanner Reinartz, Carson Paulik.

Rochester improved to 3-1. Peru, who defeated LaVille 7-1 earlier Saturday to reach the final, fell to 2-1. The teams will meet again at Rochester on May 15 in their Three Rivers Conference meeting.

Huffman 4 ⅓ scoreless innings for the win. McGlothin relieved with two on and one out in the fifth and struck out Matthew Roettger and Logan Gatliff swinging to get out of the jam. His cap flying off his head with seemingly every snapping curve, McGlothin pitched the final 2 ⅔ innings for the save. He walked two and struck out five.

Rochester scored in the second inning after the first two batters were retired against Peru starter Ian Potts.

Paulik walked and went to second on Campbell’s single. Hunting then lined an opposite-field single just inside the right field foul line to score Paulik.

Huffman escaped a jam in the third when he got Roettger, Peru’s No. 3 hitter, on a pop-up to Brayden Zink at second with runners on second and third to end the inning.

Medina’s big catch came after Rogers singled and Hill reached on an error on a play where Hunting at first base appeared to lose a throw intended for him in the sun. That put runners on second and third, and Jaxon Manriquez hit a sinking liner to center that Medina flagged down just before it hit Northwestern’s artificial turf field.

“It was like how I slide at second (base),” Medina said. “I read the ball kinda weird, and then I realized it was shallow, so I just had to make a play on it, so I slid and tried to get the ball, and I got the ball.”

The Rochester baseball team celebrates after winning the Howard County Invitational Saturday. Rochester beat Eastern (Greentown) 13-0 in five innings on Friday in the quarterfinals, Rossville 12-2 in five innings in the semifinal Saturday morning and Peru 6-2 in the final Saturday night.

Medina has had to adapt to a new role offensively. Previously, he hit behind McGlothin in the batting order, but now he hits leadoff with McGlothin batting behind him.

As a result, it’s vital for Medina to get on base to create RBI opportunities for McGlothin and Reinartz.

“He was huge,” Good said. “Medina has been a great leader. His attitude and effort have been tremendous. Yeah, we threw him in the leadoff spot. It’s a spot he’s really not been in before, and he’s really just jumped in and made it his. So, big game by E. Those balls that fall in front of him a little bit, we get on him to lay out and put your body on the line, and he did it. So a tremendous day for Ethan.”

Then the Zebras responded with three runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Campbell singled in the hole to left field, and Good waved Landen Bumford, who was in the game as a courtesy runner for catcher Seuferer, in from second. The throw was cut off, but the throw home went straight into the turf and eluded Peru catcher Fox Hupenthal.

It was 2-0, and Campbell went to second on the throw.

That brought up Hunting, who sent a grounder to the right side. Hill ranged to his left and made a diving stop to throw out Hunting, but Campbell never stopped running and scored all the way from second without a play.

“I think we came into this game thinking that it was going to be another cakewalk like the other two previously, but it just wasn’t the case,” Campbell said. “But we started dead, but we came around and got it done.”

Said Good: “Hunter’s probably the best baserunner that we have. He just flies around the bases.”

Medina’s seeing-eye grounder up the middle for an RBI single scored Colton Ferverda and made it 4-0.

They made it 5-0 in the fifth when Seuferer doubled, and courtesy runner Bumford went to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a passed ball.

Manriquez’s RBI single in the top of the sixth made it 5-1, but Rochester got the run back when Gavin Young scored on an error after an infield hit from McGlothin in the bottom half.

“We’re just knocking the cobwebs off basically,” Campbell said. “I feel like that we’re going to just keep getting better through the season.”

Semifinal: Rochester 12, Rossville 2 (5 innings)

Paulik pitched four scoreless innings in relief for the win, and he also singled, doubled and had two RBIs at the plate for the Zebras in a semifinal win over Rossville earlier Saturday.

Hunting also went 2 for 2 with two singles, a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored. McGlothin singled twice, walked twice and scored twice.

Reinartz and Young each had a hit and an RBI. Medina reached three times on a single and two walks. Campbell and Ferverda each had an RBI.

Rossville pitchers walked nine and also hit four batters, and Rossville’s defense also committed four errors. In contrast, Rochester pitchers walked just one.

The Hornets got to Ferverda for two runs in the bottom of the first, and Rochester trailed 2-1.

The Zebras replied with six runs in the top of the second to take a 7-2 lead, and Paulik made his varsity mound debut in the bottom of the second.

He allowed two hits and a walk and hit a batter over his four innings, but he allowed no runs, and Rochester added two runs in the third, one in the fourth and two more in the fifth.

Good said he made the pitching change because Ferverda had been dealing with some arm soreness.

“Ferv started the game, but … just didn’t think he was as strong as normal, so we decided to go with Paulik,” Good said. “And he shut them down the rest of the way.”

Semifinal: Rochester 12, Rossville 2 (5 innings)

Rochester 162 12 – 12 9 0

Rossville 200 00 – 2 5 4

WP – Carson Paulik (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 5 K)

LP – Darnell (1 ⅔ IP, 3 H, 7 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 HBP, 0 K)

2B – Carson Paulik (RHS), Abbott (RV)

Final: Rochester 6, Peru 2

Peru 000 001 1 – 2 8 1

Rochester 010 311 X – 6 8 2

WP – Aaron Huffman (4 ⅓ IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)

LP – Potts (4 ⅔ IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)

2B – Reis Bellar (PERU), Jake Seuferer (RHS)

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