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  • Val T.

Young’s walk-off single, Paulik’s 13 Ks help Rochester edge Maconaquah


Sports Editor, RTC

Gavin Young

Jake Seuferer drove Maconaquah pitcher Kaleb Shelton out of the game, and Gavin Young drove in the game-winning run with a walk-off RBI single as the Rochester baseball team edged Maconaquah 3-2 at Bob Copeland Field on May 1.

Rochester improved to 10-5 overall and 3-2 in the Three Rivers Conference. Maconaquah fell to 3-9, 1-4.

Carson Paulik keyed the win with his pitching and his hitting. On the mound he struck out a career-high 13 while pitching a three-hitter, and at the plate, he had two hits and an RBI.

“I just told them there in the bottom of the seventh, I said, ‘There’s no doubt we’re going to walk it off here. It’s just a matter of who and when,’” Rochester coach Cory Good said. “Jake had a great hit down the line there, and Gavin’s been up in that situation and came through there for us on his third time. … He’s put in the work, and he deserved that one today.”

Paulik started the bottom of the seventh with a single. Tanner Reinartz grounded into a forceout on Shelton’s 119th pitch.

The IHSAA allows pitchers to throw a maximum of 120 pitches in a game – pitchers may exceed that total in order to complete the plate appearance of the hitter against whom they threw the 120th pitch – so Seuferer knew that Shelton would have to leave after facing him. And on his 122nd pitch, Seuferer sizzled a grounder just inside the third baseline to move Reinartz to third.

Shelton had struck Seuferer out with two men on base in his previous at-bat in the fifth.

“I had to regroup, next play, let go of the past,” Seuferer said of his mindset. “I knew this was a new AB. His pitch limit went out too, so that was his last batter. … With Tanner on first, I knew I just had to do a job, move Tanner over and give Gavin a shot.

“And that’s what happened. Ripped a ball down the third baseline, Tanner got to third, Gavin hit him in. Just trying to be a team player.”

Maconaquah coach Eric Isenburg then replaced Shelton with Deven Mitchell. Young then lined a single over Devon Murry’s head at third base to score Reinartz to end the game. The Zebra dugout along the first baseline emptied and mobbed Young to congratulate him.

Coincidentally, Young’s walk-off hit came approximately five minutes after Aubrey Wilson had a walk-off RBI double to lead the Rochester softball team to a win over Maconaquah at Fansler Field two miles away. The final score of that game was also 3-2.

Freshman shortstop Marcell Sims had all three of Maconaquah’s hits off Paulik, including a solo homer in the top of the sixth to deep left-center to give the Braves a 2-1 lead.

Rochester tied it again in the bottom half with an unearned run. Brady Beck reached second on an error on a wild throw after grounder to third. With Brant Beck batting, pinch-runner Parker Casper stole third, and when the throw from left-handed catcher Jacob Isley sailed into left field for an error, Casper hustled home to tie it.

“It was huge,” Good said of Casper’s baserunning. “He’s been in our lineup every day so far, and we wanted to give him a little break just to see some at-bats today and see from our point of view. If Ferv (Colton Ferverda) got on base, we were going to put Casper in and have him bunt there and move him over, but Brady put the ball in play and got over on the throw-away, and Parker Casper and (fellow freshman) Brady Coleman are two extremely intelligent baserunners. Love them in that situation. … He’s playing with the pitcher at second base and just being a thorn in their side. A really high baseball IQ and huge for us right there.”

Paulik then pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh.

Seuferer, a senior in his fourth season as a varsity catcher, calls the pitches. It’s a task that coaches commonly handle. With Paulik, Seuferer just tried to vary his calls to avoid falling into patterns.

“That was amazing,” Seuferer said. “I don’t like blaming umpires, but every time he’s pitched, he’s struggled with the zone, but today he did well. He was working it, striking people out, hitting spots. He was really good. He and I were really flowing together, really clicking. He just brought it today.”

Said Good of Paulik: “He was extremely efficient, just pounding the strike zone all day. … He was on it.”

Maconaquah took a 1-0 lead in the third when Sims pulled an RBI single to left.

Drew Bowers, Brady Coleman and Paulik had three straight singles to open the fifth to tie it 1-1, but Shelton responded by striking out Reinartz, Seuferer and Young to retire the side.

Rochester 3, Maconaquah 2

Maconaquah 001 001 0 – 2 3 2

Rochester 000 011 1 – 3 10 0

WP – Carson Paulik (7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 HBP, 13 K)

LP – Kaleb Shelton (6 ⅓ IP, 9 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 HBP, 8 K)

2B – Jake Seuferer (RHS)

HR – Marcell Sims (MAC)

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