Ram Joe Kelley hits a home run in the 15th inning to move the Rams ahead 8-6 in the top of the inning. ~ Photo by "Papa" Razzi Sports Photography
ROCKFORD – The Rams were looking at a very important baseball game, Wednesday, May 22. It was actually a game that started two days earlier on Monday, May 20, and was originally part of a double header. On May 20, the Rams had earned a 4-1 victory in the first game and had worked to a 6-6 tie in the 12th inning when the game was called due to darkness and scheduled to pick back up on Wednesday. It was a key game in deciding the OK Red Conference Champion. If the Rams claimed the “W” they would also clinch the Conference title.
It took until the 15th inning before Rockford could push some runs across the plate and earn the victory. In the top of the inning, Brendan Schueller hit a ball to the Caledonia shortstop and reached on an error. Then, with two outs and Schueller on, Joe Kelley came up to the plate and hit a home run on a 3-1 pitch to right field to move the score to 8-6. The homer was Kelley’s 10th for the year. Caledonia had the hammer in the game but faced Ram hurler Zach Marshall caused a ground out and then fanned the next two Caledonia batters to shut down the Scots and earn the 8-6 win and clinch the OK Red Championship.
The Rams were 16-for-65 for the game, with Kelley going 4-for-8 with 2 RBI and the home run and Cody Sterkenburg going 5-for-8 (2B) with 1 RBI. Grant Martin was 2-for-7 (3B) with 2 RBI, and Schueller was also 2-for-7. Also picking up a hit each were Owen Cairns, Zach Schamp, and Kellen Mayle. Three pitchers shared duties on the mound for the marathon game, with Isaac Toole going the first six innings, giving up five runs on five hits and six walks, while striking out five. Caleb Englesman went six innings giving up one run on one hit and three walks, while striking out six. Marshall pitched the final three innings giving up no runs on one hit and one walk, while striking out seven.
The first game of the twin bill, which was a 4-1 victory, found the Rams plating all four runs in the first inning. Schamp and Kelley both walked to start the Rams’ offense in the inning. Luke McLean smashed a single to left field and Schamp and Kelley both scored to move the score to 2-0. Alex Miller hit a single to left and McLean scored on the throw to move the score to 3-0. The Rams weren’t finished, with Marshall and Isaac Toole singling to move Miller around the basepath and scoring to move the Rams to a 4-0 lead.
The Rams were 6-for-26 at the plate, with six Rams notching a hit – Schamp, McLean, Miller, Marshall, Tool and Englesman. McLean tallied Two RBI, while Miller and Toole registered one apiece. Grant Marin earned the win going all seven innings ang giving up only one run on three hits and no walks, while striking out six.
Joe Kelley gets congratulated as he rounds third from head coach Matt Vriesenga after his game-winning home run. ~ Photo by "Papa" Razzi Sports Photography
The Rams congratulate Joe Kelley after he hits his home run. ~ Photo by "Papa" Razzi Sports Photography
Brendan Schueller watches the ball as he is running the basepath. ~Photo by "Papa" Razzi Sports Photography
Kellen Mayle waits at home plate to greet Joe Kelley after he hits his home run. ~ Photo by "Papa" Razzi Sports Photography
Kellen Mayle at the plate for the Rams. ~ Photo by "Papa" Razzi Sports Photography
Jake Engelkes catches a throw at first. ~ "Papa" Razzi Sports Photography
Zach Marshall on the mound for the Rams. ~ Photo by "Papa" Razzi Sports Photography