OTTAWA — Despite showing some rust in its season opener against Ottawa on Monday, the Rochelle Hub varsity baseball team found some positives as the boys prepare to move forward.
The Hubs strung together a four-run fourth inning, but three errors and a tough afternoon on the mound proved too much to overcome in Rochelle’s 20-5 loss to the Pirates. Ottawa held a brief 2-0 lead early before breaking the game open with back-to-back seven-run frames. Rochelle will host Ottawa for Game 2 of the Interstate 8 series Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.
“We haven’t had much time to practice and I thought that showed today,” head coach Jarrod Reynolds said. “I think we’ll be fine. We just got all of our guys back so we’re a little rusty.”
Senior Oscar Linares started the opener for the Hubs, recording two strikeouts in one and two-thirds innings. Ottawa took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, when Luke Cushing delivered a two-out, two-run double to center. The Pirates rallied for seven runs in the second inning, which included an RBI groundout, a run scored on a hit-by-pitch, a two-run single from Cushing and a two-run triple to right from Adam Weitzel. Cushing then came around on a passed ball.
Trailing 9-0, Rochelle (0-1) scored its first run of the season in the third inning, when senior Evan Meyers doubled to center and scored on a passed ball. But the Pirates responded with seven runs in the bottom half of the inning. Levi Sholders slapped a two-run double to right-center and scored twice on a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly. Leading 13-1, Ottawa extended its lead on Anthony Cooper’s two-run triple to left field and Juan Zytnowski’s infield single.
Rochelle showed some life in the fourth inning, where junior Andy Buskohl led off with a single before scoring on an RBI single from junior Eric Briseno. Junior Braden Alfano scored on a passed ball after doubling earlier in the frame, while junior Josh Lloyd came off the bench to walk and eventually score on a passed ball. Ottawa closed the win out with a four-run bottom.
“I thought we made solid contact with two strikes, which I like to see,” Reynolds said. “We made more contact as the game went on and a four-run inning is always nice to have. When we look at our positives from this game, I’d say our at-bats in the fourth inning were positives.”