Baseball: Hubs split Senior Day doubleheader against Dixon

The Rochelle Hub varsity baseball team recognized its senior class before Saturday’s doubleheader against the Dixon Dukes. Above from left to right are Breydan Lowery, Aidan Rodriguez, Colton O’Rorke, Bradley Cooney, Garrett Gensler, Alex Burnette, Dylan Gapski, Noah Lara and manager Chloe Treadway. (Photo by Russell Hodges)

Nine seniors honored as Rochelle halves two games with Dukes

ROCHELLE — The Rochelle Hub varsity baseball team celebrated Senior Day with a nonconference doubleheader against the Dixon Dukes on Saturday afternoon. Rochelle split the two games, shutting out Dixon 10-0 in the opener before falling to the Dukes 12-4 in the finale. 

Eight seniors including Breydan Lowery, Aidan Rodriguez, Colton O’Rorke, Bradley Cooney, Garrett Gensler, Alex Burnette, Dylan Gapski and Noah Lara as well as team manager Chloe Treadway were recognized in a pregame ceremony during the morning. The Hubs (10-17, 4-10 Interstate 8) will host DeKalb on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. before teeing off the IHSA 3A Rochelle Regional on Monday, May 22 with a quarterfinal matchup against Sterling.

“We’ve had a really nice year as far as our effort and enthusiasm and our ability to bounce back when things haven’t gone our way,” head coach Jarrod Reynolds said. “The seniors have improved every week and they’ve been a really fun group to be around. They’ve worked really hard and they’ve helped us be a lot more competitive this year. We have a shot to win against DeKalb and I think we have a regional that’s winnable if we can play some good baseball.”

Game 1

The Hubs took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, scoring after Cooney’s two-run double to left-center and Gensler’s RBI single through the middle two batters later. Rodriguez drew a lead-off walk and scored on an error in the bottom of the second inning to extend his team’s advantage. Cooney belted a lead-off double and crossed home plate on a one-out RBI single from freshman Brode Metzger in the bottom of the third inning to make the score 5-0.

Rochelle avoided trouble throughout the game, stranding six Dixon baserunners over the first three frames before escaping a bases-loaded situation in the top of the fourth inning. The Dukes also left two runners on during the top of the fifth inning and ended the game with 11 runners left on base. The Hubs held a 9-0 lead after the bottom of the fourth inning, where Cooney’s third double of the game drove two runs home and Burnette followed with a two-run single.

Rodriguez reached on an error and scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning for the 10th and final run of the game. Junior Dylan Whaley started on the mound and tossed all five frames for the Hubs, striking out five batters and limiting the Dukes to two hits in the win. Cooney finished 3-for-3 with four RBIs to lead the Rochelle offense in the opening game.

Game 2

Dixon held a 1-0 lead entering the bottom of the second inning, where the Hubs evened the score on an RBI single from junior Braden Behrens. The Dukes exploded for eight runs on seven singles, three walks and one hit batter in the top of the third inning, surging ahead 9-1 before tallying one run on a single and an error in the top of the fifth inning. Burnette’s two-run double to right-center capped off a three-run rally from the Hubs in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Rochelle trailed 10-4 entering the top of the seventh inning, where Dixon sealed its win with two runs on three singles, one walk and one error. Behrens went 2-for-3 with two singles for the Hubs, while sophomore Brandyn Metzger doubled and struck out four batters in five innings of relief on the mound.