MARSHALL - For the first three innings of Saturday's Corn Belt League game against the Milroy Yankees, the Marshall A's looked lost.
On offense, Marshall had just two hits off of Milroy starting pitcher Josh Hadley, leaving runners at second base in both the first and second innings. On the mound, A's starter Zach Olson gave up leadoff singles in the first and second innings, and gave up a first-inning run on a bases-loaded walk. In the second, Hadley scored another run for the Yankees on a infielder grounder by Micah Gronli.
"They hit me pretty well," Olson said. "I was wild early on."
Photo by Joe Brown
Marshall first baseman Cody Curry crosses home plate after an RBI single by Zach Olson in the fourth inning of Saturday’s Corn Belt League game against the Milroy Yankees at Legion Field. The A’s scored four runs in the fourth, helping Marshall to a 14-4 victory.
But starting in the fourth inning, Olson relaxed, the bats came around, and the A's left Milroy in their dust.
Sparked by a four-run swing by its No. 7, 8 and 9 hitters, Marshall clinched the momentum and kept it going on the way to a 14-4 victory in eight innings at Legion Field.
Olson, the A's No. 7 hitter, helped his own cause with a two-run single, finishing the night 3-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
"We were seeing the ball well (Saturday)," Olson said. "Sean (Culhane, Marshall's manager) told us, 'Come prepared.' We started a little slow, but it was fun. We came to play (Saturday)."
Following Olson's two-run knock, Taylor Rignell belted an RBI single to right field, and Tanner Neale brought Olson home on a sacrifice bunt.
After just two hits in the first three innings, the A's went off for 15 hits in the final five innings.
"Early on, we didn't show up and play right away," Culhane said. "I wasn't real impressed with how we started (Saturday's) game.
"We finished it well, but we can't allow teams to score right away."
Down 4-2 in the fifth, Matt Bauer helped the Yankees close the gap, drilling a two-out double. Reaching third on a wild pitch, Bauer crossed home plate on an RBI single by Eric Dolan. Bauer finished with two of Milroy's nine hits, both doubles.
"I found out that if you try to pitch around Matt Bauer, if you leave it a little bit up, he's going to hit it to right-center," Olson said. "Then their catcher (Justin Schlemmer) right behind him can crush it, too. They have great hitters, one through nine, and it's tough to mentally prepare for that."
It didn't take long for the A's to strike back with consecutive one-out hits by Jordon Kontz and Tyler Flattum in the bottom of the fifth. Flattum, who went 4-for-5 with two RBIs, brought Kontz home with his double.
"They seemed to answer anything we got at them after we got that initial lead," said Milroy manager Ryan Rohlik.
Down 5-4, the Yankees had a golden opportunity to tie the game up in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with just one out after Bauer coaxed a walk. But relief pitcher Ben Korger got Schlemmer and Dolan to pop out to center to end the threat and get Marshall out of the bases-loaded jam.
Missed opportunities were a theme for Milroy on Saturday, as the team left nine runners on base, compared to five for Marshall.
"They did a good job of getting clutch hits and getting guys across the plate," Rohlik said, "and we weren't able to do that."
Rohlik came in to relieve Hadley in the seventh, and almost immediately, the A's used small ball to make things frantic for the Yankees. Chace Pollock, Kontz and Flattum, Marshall's No. 2, 3 and 4 hitters, each reached base on bunts. Tacking on five hits and five runs in the seventh, the A's went up 10-3.
"You don't expect your third or fourth hitter to bunt," Olson said. "I'm sitting on the bench thinking, 'What the heck are we doing?' But it got the job done to get five runs in the inning."
Up 10-4, the A's ended the game early with a four-run eighth inning, finished off with a sacrifice fly by Rignell to put the 10-run rule in place.
After a slow start to its Corn Belt League schedule, Marshall has been able to find its groove in the league, moving to 3-2 in league play (17-5 overall).
"Now, we're going to start seeing teams the second time through and we know what everyone's got now," Culhane said. "You just have to go from there."
The A's stay at home for their next game, facing Granite Falls on Friday. The Yankees (7-2 Corn Belt, 9-3 overall) are slated to face Tracy on Saturday, and return to Corn Belt League play Sunday at Sacred Heart.
Milroy110 010 01-4 9 2
Marshall000 410 54-14 17 1
MIL-Josh Hadley, Ryan Rohlik (7), Chris Eichten (7); MAR-Zach Olson, Ben Korger (7). WP-Olson. LP-Hadley. 2B: MIL-Matt Bauer 2; MAR-Jordon Kontz, Tyler Flattum. LOB: MIL-9; MAR-5.