Fayetteville-Perry boys tee off on Ripley for first win –
By Wade Linville –
The Fayetteville-Perry Rockets racked up 12 runs in the first inning en route to a 21-0 victory over the visiting Ripley-Union-Lewis-Huntington Blue Jays on March 29.
The Rockets entered Wednesday’s Southern Hills Athletic Conference match-up after falling to the Amelia Barons in both games of a double-header on March 25 and scrimmaging opponents from higher division schools during the preseason, while the game at Fayetteville marked the first of the season for the Blue Jays, a team that did not get in a scrimmage during the preseason.
After losing some key players to graduation from last year’s team, the Blue Jays are struggling with inexperience at the varsity level in what is a rebuilding season for the RULH High School baseball program.
This year’s Rockets are relying on a mix of experienced players and young talent as they continue their quest for an SHAC Division II title.
“Overall, I think they did well,” Fayetteville head baseball coach Tim Carlier said of his Rockets’ performance on Wednesday. “Right from the beginning we were focused. We played some scrimmages against some Division I schools, and the big thing is if we make one mistake they’re going to make you pay for it.”
“I was happy to see some of our young guys step up for the occasion today,” Carlier added.
Senior Tay Call started at the mound for the Rockets, striking out three straight batters in the top of the first inning.
Starting at the mound for the Jays was junior Isaac Garlejo.
The Rockets were quick to take advantage of the inexperience at the mound for the Jays, with lead-off batter Tyler Kingus (senior) swinging for a single to start off the bottom of the first.
After Fayetteville junior Zak Smyth grounded out but advance Kingus, it was junior Clay Davis cranking out a run-scoring single to give the Rockets an early 1-0 lead.
Davis later stole his way to second, then third, and was able to score off a passed ball to expand the Rocket lead to 2-0.
Call and Rocket senior Austin Brockman each reached base on walks, and Call would later score off another passed ball by the Jays to lift the Rockets to a 3-0 advantage.
Fayetteville junior Luke Wiederhold reached first off a dropped fly ball in center field, bringing home Brockman to leave the Jays trailing by four runs.
Taking advantage of some struggles at the mound, Wiederhold made his way around to third base and was able to score off a missed throw to junior third base from Ripley’s freshman catcher Joey Boone to third baseman Derick Jones, lifting the Rockets to a 5-0 lead.
Trailing by five in the bottom of the first inning, Ripley freshman Tyler McGuffey came in to replace Garlejo at the mound.
Fayetteville freshman Dakota Fehring kept the first inning alive with a two out single, and later scored off a passed ball to up the Rocket lead to 6-0.
Struggles in the field continued for the Jays, and after being hit by a pitch it was Fayetteville sophomore Evan Deisch scoring off a passed ball to widen the margin to 7-0.
Before the first inning reached an end, Ripley would already put their third pitcher of the day at the mound as junior Brian Dunn came in to pitch for McGuffey.
A run-scoring single by Davis left the Jays trailing 8-0, then it was Call cranking out a run-scoring single to boost the Rocket lead to 9-0.
Brockman hammered out a run-scoring single to left-center, followed by a run-scoring double to left-center by Wiederhold.
The Rockets took a 12-0 lead as Brockman was able to reach home off a Ripley error.
The first inning finally came to a close as Dunn was able to strike out Fehring to end the side.
Call was able to hold the Jays run-less while returning to the mound in the top of the second.
Call then doubled to bring home the only Rocket run in the bottom of the second, and with two innings in the books it was Fayetteville leading 13-0.
Fehring replaced Call at the mound in the top of the third, performing well to hold the Jays run-less with a forced ground-out and two strikeouts.
The Rockets went on to score eight more runs in the two innings that followed to up their lead to 21 runs in a bout that would end by mercy rule after four-and-a-half innings.
Call earned the victory at the mound.
Davis swung for three singles in five at-bats as one of the Rockets top hitters in Wednesday’s game.
Kingus batted two-for-three with a single, double, and a walk. He would score three times.
Call went two-for-four at the bat with a single, double, and a walk.
Wiederhold batted two-for-three in the Rocket win with a double in the first inning and a single in the fourth inning.
The Rocket pitching didn’t give up a single hit in a game that saw only two Ripley runners reach first base.