Sluggers take series opener against Hutch
The Rose Hill Sluggers have been a tough opponent in the Sunflower Collegiate League, and that reputation still stands after Tuesday’s 7-2 victory over the Hutchinson Monarchs at Rose Hill High School.
Rose Hill started off strong in the first inning and led the remainder of the game, earning a victory in Game 1 of the four-game series.
The win put Rose Hill as No. 2 in the league standings behind only the Cheney DiamondDawgs.
“Our pitchers did really well,” Rose Hill head coach Jake Jones said. “Our starter Brian Skillman did really well. Grant Adler came in after that and did really well too which was filling out the zone, and it was kind of a tough day to pitch too [with] the wind blowing really hard. We have a really small field too. So it was really good to see them do that and (start) the series having to only use two pitchers.”
Rose Hill second baseman Mason Hartman hit a single and stole second and third base, later coming around to score to put the Sluggers up 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Hutchinson tied the game at the top of the second with a home run from second baseman Drew Reetz.
Rose Hill plated another run in the bottom of the third when pitcher Jackson Dietel hit an RBI single that plated Hartman and made the home squad’s advantage 2-1. Rose Hill scored again at the bottom of the fourth inning with a home run from Wichita State’s Garett Kocis for a 3-1 lead, but Hutch’s Reetz hit another home run in the top of the fifth.
Rose Hill made it tough again for Hutchinson though with another home run from Gibson at the bottom of the fifth. Catcher Ross Cadena then hit the second home run of the inning for Rose Hill.
Dietel hit a triple in the sixth inning and scored the game’s final run on a double to left field by Zach Baxley (SW Oklahoma State) hit a double to left field.
Hartman went 2-for-3 and Hunter Gibson went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a home run. Baxley was once again impressive, finishing 3-for-4 to push his batting average up to .533 on the year, which is the second-best mark in the league.
Skillman struck out six over five innings to pick up the win. Adler came in and pitched four scoreless innings to pick up the close it out.
Rose Hill will play their second game of the series against Hutchinson at home at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Dietel, who is 1-0 with a win over Great Bend last week, will pitch Game 2 for Rose Hill.
“We are very confident in him,” Jones said. “It’s going to be the same kind of weather too as far as the wind, so it will be kind of a similar game.”
The rest of the series will follow playing at Hutchinson on Thursday and Friday.
“It’s going to be a good series the whole tournament,” Dietel said. “They are a really, really, really good team so we have all the respect in the world for them, so we just need to keep coming like we are and be ready to play.”