Early runs carry Florence
By RON DEUTER
FLORENCE, Wis. – Florence got to Elcho pitcher Jaeger Adams early.
It was a good thing.
A four-run first-inning gave the Bobcats just enough to open their delayed baseball season with a 4-2 victory over the Hornets Tuesday evening in Northern Lakes Conference baseball at Red Johnson Field.
Adams, settling in after the first, only allowed one more Florence hit the rest of the way, fanning a total of 13 in a complete-game effort.
“That kid was terrific,” said Bobcats assistant coach Mike “Irish Mickey” Doyle, filling in for head coach Dave LaPoint who was under the weather. “The kid was on fire. We had one big inning.”
Tyler Valine ignited Florence’s first-inning rally when he dropped to bunt and wound up on third after a throwing error to first. Adams, struggling with his control early, hit and walked the next two batters. Marshall Kelley made Adams pay with a sharp single to center to score the first runs.
Following a single by Tyler Beck, Bradley Erickson dropped a double inside the right field line to score another pair.
But that was it for the Florence offense, as Adams mastered command of his two-strike curve.
Fortunately for the Bobcats, pitcher Louie Garcia was up to the challenge. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, and only gave up one earned run while striking out six.
“Louie did a good job pitching,” Doyle said. “We also played some defense which saved us a couple times. Clutch hits by Marshall Kelley and Bradley Erickson too.”
With two on and one out, the Bobcats turned a double-play to end a third inning threat.
Walks allowed Elcho’s lead-off hitters to reach base in each the fourth, fifth and sixth, but Garcia was able to limit the damage each time.
Cory Ruhland had a RBI single to left in Elcho’s fourth. Another run scored in the sixth when a rundown between first and second allowed BJ McKinney to sneak home from third.
The Hornets loaded the bases on Garcia with two out in the seventh, but Valine came on to record the save, forcing a grounder to short to end the game.
“We’re young, so inexperienced, so this was a huge win for the kids, really,” Doyle said. “I’m glad they got a win. It’s good for our confidence.”
The Bobcats (1-0, 1,-0) play at Laona/Wabeno Thursday.
Elcho000 101 0 – 2
Florence400 000 X – 4