For The Independent
Everything seemed to be going right for Russell at the plate.
Literally, most everything went “right."
The Red Devil hitters perpetually peppered the right side of the diamond with base hit after base hit against district rival Raceland on Monday night on their way to 17-3 win. Between the third and fourth innings alone, the Red Devils had five RBI singles to the first-base side of home plate.
The two 63rd District teams will face off again this evening at Russell at 5:30. It will be the third matchup this season — Raceland winning the first game 3-0.
“We have several young guys in the lineup and they are the ones eating up right field,” Russell coach Mike Martino said. “They are learning the game and selecting pitches better. And when they get down in the count they are not afraid to execute and go the other way.”
Tate Trimble, Garion Robinson, Elijah Hamilton, Troy Huffine and J.D. Pridemore all accounted for singles to right field that plated runners.
While it was all right for the offense, the Red Devils looked left for pitching in the form of Alex Jones, and the junior did his job allowing just three runs, only one of which was earned, in his six innings of work.
“Jonesy was pretty on top of his game,” Martino said. “Not to take anything away from Raceland, but we gave them those runs. (Jones) was cruising and we misplayed the ball a couple of times.”
While Russell (8-10) contained its errors to just one inning, Raceland struggled to make routine plays most of the night.
In all, the Rams (11-7) committed seven errors, including four in the sixth inning.
“We just didn’t play very well today,” Raceland coach Randy Vanderhoof said. “We have been playing a lot better baseball than we showed today.”
It wasn’t just the fielders who had an off night either. The Ram pitchers really struggled to find the strike zone. Raceland used five pitchers, who combined to issue 13 free passes to go along with a hit batsman.
“We had a really hard time with throwing consistent strikes tonight,” Vanderhoof said. “We were behind in the count a lot, and Russell did a good job at the plate.”
Even when Raceland did have success it was short-lived. After cutting the deficit to 8-3 in the bottom of the fourth, the Rams immediately gave up three runs in the top of the fifth thanks to five walks and two errors.
Vanderhoof hopes the quick turnaround will not allow his team to dwell on the loss.
“I hope, but we will see,” he said. “Hopefully we will be resilient, and just come out and play a better baseball game.”
Huffine and Pridemore each recorded three hits for Russell.
Tyler Morris was 1-for-2 with an RBI single for Raceland.
RUSSELL 023 336 — 17 11 2
RACELAND 000 300 — 3 3 7
Jones and Cathey; Sammons, Snyder (4), Adams (4), Moore (5), Davidson (6) and Tolliver, Snyder (5). W—Jones. L—Sammons.