‘Breds rise, fall to Valparaiso in season opener

Jaci Kohn
Staff writer 

 

The ‘Breds are not off to the start they wanted. After a comeback to tie the game in the eighth inning the ‘Breds fell to the Valparaiso Crusaders 7-4 Sunday afternoon leaving the series 2-1.

“I think the guys played hard,” Racers Coach Rob McDonald said. “We did a lot of things well, we just didn’t do enough well at the right times.”

The Crusaders got the lead early scoring two runs in the first inning followed by the ‘Breds earning a run back in the bottom of the inning with Ty Stenson who doubled in to left field and scored later on Dylan Wheelers single.

After tying the game up in the eighth, Jacob Rhodes singled up the middle followed by a double from Paul Ritzheimer. Colton Speed lived up to his last name and ran both runners in after the ball bounced past the second baseman.

The ‘Breds couldn’t hold the lead as the Crusaders scoring three runs in the ninth to end the game.

“We haven’t started the season hitting on all cylinders,” McDonald said. “I like the guys effort. I think we are doing a lot of good things. We just have to execute a bit better in crucial situations.”

Starting pitcher Tim Vonder Haar threw six innings allowing six hits and four runs. Pitchers Tyler Saltsman, Bryan Babin and Will Handlin followed him with Saltsman recording the loss.

“I think our pitching was not as good as it’s going to be,” he said. “For the first time out Tim Vonder Haar threw pretty well. He made a few bad pitches but he made a lot of good pitches. (Valparaiso) is a good enough club that when we made a mistake they took advantage of it.”

The ‘Breds recorded nine hits during the game, out hitting the Crusaders by one. Rhodes paced the offense by going 3-for-4, while Stetson and Ritzheimer each added a pair of hits.

“We just couldn’t string things together,” Sophomore Pitcher Cameron Finch said. “We have to minimize the mistakes and have to get those big innings.”

The club didn’t hit as well as they can, McDonald said.

“I think today we hit better and we actually out hit them,” McDonald said. “Over the weekend we didn’t hit as well as we are capable of and as well as we are capable of.”

The ‘Breds will be back at Reagan Field Tuesday when they host Mid-Continent. The first pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.