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AMATEUR BASEBALL: Late-inning lift

Milroy Yankees use eighth-inning rally to top Raymond, 7-6

Photo by Sam Thiel Milroy’s Ty Kemp delivers a pitch during their game against Raymond on Friday. The Yankees defeated the Rockets 7-6.

MILROY – After spending its first few games of the season on the road, and not even in its own state, the Milroy Yankees amateur baseball team finally got to experience what it meant to play a home game.

Although it was considered an “exhibition”, the Yankees were glad to be able to be back in front of their home fans, manager Ryan Rohlik said.

“I’m happiest the most for the fans that want to watch baseball, but also the guys on our team that haven’t been able to play high school baseball, the college guys on our team that basically had their season ripped away, you want them to be able to play. We’ve had the most guys at practice we’ve ever had in my tenure here at Milroy, so that’s been fun to see,” Rohlik said. “It’s almost turned it back into ‘Hey, we get to play baseball today’ and guys are excited. And then to see a crowd is just awesome to finally be able to play in our state; it’s what everyone wants, some kind of normalcy and try and be as safe as we can and that’s what we’re doing here, just playing a game and having some fun.”

The Yankees made sure to provide their fans with a hard-fought performance, highlighted by a five-run rally to earn a 7-6 comeback victory over the Raymond Rockets on Friday night.

Trailing by four runs heading into the eighth inning, Milroy needed a spark if it was going to come away with the victory. Matt Bauer got things started with a one-out walk before Jackson Hughes reached on a bunt single. After a sacrifice from Cody Greve and an Isaac Schmitt walk loaded the bases, Aaron Mathiowetz smacked a two-run single to make it 6-4. One batter later, Eric Dolan tied things up with a two-run double of his own before the Yankees took the 7-6 lead on an Andy Schmidt RBI double. The Rockets were able to put a runner on first in the top half of the ninth, but the Yankees ended the threat with a game-ending double play to seal the comeback win.

Despite Milroy’s late-game rally, both the Yankees and Rockets struggled to find offense to start, with both sides going down in order two straight innings. The Rockets broke open the scoring in the top half of the third, though, using a one-out single, stolen base and wild pitch to get a runner in scoring position before an RBI single gave Raymond a 1-0 lead. The Yankees had a strong chance to answer in the bottom half of the frame, getting singles from Schmitt and Dylan Criquet-Danielson and a walk from Schmidt to load the bases, but Raymond escaped out of the jam with a strikeout to keep Milroy off the board.

The Rockets picked right back where it left off in the top of the fourth, getting a double, a hit batter and a wild pitch to put runners in scoring position before a sacrifice fly made it 2-0. The Yankees were quick to respond, however, using a leadoff double from Bauer and a bunt single from Brian Dolan before Greve brought in a run on a fielder’s choice to cut the deficit to 2-1. An inning later, Milroy got back-to-back singles from Criquet-Danielson and Schmidt before Derek Rasmussen connected on a base hit to tie things up at 2-2.

But Raymond kept up its efficient offensive play in the next at-bat, loading the bases with one out before a wild pitch brought in a run and a single scored two more to put the Rockets back in front at 5-2.

The Rockets later added a run in the top of the seventh to make it 6-2 before the Yankees orchestrated their comeback.

Schmidt led the way for the Yankees with a 2 for 4 day at the plate and an RBI while Eric Dolan and Mathiowetz each added a hit and two RBI and Rasmussen and Greve also had an RBI.

Ty Kemp earned the start for Milroy, going 5 1/3 innings while allowing four runs on five hits and striking out three. Bauer tossed the final 3 2/3 innings, giving up one run on five hits and struck out four.

Eric Hulterstum led the way for the Rockets with a 3 for 3 day at the plate while Isaac Call went 1 for 4 with two RBI and Eli Nelson added a pair of hits and an RBI.

Milroy will face Wabasso on Sunday at 5 p.m.

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