Whether it was the delayed start or the chilliness in the air, both the 10U Red Sox and Falcons started the game a little cold. But once the game was in full swing it was a different story and the Red Sox ran to a big 21-3 victory May 8 at 4H Wrigley Field.
Because of the absence of an umpire the game started nearly 30 minutes later than scheduled and cut the game short with only three innings of play. That didn't hamper the players spirits or keep them from giving all they had when out on the field.
"It was good for us to get off on the right foot this game," Red Sox coach John Haynes said. "We've been struggling to find solid pitching, but we really got our bats going today and that helped us to the victory.
The Red Sox weren't the only ones struggling to find solid pitching. Falcons pitcher Tyler O'Dell showed signs of a good hurler, but struggled with his control over the course of the inning. Red Sox lead-off man Eddie Wilson walked, took the next two bases on wild pitches then stole home for the first run of the game. The next batter, Langston Bush, almost pulled off the same things but was called out when trying to steal home. Jacob Piekalkiewic was called out during the next at-bat, but when things were looking up for the Falcons the next seven batters reached base, scoring seven runs and ending the inning.
Nick Haynes took the mound for the Red Sox in the bottom of the first inning and started on the same path as O'Dell, walking the first two batters, one of which, Adam Auer, scored the Falcons' first run. Haynes seemed to find his groove at that point, striking out Zach Alexander and getting Connor Harma to ground out to second base. The Falcons managed just the one run before the Red Sox bats came up again in the second inning.
"We're getting the hang of hitting and maybe if we get even better we'll have a good chance at winning our next games," Falcons catcher Erik Howland said.
The Falcons will also need to get a handle on their pitching and defensive skills if they want to stop their opponents from scoring runs. Adam Auer replaced O'Dell on the mound in the second inning, but didn't fare much better than his predecessor. After four consecutive walks and one run scored, the bases were loaded with no outs for Logan Applegate, who proceeded to knock a two-run double bringing the score to 10-1 in favor of the Sox.
When it rains, it pours and the Red Sox kept up the pressure with a constant flow of base runners until the seven-run rule ended the Sox half of the inning.
Haynes walked the first four Falcon batters in the bottom of the second, earning him a position change as Langston Bush came on in relief. After walking in a run to make the score 14-3, Bush found his groove and struck out two batters and forced the third to ground out.
"The win felt really great, mostly because we played well together and our pitching was really good during the last couple innings," Jacob Piekalkiewic said.
The third and what would be the final inning proved to bring more of the same from the Red Sox batters as the Falcons tested a third pitcher, Geoff Peard, on the mound. Peard showed flashes of control, striking out two batters, but in the end the Red Sox tallied another seven-run inning before ending the game striking out the Falcons' side in the bottom of the third.