Rangers open with sweep of RV

Published 10:03 pm Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cassopolis’ Shauntell Gilliam (17) and Dwayne Morgan (with ball) try to run down a River Valley runner Tuesday afternoon. The Rangers swept the Mustangs in their season opener. (Cassopolis Vigilant Photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

River Valley mistakes helped the Cassopolis baseball team open its season Tuesday with a doubleheader sweep over the Mustangs.

The Rangers rolled in the opener, 17-2, and posted a 4-1 win in game two. Game two was called after River Valley batted in the top of the sixth inning because of darkness.

The Mustangs committed 13 errors, which led to 18 unearned runs for the Rangers.

Cassopolis coach Matt Brawley saw his team total only three errors and get solid pitching in the doubleheader.

“I was pretty pleased,” said Brawley. “Our pitchers threw strikes. I can’t imagine that we walked many people. I thought we hit the ball well and executed bunts when we had to. We didn’t make many errors either. I was very proud of our guys. We didn’t beat ourselves like we have in the past.”

The day didn’t start out well for Cassopolis as River Valley scored two unearned runs in the first inning of game one.

But that lead didn’t last for long as the Mustangs started to self destruct. The Rangers scored 14 runs-all unearned-in the bottom of the first. River Valley committed eight errors in that inning. Twenty players came to the plate for Cassopolis in an inning that took 45 minutes to play. Dwayne Morgan had two hits, walked and drove in two runs in the first for the Rangers. Tyler Butrick added a two-run single for the hosts.

Cassopolis added two more runs in the second as Connor Wright and Jessie Richie each collected RBI singles.

The Rangers added an unearned run in the third as Lance Sheteron’s sacrifice fly gave Cassopolis a mercy-rule win.

Ranger pitchers Kevin Hatcher and Sheteron combined to allow no hits, strike out three and walk three.

“Sheteron I was very pleased with,” Brawley said. “He’s a freshman and you’re always leary on how a freshman is going to respond. Against his first batter he threw four straight balls. He then responded well.”

Cassopolis had to work much harder to pick up a win in game two as a pitcher’s dual developed between Cassopolis’ Taylor Baker and River Valley’s Dan Crowel.

Sheteron’s RBI single for the Rangers tied the game at one in the bottom of the first inning. There wouldn’t be any more scoring until the fifth when the Rangers scored three runs with only one being earned. Cassopolis put down three nice bunts during the inning. Richie’s bunt single drove in a run and Derek Tucker and Morgan laid down sacrifice bunts. An error on Tucker’s bunt produced a run.

Cassopolis pitchers Taylor Baker and J.J. Smith combined to allow four hits and strike out nine. Smith relieved Baker in the fifth inning after Baker walked a batter to start the inning.

“Pitch count,” Brawley said about why he took out Baker. “Everyone is at 50 right now. When you get to 50 you’re done. Actually, we let Baker go to 56.”

The hard fought win in game two was much more satisfying for Brawley.

“The first game is what it is,” the Rangers coach said. “The second game was a close ball game. Their pitcher threw well and we had to execute at the end to win the ball game. We work (on bunting) quite a bit.”

At Cassopolis

First game

River Valley 200 — 2 0 11

Cassopolis (14)21 — 17 8 2

Ethan Zeiger (L, 0-1), Gabe Zeiger (1), Jimmy Weiss (1) and Jason German; Kevin Hatcher (W, 1-0), Lance Sheteron (3) and Jeremiah Hertsell

2B: Dwayne Morgan (C), Hatcher (C)

Second game

River Valley 100 000 — 1 4 2

Cassopolis 100 03x — 4  5 1

Dan Crowel (L, 0-1), Jason German (5) and Jimmy Weiss; Taylor Baker, J.J. Smith (5-W, 1-0) and Jeremiah Hertsell

Varsity records

River Valley 0-2, Cassopolis 2-0