Berrien Springs routs Dowagiac 15-3

Published 8:21 am Saturday, April 13, 2013

Dowagiac coach Bob Turner talks with his team between innings Friday night. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

Dowagiac coach Bob Turner talks with his team between innings Friday night. (Leader photo/KELLY SWEENEY)

Friday’s frigid weather conditions didn’t seem to bother the Berrien Springs baseball team.

A strong pitching performance by Kyle Rago and 12 hits by the Shamrocks powered them to a 15-3 Wolverine Conference West Division victory in six innings over host Dowagiac at Rotary Park. Berrien Springs led, 5-4 in the second game of the scheduled doubleheader when darkness suspended play.

Rago was masterful in his 4 2/3 innings of work. The junior right-hander struck out nine Chieftains on a steady diet of fastballs and changeups.

“He threw almost all fastballs and changeups today,” Berrien Spring coach John Donley said. “I think he threw maybe five curveballs the whole game. He did a great job.”

Said Dowagiac coach Bob Turner: “(Rago) wasn’t having any trouble with the mound and we were watching balls go right down the middle.”

Turner used three pitchers in the game against the Shamrocks, and all three struggled to find the strike zone.

“We struggled pitching,” Turner added. “We used up all of our pitches on balls…full count here, full count there. We were not getting in good situations. We were shuffling our lineup around and wondering who we were going to bring in next.”

Starter Nate Lindsey surrendered six runs and walked four batters in his two innings of work to absorb the loss. Dean Klann was also touched for six runs, although only one was earned, before Matt Smith yielded three earned runs in the final frame.

Eight of the nine Berrien Springs position players collected at least one hit. Catcher Matt Rudlaff had two hits and four RBI to lead the charge, while Chris Rodgers, Anderson Burton and Nate Dennis each accounted for a pair of safeties.

“I thought our kids battled, up and down the lineup,” Donley said.

Cal Cox was the lone bright spot in the Chieftains’ offense. Cox swatted a solo home run in the first inning and collected a two-run single in the fifth.

Senior Brett Scanlon ignited a productive first inning in the suspended second game, slamming a three-run homer to left field that staked Dowagiac to a 3-1 lead.

Scanlon was touched for four runs after two were out in the second inning on a two-run double by Rodgers and a two-run single by Everett Shembarger.

A two-out single by Cox plated teammate Brody Froehlich in the bottom of the second inning to make it, 5-4, but home plate umpire Tom Russom suspended play following the frame due to darkness.

“We started hitting in the second game, and Cal had a good first game,” Turner said. “There were a couple of plays we should have made. We have some things to work on, and we’ll keep working.”


 First game

Berrien Springs 246 003 – 15 13 0

Dowagiac 100 020 – 3 4 3

Kyle Rago (W), Everette Shembarger (5) and Matt Rudlaff; Nate Lindsey (L), Dean Klann (3), Matt Smith (5) and Brett Scanlon, Joey Pasternak (5)

Berrien Springs hits: Chris Rodgers 2, Shembarger, Rago, Rudlaff 2, Jake Wold, Anderson Burton 2, Nate Dennis 2 (2B), Carl Steinhauser

Dowagiac hits: Klann, Cal Cox 2 (HR)

Dowagiac record: 0-2, 0-1 West