Eagles pull out the big sticks in ripping Riesel
The Eagles came back to take games two and three on Saturday against the Riesel Indians in a bi-district series to advance in the Class A state baseball playoffs.
Milano lost Friday night 17- 12 at Bert Chrisman Field, but bounced back Saturday to take game two 10-4 and game three 10-9.
They now face the No. 8 Fayetteville Lions (19-4) this weekend in the area round of the post-season.
Fayetteville, who was unbeaten in District 27A, had a bye in the first round.
The series will begin at 7 p.m. Friday in Thorndale. Games two (and three if necessary) will be played starting at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in LaGrange at the old high school field.
Milano’s Jayce Rasberry knew the series would be a dog fight.
“ We obviously have to give credit to Riesel–both their kids and coaches. They are a very talented ball club and very well coached,” the coach said. “All 21 innings were battles by both sides, and speaking on our behalf we were never comfortable with any lead during the series. We knew with the way they are able to hit the baseball they were going to get guys on and bring them around.” And that they did.
Milano took a 10-6 lead into the seventh inning of the deciding game, but the Indians weren’t going down without a fight. They put up four runs on four hits before making two outs to inch the game to 10-9.
Eagles starter Toby Sanders had to buckle down after a mound visit from Rasberry. The sophomore hit the next batter, loading the bases and bringing Riesel’s Charlie Wallace to the plate.
The Indian freshman was down 0-2 in the count before Sanders threw two straight balls. With the playoffs on the line, Sanders got Wallace looking and sent the Eagles into the next round.
Sanders sat down 13 batters.
“During our mound visit I just looked our kids in the eyes and told them that we have come too far and overcome too much adversity to look back,” Rasberry said. “I told Toby to dig down and throw the best pitch he had and our defense would do the rest.”
Four Milano players had a multi- hit game, led by John Jentsch going three for four with a double.
Senior Jordan Hinistroza pitched a complete game in the first game on Saturday afternoon, striking out 10 Indians to help the Eagles snag that 10-4 win that kept them from elimination.
“I told him I needed a strong seven inning game and to hold nothing back because without that win there was no tomorrow,” Rasberry said of Hinistroza. “He delivered everything I asked of him plus some, allowing us to save Toby for the start in game three.”
In the bottom of the third with Milano down 3- 0, Hinistroza faced a bases loaded, one out situation that might have put the game out of reach for Milano. Instead he managed to strike out the next two batters looking to get out of the jam.
Riesel ace Trey Swartzenberg came into the game with 4.29 ERA, but the Milano batters had their way with him. The Eagles tallied 14 hits in the second game that saw the ace replaced in the fifth inning.
Milano plated nine runs in their final three at bats to take game two of the series.
In the Friday night loss, the Indians put together 17 hits against Milano. Riesel was up 5-2 in the bottom of the third before “dying quail” RBI singles by David Jentsch and Jaxson Robinson would cut the lead to one.
“I am so proud of what our kids accomplished throughout the series. It is difficult to come back after a Friday night loss and a late night bus ride,” Rasberry said. “Our guys just showed up to play like we expected them too, and I think the experience gained this past weekend will help us the rest of the way.”
“ We were able to produce enough offense to keep us in the hunt throughout the series. We had a good game plan coming into Saturday and the kids executed the way we wanted.”
This won’t be the first time that Milano and Fayetteville have faced off on the diamond this season. The two teams went at it in the title game of the Burton tournament on March 12. The 6-5 loss was just the fourth game of the season for the Eagles as they went three rounds deep in the basketball playoffs.
“ We have faced them the past few years and every game between the two of us has been a knock down drag out,” Rasberry said of his team’s opponent this weekend. “They are very talented and disciplined. Coach (Clint) Jeager and his staff do an excellent job with those kids over there in every aspect of the game.”
Over the last four seasons, the Lions have been 71-18 overall and 37-4 in district play. They won the state title in 1997.
Fayetteville’s big hoss is junior Connor Bertsch. The pitcher/first baseman who is batting .662, has 42 runs batted in and seven home runs. On the mound he is undefeated at 5-0 and has an ERA of 2.27.
The winner of the Milano-Fayetteville series will face the winner of the Mart-Flatonia match up in the regional quarterfinals next week.
Game 1 Riesel 17, Milano 12
|Riesel||122 334 2—||17||17||1|
|Milano||022 102 5—||12||15||5|
|Records-||Milano 12- 5.||Riesel|
|3-||5,||HR,||3RBI; Pack 3-||5,||2||RBI;|
|Milano||001 043 2—||10||14||3|
|Riesel||300 100 0—||4||2||2|
|3-||4,||2B;||D. Jentsch 2-||3,||3||RBI;|