The Milan Big Reds finished a busy week with a split against the Dundee Vikings on Saturday. The Big Reds won game one by a 10-1 score, and lost game two in extra innings 4-3.
Jacob Maas hit a home run in game one of the Big Reds’ doubleheader against Dundee on Saturday and led the team in RBIs in the game. (File photo by Joel Dotson)
The Big Reds scored early and often in the opening game. Milan scored seven runs in the first 4 innings. Dundee’s lone run of the game came in the bottom of the 4th by a fielder’s choice. The Viking score ended the Big Reds’ scoreless inning streak on the mound at 27.
The Big Reds added three insurance runs in the 6th to extend their lead.
Kyle Schrader pitched six dominant innings on the mound for Milan, allowing just three hits and striking out eight. Cody Vance, making just his second appearance on the hill this season, finished the game with a scoreless 7th.
Jacob Maas had an exceptional offensive performance in game one, leading the Big Reds in hits and RBIs in the game with three each. Maas hit a two-run home run in the 6th, his first home run of the season and the team’s third of the year.
The Vikings struck first in game two. Dundee scored three runs in the 3rd, with two runs coming on a single by second baseman Michael Funchion.
Dundee starting pitcher Tommy McComas was tough on the Big Reds in his four innings on the mound. In the first three innings, McComas struck out seven Big Reds and allowed just two hits.
Milan tried to respond to Dundee’s scoring rally in the top of the 4th. Designated hitter Jake Hendricks and first baseman Zach Allen each hit singles to start the inning. Hendricks advanced to 2nd on Allen’s single and was thrown out at 3rd as Friese attempted a bunt. Allen advanced to 2nd on the play. Allen then advanced to 3rd, and Zach Alliston – the courtesy runner for Friese – advanced to 2nd on a single by Beau Hotz, which loaded the bases. Allen tried to score on a wild pitch, but was thrown out at the plate for the second out of the inning. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, James Carpenter – pinch hitting for left fielder Tommy Vinnay – struck out to end the inning.
The Big Reds loaded the bases again with one out in the 5th, with a new pitcher on the mound. Hendricks hit a shallow fly ball to right field for the second out. The fly ball was not deep enough to score any runners. Allen struck out to end the attempted Milan rally.
Milan finally got on the board in the 6th inning. Friese led off the inning with a single. Alliston – running for Friese again – stole 2nd and advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch. After Hotz lined out and Vinnay struck out, Devin Miller hit an RBI single that cut Dundee’s lead to 3-1. Miller stole 2nd as Thomas Lindeman was batting. Lindeman reached base on an error by the Vikings shortstop, giving Milan runners on 1st and 3rd with two outs. Kyle Schrader hit an RBI single that scored Miller, putting the Big Reds within a run. Maas ended the inning with a groundout.
Cody Vance pitched a scoreless inning against Dundee on Saturday, closing out game one in just his 2nd pitching appearance of the season. (File photo by Scott Dotson)
Using the momentum from the offensive rally, Hendricks induced an inning-ending double play after walking the previous batter in the bottom half of the 6th.
The Big Reds tied the game in the top of the 7th, with a little help from Dundee reliever Jay Briggs. After Hendricks opened the inning with a strikeout, Briggs walked Allen and hit Friese and Hotz to load the bases. Isaac Grubke, pinch hitting for the re-entered Vinnay, managed to squeeze bunt Allen home that tied the game at 3. Alliston ended the inning when he was caught trying to steal home while Miller was batting.
Hendricks pitched to four batters in the bottom of the 7th. The lone hit for the Vikings in the inning was a single.
Milan sent four batters to the plate in the top half of the 8th inning, but only managed one hit – a single by Schrader.
Hendricks was put in a jam in the bottom of the 8th. He allowed a leadoff double to Zach Motylinski. Milan head coach Adam Gilles then elected to load the bases with no outs. After inducing a popout in foul territory for the first out, Hendricks was pulled from the game for Lindeman. Lindeman, who warmed up by the eight pitches allowed in-game and did not warm up beforehand, was given a bases-loaded with one out situation with Funchion due up in the order. Funchion twice attempted to suicide squeeze the winning run home, but did so unsuccessfully. The lack of warm-up time proved costly for Lindeman, as he allowed a walk-off walk.
In all, Milan had 11 hits in the series finale and stranded 14 runners on base.
Despite the up-and-down of game two, Gilles was feeling upbeat about his team’s performance in the series. “The first game was good,” he said. “We hit the ball well and Schrader did a great job.
“We stranded too many runners in game two. We battled and came back. (Game two) is a good test for what we’re going to see on Tuesday (against Chelsea). It felt like a playoff game. We haven’t had an intense game like that in a while. It was a tough loss, but we’ve got knowledge of how to handle games like this for the future.”
Milan (28-8) returns to the diamond on Tuesday, May 27 in a pre-district game against Chelsea. The Big Reds will take on the Bulldogs on their home field. Regardless of what happens in Tuesday’s matchup, the Big Reds are also scheduled to host Summit Academy on Wednesday, May 28, making up a cancelled series.
Tuesday’s game against Chelsea is set to begin at 4 p.m.
Game 1 stats
Winning pitcher – Kyle Schrader (Milan; 7-1) – 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R (also earned), 3 BB, 8 K
Milan hit leaders – Maas & Schrader 3 each; Lindeman & Grubke 2 each
Milan RBI leaders – Maas 3
Milan home runs – Maas (1; team’s 3rd home run of season)
Game 2 stats
Winning pitcher – Jay Briggs (Dundee) – 4 IP, 7 H, 3 R (all earned), 2 BB, 3 K
Losing pitcher – Jake Hendricks (Milan; 2-4) – 3 IP, H, R (also earned), 4 BB, 4 K
Milan hit leader – Schrader 4 (went 4-for-5 in the game)
Milan RBI leaders – three with an RBI each (Schrader, Grubke, Miller)