As published in the Ortonville Independent 05-24-2016.
A week after putting up 12 hits against Dawson, the Rox put the bat on the ball, but struggled to find holes in Madison’s defense. The Rox were able to come out on top, 4-3.
“It was a hard fought game by both teams. While we didn't collectively play our best baseball, we scored runs when we needed to and found a way to win, which is what good teams are able to do,” said player/manager John Thomas. Thomas was alluding to the Rox ability to overcome some adversity offensively to walk away victorious, with the help of solid pitching and timely hitting.
Brandon Bornhorst, Madison’s starting pitcher wasted no time attacking the strike zone, by mixing his pitches he kept the Rox lineup off balance through five innings. At the end of his day Bornhorst had struck out five and allowed only two runs on four hits. Although Bornhorst pitched well and left the game a 2-2 tie, it was Rox star Chris Fellows who stole the show.
C. Fellows took the mound in his second start of the 2016 season and was in complete command of all his pitches. Unfortunately, the Mallards were also in command of their bats. In the first inning C. Fellows allowed two runs on four hits. While the Rox were hitting in the top of the second, catcher Isaac Knutson recommended C. Fellows make an adjustment to his approach and it paid off. C. Fellows pitched the next six innings in shutout fashion, allowing only two hits. He faced the minimum in 4 of his 7 innings and struck out 11. He was not just a key player defensively, C. Fellows also carried the team with his bat. For the second straight game C. Fellows had three hits and was also responsible for two of the Rox four runs.
When C. Fellows handed the ball to Curt Schake for the 8th inning, the Rox led 3-2. C. Schake began the 8th inning by walking the leadoff hitter, followed by a hit and a hit batsmen. An infield hit, with a fielding error on the same play allowed the Mallards to tie the game. C. Schake was able to strike out two and escape the inning allowing no further damage.
In the top of the 9th inning is when things got exciting. C. Fellows came up to bat with one out and delivered a clutch single. With the Rox needing a bit more speed on the basepaths Chris Smith entered as a pinch runner. A passed ball allowed Smith to advance to second base. Chance Haugen then hit the ball hard lining out to the first baseman, which nearly turned into a game ending double play. The Mallards pitched around clean-up hitter Jeff Watson to face Chris Doney. With two outs C. Doney drove a 3-2 pitch into centerfield allowing Smith to score the go ahead run.
C. Schake took the win getting the final three outs without much difficulty. Dan Berdan also played a key role in the Rox win, he added a hit and like C. Fellows, accounted for two runs. Other Rox to contributing to the hit total were Riley Sammon, Andrew Treinen and John Thomas with one hit each.
On Saturday, May 28th the Rox (2-0) will make the 71 mi. trip to Cottonwood to take on the Cardinals (1-2) in their inaugural season.