ARTICLE COURTESY OF THE OAKLAND PRESS
The bats were alive while pitching and defense lagged behind in their effectiveness Tuesday, as Rochester and Farmington played a three-hour, high-scoring game.
Though it led from start to finish, Rochester needed to keep adding runs throughout to fend off Farmington for a 16-8 early-season victory.
“You don’t want to have to score 16 runs to win a ball game, but it’s nice that your offense can go out and continue to put up runs every inning,” Rochester coach Eric Magiera said. “We kept the foot on the gas.”
The first inning was filled with offense for both clubs as the teams combined for 13 runs.
Rochester’s lineup batted around in its first turn up to bat, producing eight runs to take a commanding lead early. Leadoff man Bobby Kronner had two hits in the frame, including a two-run single.
Undeterred by the hole it found itself in, Farmington answered back with five runs of its own in the bottom of the first inning. Senior Dave Harrison delivered an RBI double, while two more runs came in on a costly defensive error.
An inning later, Harrison drove in another run to trim Farmington’s deficit to two, down 8-6.
Rochester picked up two runs in the top of the third when Nick Stepke and Devin Murray recorded an RBI hit apiece to make it 10-6.
Farmington’s C.J. Banks delivers a pitch against Rochester in an Oakland Activities Association game on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (DAN FENNER – For MediaNews Group)
Farmington missed on prime opportunities to climb its way back into contention in the third and fifth innings when it loaded the bases. Each time produced just one run, however, as Farmington couldn’t produce a hit with runners in scoring position.
In the top of the sixth, Rochester’s Noah Stout clubbed a two-run home run deep to right field to make it 15-8.
“He’s a very good hitter for us and he’s been very consistent this year putting the baseball in play and do a lot on the base paths,” Magiera said of Stout. “It’s nice to see him run into one today, but he offers us a lot besides trying to hit the long ball.”
With good hitting by both teams, it wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth that a pitcher recorded a clean 1-2-3 inning when Rochester’s Scott Russell got into a groove on the mound.
“It was a gutty performance,” Magiera said of Russell’s extended relief performance. “When you send your ace out there, you don’t expect to have to go to your bullpen in the third inning. Being able to get a guy (Russell) to come in and give you a huge contribution like that, that’s probably the thing that lifted us today.”
Rochester improved to 6-2 on the season with the victory, having played several games while other teams were idle on spring break.
“We’ve got a veteran team and a lot of seniors out here, a lot of guys that will be playing college baseball,” Magiera said. “We think we can go pretty far this year.”
Tuesday’s game was Farmington’s first of the season.
“We weren’t sharp on defense for sure,” Farmington coach Pete Finn said. “We kept battling and I think we’re going to be a team that competes. Once we got past that first inning, if we could have played a little bit better defense, we could have kept it tighter.”