Red Sox, Grey Sox sweep Canova The Canova Gang, one of the traditional powerhouse teams in Class B amateur baseball, came to Prentis Park on a rainy Sunday afternoon, July 22, for a doubleheader.
The first game was against the Grey Sox, and the second against the Red Sox.
Ryan Baedke started on the mound for the Grey Sox, Jerry Kampshoff took the hill for Canova.
Both pitchers worked a one-two-three first inning. Baedke worked out a jam in the second. Kampshoff gave up a run in the second as Dave Holoch doubled to lead off, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Troy Rickord.
The Grey Sox lead would not last long. Nick Koepsell led off for the Gang with a single. Mark Zens was plunked on a 3-0 pitch, and Nick Bomhoff followed with a single that plated Koepsell. Craig Mock hit into a fielder's choice that brought home Zens.
After a stolen base, Mock moved to third on a ground out. With two outs, and a runner on third, disaster struck. Catcher Mark Clark's throw back to Baedke went over his head, and Mock scored on the error to make it 3-1.
Canova got another run in the fourth as Josh Zens singled home Brad Miller to make it 4-1.
But the Grey Sox clawed their way back into the game. Holoch and Aaron Baedke hit back-to-back singles with one out. Clark hit a high foul ball down the third base line, behind the bag. Koepsell caught the ball in foul territory, but crashed into the fence and fell down.
Clark was out, but both Holoch and Baedke advanced by tagging up. With two runners in scoring position, Troy Rickord delivered a clutch single to make it 4-3.
Both teams went down in order in the fifth. Canova threatened in the sixth, as they had runners on second and third, but Ryan Baedke got Koepsell to pop up to Bartling at first, and the side was retired.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Grey Sox were still down by a run. Holoch doubled with one out. Aaron Baedke hit a fly ball to left field that was caught for the second out. Kampshoff was almost out of the jam. Clark reached first on an infield single which scored Holoch with the tying run.
But there was a collision at first base as Clark and Canova first baseman Mock got their legs tangled on the close play. Canova protested the call, but Clark was safe, though shaken up. Rex Kinnear came on as the courtesy runner for the Grey Sox catcher.
Rickord slapped a single to right field. The ball was misplayed by Mark Zens in rightfield. Kinnear scampered all the way around from first and scored the go-ahead run. Brett Bartling put an exclamation point on the rally by blasting a two-run homer to make it 7-4.
It was now up to Ryan Baedke to close it out for the Grey Sox. But the right hander got into a jam by giving up two singles and a walk to load the bases with one out. Baedke regained his composure to retire the next two batters and preserve the hard fought win for the Grey Sox.
Baedke went the distance on the hill, allowing nine hits, one walk, and struck out three. Kampshoff took the loss for Canova as he too gave up nine hits. Kampshoff struck out one and did not issue a single free pass.
Holoch doubled twice, singled, and scored three runs to lead the Grey Sox offense. Clark and Rickord both had two singles. Rickord drove in three runs and scored once.
Josh Zens doubled and singled for Canova. Tom Bomhoff and Ted Gosmire each singled twice for the Gang.
Canova left seven runners on base, the Grey Sox stranded three baserunners.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Red Sox asserted themselves right away as Jim McNaughton and Chris Belding each hit solo homers off of Canova starter Nick Koepsell to give the Red Sox an early 2-0 lead.
Three runs would come home for the Red Sox in the second inning as McNaughton and Cory Lessman hit back-to-back doubles to spark the rally that gave the Red Sox a 5-0 advantage.
Meanwhile, Colby Lessman was cruising on the hill for the Red Sox. He would not allow a single baserunner to get past second the entire contest.
The Red Sox scored a run in both the third and fourth innings. Scott Sebo's single in the third brought home Colby Lessman. Belding's fourth inning single plated McNaughton, who scored his third run of the game.
The game was held up for five minutes by a rain delay before the top of the fifth. After the downpour passed, light rain continued for a few more minutes, but the game continued.
Two more runs would score in the fifth as a two-run single by Cory Lessman brought home Dusty Moore and Jay Merrigan. The Red Sox led 9-0, and needed just one more run to win by the mercy rule. But Canova stubbornly held on and did not give up that tenth run.
It would not change the final outcome, as Colby Lessman retired the side in order in the seventh to get the shutout.
Lessman had a stellar game on the hill for the Red Sox, giving up just four hits and three walks while fanning two.
Koepsell took the loss for the Gang, surrendering nine runs on fourteen hits in his six innings of work. Koepsell walked three and struck out one.
McNaughton homered, doubled twice, scored three times, and drove in three runs to lead the Red Sox attack. Belding singled twice in addition to hitting a home run, and he too drove in three runs. Colby Lessman helped his own cause by hitting a double and single, and scored once.
Mock had two singles for Canova.
Canova left eight runners on base, while the Red Sox stranded seven baserunners.
The District 7B tournament will start on Saturday in Lennox. Seedings and matchups are yet to be determined.