Vermillion Grey Sox fall to Newcastle

Vermillion Grey Sox fall to Newcastle by Steven Thum The Vermillion Grey Sox rallied from a six-run defecit only to eventually fall to the Newcastle A's 15-10 on Sunday night at Prentis Park.

Newcastle got off to a fast start against Grey Sox starter Bret Mockler, who had trouble finding the strike zone. Mockler walked three and hit an A's batter in the first inning alone that led to two runs. Two more scored in the second as an error, a walk, and another hit batsman keyed the Newcastle rally.

The Grey Sox put a couple of runs on the board in the bottom of the second as Aaron Baedke singled home Nick Sharp and Eric Holoch.

The A's got another rally going in the third inning as Mockler gave up a single, three walks and two hits, one a two-RBI single by David Hanson. With the score 8-2, Mockler's night on the hill was done, and Derrick Brown came on in relief.

Brown got out of the jam, despite hitting a Newcastle batter, but the A's now led by six runs with one of their aces, righthander Justin Connolley, on the hill.

The Grey Sox got a run in the third as Ryan Baedke led off by drawing a walk, then came home on a one-out double by Steve Varns, his second double of the game.

Brown and Connolley worked scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth innings, but Connolley ran out of gas in the sixth.

Jason Dietrich led off with a double, then Nick Sharp drew a walk. A wild pitch moved both runners into scoring positon. Eric Holoch drew another walk to load the bases. Brett Bartling came to the plate, but didn't have to take the bat off his shoulder as he, too, drew a walk to bring home a run.

Aaron Baedke's sacrifice fly brought home a run, and momentum was now on the side of the home team.

Another walk and a single brought home another run, and Connolley's night was over on the hill. Lefty John Pitts came on, but he uncorked a wild pitch to bring home a run in the

form of Ryan Baedke.

The throw from catcher Brian Koenig back to Pitts, covering home plate, went astray, so Dave Holoch, who had advanced to third, kept on running and scored on the error. One wild pitch ended up scoring two runs for Vermillion, and the Grey Sox now had the lead at 9-8.

The Grey Sox were not done yet, as Jason Dietrich hit his second double of the inning to bring home Steve Varns, who had singled. Nick Sharp drew a walk, but Pitts fanned Eric Holoch to end the inning as Vermillion sent 12 men to the plate, scoring seven runs in the process, and seizing a 10-8 advantage.

Brown retired the side in the top of the seventh, and Pitts struck out the side in the bottom half of the frame.

Newcastle got a rally going in the eighth as David Hanson led off with a walk. Connolley, now in rightfield, singled. After a sacrifice bunt by Joe Pitts, the A's now had two runners in scoring position.

An error by shortstop Nick Mayer allowed a run to score. Brown hit Brent Kniefel with a pitch to load the bases, then walked in the tying run when Brian Koenig drew a free pass.

It looked like Brown had registered a strikeout against Brian Blatchford, but a close pitch was called a ball, and not a strike to the frustration of Brown and catcher Dave Holoch.

With new life, Blatchford singled home two runs on the next pitch to give Newcastle a 12-10 lead. Brown retired the next two batters to end the inning, but the damage was done.

While Brown had his troubles, Pitts found his stride. He shut down Vermillion in the eighth.

Ryan Baedke came on to pitch for the Grey Sox in the ninth, but a couple of errors set the table for Joe Pitts, who doubled to right to bring home two runs. Pinch-hitter Ryan Olander singled to right to plate Pitts, and Newcastle enjoyed a five-run cushion.

John Pitts would make it stand as he held Vermillion scoreless in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the 15-10 win.

David Hanson scored four times for the A's, even though he just got one hit. He reached base on a fielder's choice, an error, two walks in addition to his two-RBI single. Justin Connolley singled twice, walked, and scored three runs. Joe Pitts singled, doubled, and batted in four.

Jason Dietrich and Steve Varns each doubled twice for the Grey Sox. Eric Holoch, Nick Sharp, and Ryan Baedke each scored two runs, though none got a hit in the game. Aaron Baedke singled, hit a sacrifice fly, and drove in three.

John Pitts got the win in relief, allowing two hits and one run in 3 1/3 innings of work. The southpaw fanned five and walked three.

Derrick Brown was saddled with the loss, giving up four runs, three of them earned, on three hits in his 5 1/3 innings on the mound.

Newcastle stranded 14 baserunners, while the Grey Sox left nine men on base.

With the win, the A's improve to 6-2, while the Grey Sox fall to 6-7.

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