Red Sox tops Monarchs

Red Sox tops Monarchs
In a rematch of last year's Class A amateur baseball championship game, the Vermillion Red Sox, the defending champions, downed the Renner Monarchs 9-7 on Tuesday night at Prentis Park.

In this early season rematch, both teams were not in mid-season form. It was only the fourth game of the season for the Red Sox, and just the third for Renner.

Renner got on the board right away in the first inning as Red Sox starter Dan Christensen walked the first two batters he faced. Both would score later in the inning on a single and a sacrifice fly.

But the Red Sox bats got going early against Monarchs' starter Luke Hepner. Robin Chute and Josh Malenosky both singled to start the frame. After an out, Colby Lessman drove in Chute with a double. After a walk to Cole Knippling loaded the bases, DH Dan Hansen also walked to bring in a run.

Next up was Brad Donovan, who reached base on an error by Monarchs' thirdbaseman Aaron Gaspar to bring home two more runs to make it 4-2, and that is how the inning would end after Vermillion sent 10 men to the plate.

The Red Sox tacked on a run in the second on a solo homer by Jim McNaughton.

Renner got two runs in the third as Christensen struggled to find the strike zone. The Red Sox righty walked three batters in that frame. Throw in an error and a hit by Kevin Knetsch, and the Monarchs cut the lead to 5-4.

Both Hepner and Christensen did not last long. Hepner lasted just two innings. Christensen went three innings.

Relievers Brandon May for Renner and Trent Eckstaine settled things down for a few innings, but the Red Sox got to May in the fifth.

Gaspar committed two errors, and a walk of McNaughton by May loaded the bases with two outs. Colby Lessman slammed a triple, over the head of Monarchs'centerfielder Bryan Hohnenthaner, to bring in three runs and extend the lead to 8-4.

Hohnenthaner got some payback in the seventh with a two RBI single to cut the lead to 8-6. An error by Red Sox rightfielder Cole Knippling in the eighth allowed another run to score to slice the lead to just one run, but Eckstaine pitched out of a first-and-third jam to sutain the lead for the Red Sox.

Vermillion would get an insurance run as Lessman doubled in the bottom of the eighth, and came home on a two-out single by Dan Hansen.

Eckstaine gave up a couple of singles in the ninth, but the veteran southpaw retired the side with no more damage done to secure the 9-7 win.

Eckstaine got the win with six innings of relief. He gave up six hits, struck out six, and walked just one.

Colby Lessman tripled, doubled twice, drove in four and scored twice to lead the Red Sox offense. Jim McNaughton homered, walked and scored two runs.

Kevin Knetsch singled three times to lead Renner's attack.

Renner stranded 15 baserunners, while Vermillion left 11 men on base. Both teams committed four errors. Monarch pitchers combined for seven walks, as did Red Sox pitchers.

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