Knipplingâ�?�?s smash leads to Red Sox win By Parker Knox
Sports Writer A frustrating day at the plate for Red Sox first-baseman Cole Knippling was wiped away with one potent swing of his bat in the ninth inning at Akron Sunday. Knipplingâ�?�?s two-out smash down the right-field line scored Robin Chute, who had led off the�? ninth with a single. The run broke a 5-5 tie and proved to be the winning�? margin in Vermillionâ�?�?s 6-5 Stateline League victory. After a week of rain in which two Red Sox games were rained out, one against Elk Point in which the Sox were leading, 4-2, and another against the Sioux City Saints which never got started, the Red Sox and the Rebels found a perfect day on which to play at Akronâ�?�?s baseball gem, Sargent Field. Knippling had gone 0-for-4 earlier in the game on two ground balls and two strikeouts before his clutch hit in the final inning. However,�? the former Mount Marty athlete�? had played a role defensively for the Sox, using every inch of his 6â�?�?4â�? height to make plays on two successive batters.�? �? First, he leaped to spear a line drive headed for the right-field corner. On the next he reached over the fence next to the Vermillion dugout to bring back a foul pop for an out. The interior of the Vermillion infield sparkled all afternoon. After a first-inning error on a ball he couldnâ�?�?t grab hold of, shortstop Chute handled seven chances flawlessly, including the start of a fourth-inning double play as well as a game-ending force play at second base when Akron had the tying and winning runs on base.�? Meanwhile, Chuteâ�?�?s mate at second base, Brett Fischer was error-free in six fielding chances. The only problem Coach Kirk Sorensenâ�?�?s ballclub couldnâ�?�?t solve was the Rebelsâ�?�? Mike Brogden, who started the game as the Akron designated hitter and finished as the pitcher in four innings of relief. At the plate he had�? three singles and a double in four at-bats�? and drove in a run every time. Dan Hansenâ�?�?s sacrifice fly scored Vermillionâ�?�?s first run in the second.�? Trailing 2-1, the Red Sox took advantage of two walks, a well-placed sacrifice bunt by Hansen, a sacrifice fly by Fischer and an infield error to score three times in the fourth. Colby Lessmannâ�?�?s single gave the Red Sox a 5-3 lead in the sixth, but the Rebels wouldnâ�?�?t lie down. They crept to within 5-4 with an unearned run in the sixth and tied the game on Dan Rolfesâ�?�? single, Adam Loutschâ�?�?s sacrifice and Brogdenâ�?�?s double in the eighth to set the stage for Chute and Knippling to team up for the winning run in the top of the ninth. Sorensen sent team newcomer Jason Miller to the mound to start the game.�? He went five innings, striking out three and allowing three earned runs. Jared Heidesch pitched 1 2/3 innings of middle relief before leaving with an injury. Brad Donovan was called to the rescue, and he finished the game with 2 1/3 innings, giving up three hits but enjoying strong backup from his infield defense to get the pitching win. Josh Malenosky and Chute had two hits apiece with Lessmann, Knippling and Curt Truhe getting one hit each. The Red Sox will be home Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the Sioux City Saints and next Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. against the Grey Sox with a Sunday road game at Renner/Newcastle sandwiched in between. �?