Victory is sweet, especially when it’s against your former team.
First-year Reed baseball coach Nick Royle faced a familiar foe Thursday, taking on his former school, both as a coach and player. He was pleased with the outcome as his RHS squad captured a 5-3 win over Wooster in a High Desert League tilt.
“To get the first win, it’s nice. It’s nice to get a win from the team I was coaching last year, especially from Coach (Ron) Malcolm,” Royle said. “Playing for him, and coaching the last couple years with him, it’s exciting. At the same time, I was nervous. I was telling the coaches I was nervous the entire game. Just because of who it was and all those players. I know who they all are.”
The Wooster clan struck first, scoring one run in the top of the second inning. Doug Corl singled to get on base and Raul Gonzalez recorded the RBI for the Colts.
“I thought it was a great baseball game,” Wooster Coach Ron Malcolm said. “Both teams played exceptionally well. Both teams had seven hits. Unfortunately, they had more guys on base when they got their hits. We couldn’t get any timely hits. It’s just baseball. Both teams made no errors.”
The Raiders (10-8, 5-2) responded and went up 4-1 in the bottom of the first frame. Sam Petrie singled and scored on a Derek Garcia home run for the 2-1 lead.
“On that at bat, I was looking for a first-pitch fastball because that’s what we’re taught to hit,” Garcia said on his second-inning home run. “It happened that it was there and I hit it out. That started the rally for the team and we put up four runs. That was the difference in the game, that four-run inning.”
Reed's Joe Moore followed and made it safely to first with a single. Chris Hawthorne walked to put runners on for Fabian Reza, who knocked in Moore and Hawthorne with a single.
“Both teams played defense really well. Both teams put the ball in play,” Royle said. “We were fortunate enough in the second inning to get four runs to get a lead. We answered back in the second when they scored.”
The Colts (6-11, 3-7) came back for more in the fifth inning, scoring two runs on a Victor Mendoza two-run homer.
Reed responded yet again as Casey Yocom ripped a single and Duran DiQuarto sent him home for the 5-3 final in favor of the host Raiders.
Casey Yocom pitched a complete game for Reed on the mound, going the distance with 12 strikeouts in seven innings. He allowed two walks, seven hits and three runs in the outing.
“Casey threw strikes and got ahead of hitters,” Royle said. “He made a couple mistakes and he knows what his mistakes were.”
Royle played under Malcolm as a student at Wooster and spent several years as an assistant coach with the Colts.
“We had to win this one for Royle and (Coach Eric) Merson,” Garcia said. “He went to Wooster as a kid and coached there so we wanted to win it for him. It’s like student vs. teacher with Coach Malcolm over there.”
Reed and Wooster match up in a doubleheader Saturday, starting at 11 a.m. at Wooster.
“To get two wins in a doubleheader is tough,” Royle said. “We’re going to take it one pitch, one inning, one at bat at a time.”