Three of Galena’s first four batters drew base on balls and all four of Reed’s first four hitters scored in a long first inning.
But in the end, it was the Grizzlies who picked up the series sweep with a 10-8 victory in Northern 4A league baseball action.
Galena only managed six hits on the day, but Reed’s pitching didn’t do itself any favors early on. Raider pitchers Jeff Copple and Jake Means combined to walk 10 batters and hit three more. However, all the Grizzlies’ scoring went on Copple’s line.
Galena posted two runs in the first inning without a hit. One run came home on a double steal play and the other scored on Cole Fenner’s RBI fielder’s choice.
Reed answered right back with a four-run first inning rally.
A fielding error, hit batsman and Jason Stroberg single loaded the bases. Galena starting pitcher Beau Cullen walked Tanner Parris, forcing in Reed’s first run, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
A throwing error to home allowed the game-tying run to score, and the hosts went up 4-2 on Spencer Jones RBI single to center field and A.J. Silva’s sacrifice fly.
The Grizzlies, who were held hitless in six of the seven innings, racked up all their hits in the top of the second inning and pushed across all the offense it would need.
Sean Pferschy singled down the third-base line to start off the inning. Andrew Smagala followed with a walk, bringing the top of the order up for the Grizz.
Jorge Medina dropped down a perfectly placed bunt, loading the bases with an infield single.
Daniel Ferguson’s hard shot to left field plated two runs, tying up the game at 4-4.
Both Medina and Ferguson were running on a pitch that Ryan Ford bunted for a sacrifice. Medina was able to score all the way from second on the play, giving the visitors the lead for good.
Two straight walks reloaded the bases for Dustin Granata, who hit a grounder past a diving shortstop, driving in two more runs.
Drew Anderson lined a shot that landed on the left-field line for a double, putting runners on second and third. An infield miscue moved the runners up 90 feet and increased Galena’s lead to 8-4.
Medina capped the eight-run inning with a two-run single, a blooper that dropped into no man’s land in shallow right field.
“We just had too many walks in that second inning and it killed us,” Reed baseball coach Ray Charles said. “That’s part of the equation. You’ve got to play seven innings. If you let down in one inning, it still comes back to get you.”
Reed didn’t give up despite trailing 10-2.
In the bottom of the third after an error and a walk, Silva blasted a run-scoring double off the base of the fence in right field, chasing Cullen from the game. Cullen gave up seven runs, but only two were earned.
Colby Duncan took over mound duties, but was shaky at first. He gave up an RBI single to Beau Tittensor and Parris. Another run came home on an Alex Young fielder’s choice, leaving the score 10-8. That’s how it would remain thanks to strong bullpen work.
Means pitched the final 5 1-3 innings. He didn’t allow a hit but walked two and hit three Grizzlies. Still, Galena was kept from adding onto its lead.
“Jake pitched outstanding. I commend him on his effort in order to keep us in the game,” Charles said. “That’s a good hitting team. To keep them at bay at that point, I was proud of the guys today. I’m not into moral victories, but I’m into getting better and competing. I really liked what they did today. I was pretty proud of their effort. I don’t like to lose, but if they’re going to play like that, I’ll take that.”
Duncan picked up the pitching win, throwing four innings of relief for the Grizzlies, allowing one run. Jace Puckett threw a 1-2-3 seventh to earn the save.
Reed (5-12, 3-9 in Northern 4A) hosts its spring break tournament starting Thursday.