Poor fundamentals on defense led to a big third inning for the Mustangs and the Raiders never recovered, falling 10-0 in their league opener at home.
“We didn’t put on a good show for you today,” Reed baseball coach John Phenix said. “Mark got behind in some counts, and we booted the ball around in that big inning. They’re a good team. Their pitcher threw well, allowed just that one hit. They executed on offense and have good team speed.”
Nowaczewski escaped a self-inflicted jam in the top of the second. After allowing a leadoff single to Andy Calingaert, an errant pick-off attempt moved up Calingaert to second. Calingaert swiped third base before Nowaczewski beaned the next two batters to load the bases with no outs.
However, Nowaczewski induced a comebacker to record the first out at the plate, and then struck out the next two batters to leave the bases juiced.
He was not so lucky in the third.
Matt Gover led off the top of the third with a single in the hole between shortstop and third, starting a rally in which the Mustangs sent 12 batters to the plate.
With Justin Bridgman squared around for a sacrifice bunt attempt, Nowaczewski unleashed a fastball behind Bridgman’s head that catcher Dylan Miller could not handle, enabling Gover to advance to second.
Bridgman then dropped down a drag bunt to the right side of Nowaczewski, who pounced off the mound, fielded the ball and fired a throw to first base. Unfortunately for the Blue and Gold, the throw was down inside the base path and Bridgman was able to jar the ball free of first baseman Brandon Koszuth’s glove. Gover scored from second on the play.
A second throwing error, on a pick-off attempt, sent Bridgman scurrying to second base. Nate Nolan drew a base on balls, putting runners on first and second.
Nowaczewski got Calingaert looking for the inning’s first out.
But Kyle Bailey reached first when no one on the left side of the infield fielded his drag bunt.
“They executed really well,” Phenix said. “We’re going to put that stuff in, but with the tournament and everything, we just haven’t had a chance.”
With the bases loaded, a strikeout accounted for the second out. Damonte kept the inning going when a grounder was booted at shortstop, making it a 2-0 game. A bases-loaded walk forced in the third run.
No. 9 hitter Daniel Page followed with a line drive single up the middle, knocking in two runs.
Another infield error increased the DRHS lead to 6-0, and Bridgman capped the seven-run rally with an RBI infield single. That also ended Nowaczewski’s outing after 2 2-3 innings.
Chris Flores entered the game in relief, striking out the first batter he saw looking to end the inning.
Damonte was able to tag Flores for two runs in the top of the fourth frame.
Calingaert walked to start the inning. Bailey then singled to right field where the ball was bobbled and Calingaert sprinted to third. Bailey advanced to second on the throw.
After a strikeout, Kyle Richard and Patrick Wolfe each drove in a run with singles, pushing the lead to 9-0.
In the top of the fifth frame, it looked like Reed would dodge a 10th run and a potential mercy-rule shortened contest after turning a double play. But on a 3-2 pitch with two outs, Nate Nolan skied a shot to right field for a solo home run. The game ended after the Raiders couldn’t muster any offense in the bottom half of the inning.
Wolfe held Reed (4-2, 0-1) to one hit for a complete-game victory. He struck out six, walked one and hit a batter.
Bailey was the lone Mustang with multiple his, going 2-for-2 with two runs scored.
The two teams will conclude the two-game series at 3:45 p.m. Thursday at Damonte.