Blue Devils split with RCTC

Published 9:56 pm Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Riverland's Kyle Young bunts in the first game of a doubleheader against RCTC Wednesday at Dick Seltz Field. - Eric Johnson/

The Riverland baseball team will probably not be hosting an MCAC South title banner this season, but they did earn a chance to get back to the NJCAA Division III World Series for the third straight year as they clinched a trip to the MCAC State and Regional Tournament.

The Blue Devils split a pair of games with Rochester Community and Technical College for the second time this season as they won the opener 6-3 and lost the nightcap 7-6 in eight innings at Dick Seltz Field Wednesday.

The win likely gives RCTC (25-15, 8-2 MCAC South) the conference title and RCC will likely end up as a No. 5 seed at Regionals.

Riverland pitcher Tyler Jones delivers in the first game of a doubleheader against RCTC Wednesday at Dick Seltz Field. - Eric Johnson/

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“Rochester’s a good team, but I still think we’re the better team when we put it together,” RCC head coach Scott Koenigs said. “We’ll see them again in the playoffs and they know what happens when we play them in the playoffs.”

RCC (27-12 overall, 7-3 MCAC South) showed its good side in the first game when it stranded just three runners and it scored five runs with two outs. But the Blue Devils showed their bad side in the loss as they stranded 14 runners — including 10 that were in scoring position.

“Just too many blown opportunities,” Koenigs said. “It’s been happening all year and it continues to happen, it’s so frustrating. We’ve lost so many games like this.”

RCC lost the nightcap when catcher Kyal Williams couldn’t stop a pitch in the dirt with runners on first and third and two outs. RCTC scored on the play, but the Blue Devils had their chances in the bottom of the eighth.

Matt Boswell walked and Brad Winkelman was hit by a pitch with one out but Braden Hunkins flew out to deep left and Jamie Adams popped out to end the game.

RCC had tied the game at six in the bottom of the seventh when Kyle Young lined a two-out, two-run hit up the middle to tie it, but Renne Araujo grounded out with the winning run on third.

The opening win was all about redemption for RCC ace Tyler Jones. In his last two starts, Jones lost a 1-0 decision in eight innings to Rochester and he saw a 5-0 lead disappear late in a loss to Anoka-Ramsey.

This time the Blue Devil offense gave Jones some early run support as the duo of Williams and Matt Boswell went six-for-six. Williams and Boswell had back-to-back two-out run scoring singles in the third to make it 4-0.

Riverland's Kyal Williams is greeted at home by teammates after a solo homerun in the first game of a doubleheader against RCTC Wednesday afternoon. - Eric Johnson/

Williams later blasted a solo homer over the left field fence in the fifth to make it 6-0 against Andrew Roble, a pitcher who shutout the Blue Devils the last team the teams met.

“We saw a lot of curve balls against him last time and he shut us down a bit. This time we knew it was coming so we jumped on the fast ball,” Williams said. “(On the homerun) it was right down the plate and then I saw it go deep. When I saw it go over, it was like ‘thank God we needed that.’”

Just when Jones, a sophomore from Rapid City, looked to be a lock for a win, things started to look like the Anoka-Ramsey game all over again. RCC committed two early errors in the sixth and before he knew it, Jones was pitching with runners on first and second in a 6-3 game.

“There were a couple flashbacks (to the A-R game) and I thought this couldn’t happen again,” Jones said. “But I kind of calmed myself down and just started throwing strikes.”

Jones got out of the jam by striking out Jordan Ziegler with a curve ball that had helped him get nine strikeouts on the day.

“I was pretty confident I’d get the curve ball close to get them swinging and fool them,” Jones said.

RCC will close out its regular season at Minnesota West Saturday and the State and Regional tournament begins May 13 in St. Cloud.

RCTC 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 — 3 6 1

RCC 0 2 2 1 1 0 X — 6 9 2

RCC pitching: Tyler Jones (W) 7 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 3 R, 1 ER, 9 K

RCC hitting: Jordan Mondeel, 2-for-3, RBI, R; Kyle Young, 0-for-2; Renne Araujo, 0-for-3; Kyal Williams, 3-for-3, HR, double, 2 RBIs, R; Matt Boswell, 3-for-3, RBI, R; Braden Hunkins, 0-for-3, RBI; Reece Steckler, 1-for-2, RBI; Jamie Adams, 0-for-3; Kris Caldwell, 2 R, SB

RCTC 2 0 1 1 0 2 0 1 — 7 11 0

RCC 0 0 0 2 0 2 2 0 — 6 13 2

RCC pitching: Brad Winkelman, 6 IP, 10 H, 3 BB, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 K; Michael Osmundson (L), 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 ER

RCC hitting: Mondeel, 1-for-5, RBI; Young, 1-for-4, 2 RBIs, BB; Williams, 3-for-5; Boswell, 1-for-3, R, BB; Winkelman, 3-for-3, 2 doubles, 2 HBP; Steckler, 0-for-3; Adams, 2-for-4, RBI, 2 R; Aaron Fischer, 0-for-1, R, BB, HBP; Hunkins, 0-for-1, HBP; Andrew Schunck, 1-for-1; Caldwell, 2 R; Mike Tindal, SB