Blue Devil bats come alive in a pair of comeback wins over Viterbo JV

Published 8:59 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2024

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Two of the Blue Devils’ best hitters came from communities that are 7,000 miles apart, but the duo spent most of their day advancing 90 feet at a time as they helped the Riverland Community College baseball team rally back from two deficits to sweep Viterbo JV by scores of 13-3 in six innings and 15-8 on a warm, sunny day at Seltz Field Wednesday.

Taiko Ishikawa, who is from Toin, Mie Japan, went five-for-six on the day with four runs scored to set the table, and Karlo Aguirre, who is from Miami, Florida, went 5-for-8 with a homer and nine RBIs on the day.

“Our bats always come along, no matter what. We have great guys that can hit the ball,” Aguirre said. “I knew we were going to battle back. The weather was a good factor because I’m from Miami, and I don’t like the cold.”

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RCC (16-7 overall) trailed the first game 3-0 going into the bottom of the fourth inning and it trailed the nightcap 7-1 going into the bottom of the fourth. In both games, RCC caught fire as Misael Martinez, who is from Arecibo, Puerto Rico, delivered two deep home runs on the day.

With players from different nations and different regions of the United States, the Blue Devils have stuck together, even after the team lost four in a row to Rochester Community and Technical College.

“At our level, we’re constantly blending talent and we get used to it. We’ve got kids from all different walks of life and we bring them together with the game of baseball and they’ve all got a passion for it or they wouldn’t be here,” said head coach Derek Hahn. “The defense has been a major letdown lately and that kind of showed last weekend. Offensively we can swing it, and we’ve got good pitching, but we’ve got to play defense.”

Ishikawa is one of several Japanese players on the team and although he didn’t like the cold, the contact hitter is learning to like it in Minnesota. He’s also learned to embrace his teammates as a second family.

“We don’t see our families much, and I haven’t been back to Japan since I got there,” Ishikawa said through an interpreter. “We stick together and hang out together. I still miss my family, but not as much as I would because I’m having fun playing baseball here.”

Aguirre said that the entire squad gets along, no matter what background they have.

“We all come together and I like all of these guys,” he said. “They’re my teammates.”

The game was a reunion for Hahn as his former Riverland teammate Brady Banse, who pitched to Hahn at the NJCAA Division III World Series when the two played for RCC, is a coach with Viterbo.

“He’s been there for a couple of years now and seeing him is always a good thing,” Hahn said. “He’s a great friend.”

Game 1

Viterbo 101  100  0  –    3   3   2

RCC 000  445 X  –  13  10  2

RCC pitching: Boden Simon (W) 7 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 K, 2 HBP

RCC hitting: Evan Lenz, 1-for-4, R; Taiko Ishikawa, 2-for-3, 2 R; Joshua Fernandez, 0-for-2, 2 R, 2 BBs; Karlo Aguirre, 3-for-4, HR, 5 RBIs, 3 R; Jeremy Vega Casado, 0-for-1, RBI, R, BB; Misael Martinez, 1-for-4, HR, 3 RBIs, R; Jeremy Portela, 2-for-3, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs, R; Isaac Olson, 2-for-3, triple, RBI, R; Ashton Wolf, 0-for-2, R, BB; Harrison Hanna, R; Chris Homuth, 1-for-1

Game 2

Viterbo 222  100  1  –    8   10  2

RCC 001  483  X  –  15  18  2

RCC pitching: Aguirre,1 ⅓ IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 ER; Yuta Zemba (W) 5 ⅔ IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 K

RCC hitting: Lenz, 3-for-5, 2 RBIs, 3 R; Ishikawa, 3-for-3, RBI, 2 R, 2 SB; Fernandez, 2-for-3, double, 3 RBIs, R, 2 BBs; Aguirre, 2-for-4, 4 RBIs, R; Portela, 1-for-5, R; Martinez, 1-for-2, HR, RBI, R, R, 2 BBs; Vega Casado, 2-for-4, RBI, 2 R; Olson, 2-for-4, 2 R; Wolf, 0-for-4, RBI; Sam McEvoy, 2-for-2, 2 RBIs, R 1