SPRINGFIELD — Baseball fans at Rutherford Wednesday night were watching a competitive District 1-5A battle against Arnold when without warning a mercy rule broke out.
Suddenly a game knotted 3-3 turned into a 13-3 five-inning win for the Rams that kept the Marlins winless at 0-4. Rutherford improved to 4-1, 2-0 in the district.
The Rams sent 15 batters to the plate in the home half of the fifth while scoring 10 runs. Arnold had tied the game when Reed Yandell’s sacrifice fly scored Zack Griffin in the top of the fifth.
Losing pitcher Riley Reitsema, who kept a solid-hitting Rutherford lineup off balance for four innings, and two relievers couldn’t hold back the Rams once they began their parade of batters to the plate.
That could have been a product of inactivity as much as anything, as Rutherford coach Jon Hudson said that recent rains and wet conditions have limited his ballclub, and undoubtedly Arnold as well.
“We really haven’t done anything for five days, we were hitting tennis balls in the old gym Monday and yesterday we were working on the field,” Hudson said.
“Everybody was rusty, and just needed to get out there playing again.”
Hudson said the layoff could have caused winning pitcher Cody Roby’s rocky start. Roby settled down to retire 10 consecutive batters, but that was more from easing into a rhythm than any adjustments made in the dugout.
The Marlins scored twice in the first inning, Sean Reichert with an RBI single and Justin Bynum scoring while Rutherford turned a double play.
Roby then kept Arnold off the basepaths until hitting Griffin to start the fifth. He yielded only two hits in five innings, the other a single by Yandell leading off the game. Roby struck out seven without a walk, but both batters he hit with pitches scored.
The Rams came in hitting .384 as a team, and managed nine hits on Wednesday. Tyler Chatman had three hits including a two-run double in the fifth, Nick Nelson had two hits in the fifth and three RBIs and seven players knocked in runs.
“We’re going to have to score runs and play good defense, that’s got to be our M.O., at least until our pitching starts to come around,” Hudson said.
“We’ve got seven guys” who could be used on the mound. “We’re waiting for some of them to step up and be the man.”
Rutherford closed within 2-1 in the third inning when Dondrell Harris doubled, Dallas Davis singled and Harris scored when Nelson forced Davis at second. The Rams scored a pair of unearned runs to take a short-lived lead in the fourth, Chatman’s opposite-field single the only hit in the inning.
- Arnold 200 01 — 5 2 2
- Rutherford 001 2(10) — 13 9 1
- Reitsema (L), Yanell (5), Carmichael (5) and Montfort; Roby (W) and Z.Davis
- LOB: Arnold 3, Rutherford 8. E: Arnold (Cunningham, Bynum), Rutherford (Dl.Harris). 2B: Dl.Harris, Chatman. SAC: Cunningham. SF: Yandell. SB: Yandell, Bynum, Dy.Harris, Bailey. HBP: Bynum, Griffin (by Roby), D.Davis (by Reitsema). DP: Rutherford (5-4-3). WP: Reitsema, Roby 3. PB: Montfort 2.