FARMINGTON — For the third time in as many match ups, the Southern California Renegades defeated the 13-time Connie Mack World Series champion Midland Redskins.
Southern California's bats couldn't be stopped as the Renegades racked up 10 hits against five Midland pitchers en route to a 10-3 victory.
“All of the Midland pitchers did a good job. They are good pitchers. They challenged us, but we did a god job coming out with energy and taking a good approach,” said Renegades right fielder Gavin Collins, who was 1-for-3 in the game with a double, a walk, two RBIs and two runs scored. “We had good swings in good situations.”
Midland jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when a TJ Nichting sacrifice fly scored Zach Beckner, but Renegades starting pitcher A.J. Puckett held the Redskins scoreless for three more innings as Southern California tacked on five runs in the bottom of the first, two in the second and two more in the third.
Puckett pitched a complete game and allowed three runs on six hits. He struck out five and walked just one.
“I felt pretty good. My defense back behind me did well, and the offense was really good today, too,” Puckett said. “There was a tight zone in the beginning, but I worked around it and stayed around the strike zone and let my defense help me out.”
The Midland Redskins had their share of problems with a tight strike zone.
Assistant manager Dave Evans was ejected in the second inning after Manny Rodriguez was called out looking at a third strike. He thought it was a ball but also noticed the catcher had appeared to drop the ball while transferring it from his glove to his throwing hand. Rodriguez went halfway down the line and then toward his dugout before the coaches urged him to go to first base on a dropped third strike.
The home plate umpire ruled him out, bringing Evans out of the dugout. After already arguing balls and strikes earlier in the game, Evans was ejected quickly.
Two innings later, two more Midland Redskin coaches were ejected for arguing balls and strikes. It marked the sixth ejection of the CMWS by the same umpire.
“I should never get kicked out of a baseball game, but it is baseball. You gotta stick up for your kids,” Evans said. “My catcher thought they were strikes and we didn't get them. I gotta stick up for the kid. They have good umpiring here, we just didn't throw enough strikes. That is all there is to it.”
While ejections highlighted the action, the star of the game was Southern California's Collins, who stole home in the second inning. He got a good jump off third base and slid in front of the catcher's tag in time, beating a fastball that was right down the middle of the plate.
“Last year, we were 14-for-15 stealing home, and this year we are 9-for-10 already,” said Renegades manager Si Pettrow. “We don't mind doing it when we see an opportunity. We teach the kids whenever someone isn't paying attention to us we have to take advantage no matter where we are. We are not afraid to do things most teams won't do, and we are always prepared to take a run wherever we can get it.”
Coming up big for Southern California on Wednesday morning was Lucas Herbert, who was 2-for-2 with two walks and a run scored, Brian Serven, who was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI, and Brock Lundquist, who was 1-for-1 with three walks, a double and two RBIs.
Evans said the Renegades certainly have his team's number in the past three games, and he is looking forward to watching the Renegades chase a second consecutive title the rest of the week.
Southern California got the rest of the afternoon off and will play the East Cobb Yankees at 5:15 today in a showdown of the only two remaining unbeaten teams.
"We need to come out with a lot of energy. We can't come out lethargic, or we will get beat," Collins said. "We just need to play our game and execute by getting guys over and hitting ground balls with guys on third and less than two outs. That is the key to winning the game.".