FARMINGTON — The Midland Redskins made the plays they needed to hold off a late charge from the Southern California Renegades for a 4-1 win in Game 19 of the Connie Mack World Series on Wednesday night at Ricketts Park.
Rodney Hutchison Jr. led the way for the Cincinnati-based Redskins (43-3), pitching six and two-thirds innings to pick up the win and save the Midland bullpen for the final two days of the tournament.
"Rodney Hutchison was fantastic tonight," Midland coach Dave Evans said. "He used all three of his pitches. He got a little tired at the end, but he worked hard. Last year, he had a tough time (at the series), and it was his goal to come out and pitch a great baseball game, and he sure did."
Midland jumped out to 2-0 lead when Luke Shilling drove in Luke Waddell and Ethan Stringer in the top of the first inning.
The Renegades (42-6-2) got on the board in the bottom of the third.
After Joey Schuyler led the inning off with a double, JT Navarro laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Schuyler to third. In the next at-bat, Tommy Anderson hit a deep fly ball to right field to score Schuyler. The high fly got past the outreached glove of Midland's Ethan Stringer, dropping for the hit, but Anderson came off the bag at second thinking the fly was caught and was tagged out.
Midland added to its lead in the top of the fifth.
With the bases loaded and one out, Ethan Skender hit a hard grounder up the middle to score Cody Scroggins and Waddell and extend the lead to 4-1.
Throughout the game, the Renegades struggled to get on base while Hutchison got his opposition to hit ground ball after ground ball.
"We weren't willing to take a walk," Renegades coach Si Pettrow said. "Their guy pitched great, but we weren't willing to take a walk, and we paid for it."
The Renegades finally threatened in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases with one out after Hutchison hit back-to-back batters. But a pop up and ground out, both to Midland second baseman Waddell, got the Redskins out of the inning unscathed.
"Defensively, in the infield, we were fantastic," Evans said. "I thought the play of the game was when Waddell made the play in the sixth inning with two outs to keep them from scoring."
The Renegades tried to put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth after getting runners on second and third and with the top of the order coming to the plate. Hutchison hit the next batter, Anderson, to load the bases and spark a pitching change for Midland.
Riley Cabral came in for the last out and struck out Tyler Akrom to get out of the bases-loaded jam and secure the 4-1 win for Midland.
"We got a few guys on, but didn't capitalize," Pettrow said. "We had two chances to score some runs, but (Midland) did a great job."
It was the first loss of the tournament for the Renegades. They will play the East Cobb Yankees, of Marietta, Ga., at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.
Pettrow said the key to the game will be scoring more runs than the Yankees (52-5).
"We've got to score one more run than they do," Pettrow said. "It's a simple baseball game, and you have to score one more run than the other team. We're going to try to make it happen and force the games on Friday night."
Midland will go up against Chicago's Prairie Gravel (26-6-2) in the nightcap, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. today.
"Gravel baseball is an outstanding program, well-coached, and they've been playing very well down here," Evans said. "They beat a really good D-BAT team — they embarrassed them. They've played extremely well here."
Leading hitter: Ethan Skender, 1B, BB, 2 RBIs
WP: Rodney Hutchison Jr.
SV: Riley Cabral
Southern California Renegades
Leading hittr: Tommy Anderson, 2B, RBI
LP: Quentin Longrie