By Joey Hudson
The Northfield Raiders defeated the Rochester Century Panthers 6-5 on Thursday, May 18th on Youth Night at Sechlar Park. Spencer Mellgren started on the mound for the Raiders, opposite Panthers starter Mike Ruff. There was some worry in the pregame warm-up when junior shortstop Jake Geiger took a bad hop off the nose and wasn’t able to play. Aaron Reisetter took over at third while Nolan Thompson slid over to shortstop in his absence.
The scoring started off in the top of the second when Blake Baudoin reached on an error and advanced to second on a throw that got by Eschen at first. Baudoin was brought home by Panthers George Boyce on a hard ground ball to left field. The inning ended when Raiders third baseman Aaron Reisetter caught a hard-hit line drive to end the inning.
The bottom half of the second was led off by Austin Koep after he reached on an error by the shortstop. He moved onto third when Jake Eschen hit a ball that the second baseman couldn’t field cleanly either. Koep scored on a Charlie Monaghan fielder’s choice to the second baseman that got Eschen out at second. Nolan Thompson hit a ground ball that the shortstop bobbled and lost, moving Monaghan to third and Thompson to first. Monaghan got out on a trick play the Raiders tried where the intent was for Thompson to get into a pickle so Monaghan could score, but instead, Monaghan was tagged out and Thompson moved to third with two outs. Monaghan scored on a wild pitch in the dirt that got to the backstop giving the Raiders a 2-1 lead going into the third inning.
With one out in the bottom of the third Spencer Mellgren hit a line drive up the middle for a base knock and moved to second after Reisetter reached on an error. With two outs Austin Keop stepped up to the plate and launched a ball high into shallow right, but the right fielder couldn’t track it down well with gray skies, scoring Mellgren and Reisetter.
The top of the fourth was led off by Century second baseman Jerry Fletcher who singled to left field. That was followed up by a single to center from Esau, which was followed up by a one-run single from Peyton Milene making it a 4-2 ball game still in favor of the Raiders. That changed when Boyce hit a hard ground ball to right field, with two runners scoring on an errant throw to the plate. Tegan Mellgren came in to pitch in relief for his older brother Spencer and induced a groundout to end the top half of the inning, tied 4-4.
The bottom half of the fourth started out with two quick outs for the Raiders before senior catcher Gabe Sawyer drew a walk. The speedy Gavin Novotney came in to courtesy run for Sawyer and he quickly advanced to second on a wild pitch. He came around to score when Tegan Mellgren hit a hard ground ball to the opposite field. Senior Andy Block came into run for the pitcher Tegan Mellgren, and he came around to score when Spencer Mellgren hit a fly ball to right center for a triple, giving the Raiders a 6-4 lead.
The only batter to reach base in either the fifth or sixth innings for either team was Century center fielder/pitcher Peyton Milene who singled in the top of the fifth. The top of the seventh was led off with a single from Panthers shortstop Ryan Ohm on a hard ground ball up the middle that Nolan Thompson couldn’t make a play on after diving to field it. That was followed up by a single from Mike Ruff to right field. The first out of the inning came when Jerry Fletcher grounded into a fielder’s choice to Aaron Reisetter, who threw it to second but the Raiders weren’t able to turn two. After inducing a pop-out, Tegan Mellgren balked in a run to make it 6-5. Tegan was able to get Peyton Milene to pop up a foul ball behind Gabs Sawyer, who made a great play to end the game.
With the win the Raiders move to 12-2 in Big 9 play and increase their win streak to 11 games. Rochester Century falls to 3-7 in Big 9 play and stays second to last in the conference. The Raiders will play the Rochester Mayo Spartans on Monday in a doubleheader. The Raiders are one point ahead of Mayo in the Big9 standing so the conference will most likely come down to that doubleheader.