GALION — On the evening of Friday July, 6, the residents of Galion were preparing themselves for the 2018 edition of the Pickle Run Festival and the players for the Graders were looking to get back to their winning ways from earlier in the season.
Galion would be playing host to the visiting Richmond Jazz in doubleheader action last Friday evening, looking to snap a seven-game losing streak. The Graders would accomplish the feat, defending their home field in the first game of the double-dip and winning by a final of 4-1.
Henry Martinez, a newer member of the Galion squad, did everything in his power as the starting pitcher in game number one to end the skid. Martinez would pitch himself a gem to the tune of a complete game (seven innings) on the mound while only allowing four hits and one earned run, walking just one batter and striking out a remarkable 14 Jazz hitters en route to the victory. Martinez began the game with seven consecutive strike outs and would not allow a hit until the top of the third inning when Richmond scored their only run and recorded two of their four total hits for the contest.
Offensively for the hometown team, four players provided the spark that fueled the win at the plate. As a team, Galion finished 9/28 at the dish with nine hits, four runs scored, four driven in, walked twice and struck out four times while leaving eight runners on the base path.
Seamus Kenneally finished the first game against the Jazz with a pair of singles, a run scored and a stolen base. Todd Sekowski posted a well-round stat line, belting a single and a double, scoring two runs, driving a run in and stealing a pair of bases. Jacob Reimold would continue his hot-hitting ways of late, delivering a pair of singles, two RBI and a run scored. Juan De La Cruz appeared to be getting back on track in the box, ripping two singles and a double while driving in a run for the Graders.
Both teams began the game quietly and would eventually attempt to get things kick-started in the third. After the Jazz finally figured out a way to hit a pitch from Martinez, the Graders came to the dish down 1-0 in the bottom of the frame. Kenneally would reach base via a two-out single and eventually would move all the way to third after a throwing error by the catcher on a steal attempt went awry. Sekowski delivered Kenneally across the plate to put the home team on the board and hopefully boost a rally. Sekowski was also off and running on the base path, stealing both second and third bases in one trip around the bags. Reimold stepped up and brought in Sekowski with a single to send up De La Cruz. Juan would continue the streak of singles to put runners at first and second with two down. Michael Rodriquez would be issued a walk to load the bases but a flyout to first base by Christopher Jordan ended the potential threat but with Galion moving ahead by a tally of 2-1.
Again, the offenses were quiet until the home-half of the fifth. A lead-off double by Sekowski put the Graders in business with three outs to work with this time. After a wild pitch moved him to third, he was brought in for the run on another Reimold single. A failed pick-off attempt at first advanced Reimold into scoring position at second with still nobody out. Juan made certain to add the insurance run as he ripped a single to score Reimold and advance to second on the throw into the infield and put the score at the eventual final of 4-1.
Galion Graders 11, Richmond Jazz 9
GALION — Game number two between these two squads was a bit more of a slugfest which would end in favor of the hometown Graders; 11-9. With the victory, Galion improved back to .500 at 11-11 overall on the season.
Jose De La Cruz got the nod as the starter but went only 2⅓ innings, allowing four hits and six runs (four earned) while walking six batters. Bucyrus native Gavin Lewis would come on in relief and finish after 3⅓ innings on the hill, scattering three hits and giving up three runs (two earned) while walking four and fanning two. Galion product Mac Spears earned another save on Friday, finishing the final 1⅓ innings for Galion and allowing just three walks. The three pitchers for the Graders combined to issue 13 total walks in the conclusion of the doubleheader.
Kenneally and Reimold began the onslaught with singles and after a Juan De La Cruz homer, the Graders found themselves in the driver’s seat after one by a score of 3-0. Despite the Jazz posting two up the board in the top of the second, Galion would still hold the lead heading into the bottom of the frame.
The Graders made sure to get on the scoreboard early and often. Four hits in the bottom of the second, a lead-off single by Jordan and three RBI doubles by Donato, Kenneally and Sekowski would stretch the Galion lead to 6-2 moving forward. Richmond determined that it was time to ignite some offense, scoring four runs on just three hits, thanks in large part to two Graders errors in the frame to tie the contest up at 6-6. After tacking on a run scored by Reimold in the bottom of the inning, Galion managed to move narrowly back on top; 7-6.
In the fourth and fifth innings, the Jazz would post two additional runs while Galion proceeded to tack on four more to put the contest at 11-8. With only six outs remaining, Richmond scored one in the top of the sixth, despite leaving the bases loaded which included the go-ahead run, the Jazz would go quietly in the seventh to fall; 11-9.
Galion scored their 11 runs on 13 hits and stranded just three runners on the base path throughout the contest, all coming in the bottom of the fourth. For Richmond, it was nine runs across on just seven hits while leaving 12 runners on base. In a sloppy game on defense, the Graders finished with four miscues in the field while the Jazz had five.
Offensive statistics for Galion in game two were: Team- 13/28, 11R, 10RBI, SB, 3BB, 3K, 3LOB; Austin Hathaway- 1B, RBI; Kenneally- 1B, 2B, 2R, RBI; Sekowski- 2B, RBI; Reimold- 1B, 2B, 2R, RBI, SB; Juan De La Cruz- HR (4th of the season), 2RBI, R; Rodriquez- RBI; Jordan- 2-1B, 2R; Cole Andrews- 1B, 2R and Donato- 1B, 2-2B, 3RBI, 2R.
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