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Lake County Sentinel
Madison takes advantage of big inning to stop Red Raiders 9-4  

(EASTLAKE, OH) — The Madison Blue Streaks (3-4) took on the Painesville Harvey Red Raiders (1-6) on Thursday in a special game for all involved as it was played in Eastlake at Classic Auto Group Park, home of the Lake County Captains.
The game featured senior pitcher Will Henderlich take the mound for Madison, while senior pitcher Christian Rael got the nod for the Red Raiders.

The game started off with a bang in the top of the first as Henderlich, also Madison’s leadoff hitter bombed a ball deep to left banging off the wall for a double. Sophomore right fielder Dom Lawrence drove in Henderlich with a single up the middle of the field. Lawrence then stole second base, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Sophomore shortstop Ben Amos batting third in the lineup for Madison was able to drive home Lawrence on a sacrifice fly, giving the Blue Streaks an early 2-0 lead. The inning almost got out of hand as Harvey pitcher Christian Rael was struggling to find his rhythm. He walked junior third baseman Seth Negin, hit sophomore DH Alexander Davis, and walked junior left fielder Jack Harrison to load the bases, but was able to get out of the inning as senior catcher Tyler Wolfe popped out to end the inning.

Harvey responded immediately in the bottom half of the inning senior shortstop Blake Brozic singled with two out and no one on, bringing up senior catcher Conner Bates who was hitting in the cleanup spot. Bates blasted a ball to left field off the wall, nearly hitting a home run, scoring Brozic as Bates settled for a double. Bates took third on a wild pitch and then was awarded home after a balk by Blue Streaks Henderlich. The bottom of the first ended with the game all tied up 2-2.

The top of the second again saw the Red Raiders in trouble again as Madison’s Henderlich reached base on a throwing error, Lawrence singled again, and junior second baseman Nolan Thomas took first after being hit by a pitch. With bases loaded, two outs and Seth Negin at the plate. Rael delivered a pitch and Conner Bates caught Henderlich too far off of the base by rifling down a strike to freshman third baseman Aidan Englehart who put the tag on Henderlich for the third out, avoiding a potential big inning.

The Blue Streaks took a 3-2 in the third as Seth Negin walked again to begin the frame. Harvey’s Rael then walked Davis. A fielder’s choice had runners at the corners with two outs. Negin then scored on a wild pitch by Christian Rael giving the lead back to Madison.

Henderlich had a quick bottom of the third, going one, two, three only throwing eight pitches in the inning.

The Red Raiders once again tied the game in the bottom of the fourth and again off the backs of Blake Brozic, Conner Bates, and with the help of some pitching issues from Henderlich. Brozic singled to right field. Henderlich was then called for two consecutive balks moving Brozic to third with Bates at the plate, he singled to left driving in Brozic, tying the game at 3-3. After another balk that put Bates on second, the umpire explained to the Blue Streaks pitcher why he kept getting called for a balk. After the interaction, Henderlich wasn’t called for a balk the rest of the game. The inning ended 3-3.

The game was busted open by the Blue Streaks in the top of the sixth inning. Harvey’s Christian Rael was close to the pitch limit at 118 after five innings and was replaced by sophomore pitcher Joey Dialfredi to start the sixth. Dialfredi struggled, walking the first batter of the inning Dom Lawrence. Amos then doubled. A slew of walks, two runs scored, and bases loaded, brought Harvey head coach Ryan Delaney to the mound to relive Dialfredi in favor of sophomore Trent Hull. Hull didn’t fare much better as he walked the first batter he faced adding another Blue Streak run. With bases still loaded Madison freshman center fielder Evan Smith singled, driving in two runs. Lawrence then drove home Wolfe on a ground out. After the dust settled, the damage was done and the Blue Streaks batted around opening up a 9-3 lead.

The Red Raiders were able to score a run in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single by Englehart to cut the Blue Streak lead to 9-4.

The coaches were able to get some younger players some game time in the top and bottom of the seventh inning, giving them the experience of playing at Classic Park. The game ended 9-4 as the Blue Streaks earned their fourth victory of the year (4-5), while Harvey dropped to 1-7.

After the game Madison coach Brian Tipton was asked what the win meant to him as the game was played at Classic Park. “First a couple of things, I’d like to thank the Captains for having us, it means everything to the boys. Today I’m just proud of the guys, we had a lot opportunities early. We had bases loaded in the first two innings, we had guys on third it seemed like all day and we couldn’t get that big run. Their kid (Christian Rael) threw a heck of a game. He made big pitches in big moments and their team played solid defense, they (Harvey) played a great game as well.” “We were able to keep the inning going (bottom of the sixth) and score some runs and that’s the stuff I love and it was big.” “We had an opportunity to get all the guys on the field which is a special thing for everybody. These guys have done a great job all year. They are appreciating wins and working hard.”

Henderlich, who picked up the complete game win and had 13 strikeouts in the game, was asked if it was his favorite game so far this season. “It’s pretty close. I had 16 strikeouts in Myrtle Beach. The only thing is I love coming out and having fun. I trust my teammates behind me. I just come out and throw strikes and it all works out.” He said with a giant smile on his face. When asked what the umpire said to him about the balks. “He explained that I was stepping on the rubber, ball in the glove, then I was taking it out (before a pitch). So I adjusted” he said with a laugh. Will has already committed to play baseball next year for Baldwin Wallace.

When Bates was asked how the Raiders played he commented, “On a team level, we have really been busting our butts in practice. It was a really cool experience playing out here. It’s my first time playing here. We had a really good start from our starter Christian (Rael). On a personal level I just wanted to get the bat on the ball. I really just wanted to hit that ball.” I said there is a lot of really good senior leadership on the team, but that he seems to be the one to step up big in the leadership role. Bates and Owen College commit went on to say, “I think me, Blake, and Christian, we all take a different role in the senior leadership. My biggest thing here is I see the potential in all the guys here and I just embrace that. I know every player here has something special in them I just really try to embrace that at bring it out on them in the game.”

Players of the Game

Madison- Will Henderlich- 7.0 IP, 13 K, 3 BB, 6 H, 4 runs allowed, 3 earned

Harvey- Conner Bates- 2-3, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 SB.

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​POSTED 04/14/2022 02:58
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Madison senior pitcher Will Henderlich .                                 Photo by Joey Schneider
Harvey senior pitcher Christian Rael.                                      Photo by Joey Schneider
Madison senior catcher Tyler Wolfe.                                        Photo by Joey Schneider