Dark and ominous clouds rolled in from the north Monday night at North Park as the Junction City Redbirds squared off against Riley 2 in the first of two scheduled games between the two on the night.
Junction City was the visiting team during the first matchup and quickly added a run when Truman Fortner ran toward home on a wild pitch. His run was the first of 10 to cross the plate for the Redbirds in the four inning game.
“I'm just happy for the boys,” said coach Rich Maltby. “You know, these boys are getting a chance to play ball, play what they practice and showing what their hard work is coming to fruition.”
Solid pitching by Kaleb Zurmely and heads up defensive plays limited scoring opportunities for Riley in the first inning. One two runs cross in the second and three in the third as players fought for each other and the perfect record.
First baseman Davidson Schick dugout a ball tossed from across the field by Fortner from third base for the second out in the bottom of the second stopping the Riley momentum.
Offensively, the Redbirds were led by some big bats. Catcher Clark Newey hit two singles scoring three runs on the night to lead the team in RBIs. Newey would score twice himself.
“He's a great kid, he can hit,” Maltby said of Newey. “He only bats at the bottom of my lineup because I think of him as a second lead off hitter. He can hit fast pitches, slow pitches — it doesn't matter. He puts in the work and tonight it showed and paid off.”
Six of the 10 players scored at least once on the night as the team began to celebrate and loosen up in the dugout.
After the game, the teams took about a 15 minute break to eat, rehydrate and allow the umpires to change. The time was also enough for Mother Nature to rare into action.
As the first pitches of the second game were starting to be thrown a large gust front moved in on the complex sending dirt across the field like the diamond was briefly engulfed in a sandstorm.
One Riley run made it across the plate for the early lead for the visiting team before a dropped third strike resulted in an easy toss and grab between Newey and first baseman Lucas LaBrie for the first out.
As the third batter prepared for the third pitch to come his way the game was called out of safety for the players and families surrounding the complex.
It is uncertain of the two will finish the game as of printing.