A pair of big innings, especially a four-run first set the tone for a 10-7 Valparaiso Legion baseball win over the David City Seniors on June 20.
Valpo followed up that hot start with five more runs in the sixth then hold off a late David City rally for the victory.
DC came as close as 4-3 after five before Valparaiso busted it back open in the sixth. Joseph Reimers smashed a grand slam giving his side hope in the seventh, but it was too little, too late.
"We had a bad start in the first inning and gave up some runs," said head coach Steve Rerucha. "Jack (Jakub) had a little bit of trouble with his control. Usually he's on the mark a little better. In the second inning, he had a nice inning. Valparaiso hit the ball well. I don't know what their total hits were. I know after that fifth, sixth inning we changed pitchers and they got on Andy (Lyons) quite fast."
Trouble started for Jakub when he hit the second batter of the game. Valparaiso capitalized with back-to-back singles, scored a run on walk with the bases loaded then made it 2-0 on a throwing error.
Jakub was nearly out of the jam after a fly out, but a two-single brought two more across the plate and had David City chasing the rest of the way.
Reimers started a mini-rally with a two-out walk, moved to second on another free pass then was at third when an error loaded the bases. He came in on the third walk of the inning, cutting the deficit to 4-1.
The two sides then went scoreless until Reimers led off the third with a single, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch then came in on a sacrifice fly to right by Simon Krenk.
The bats went cold again until the bottom of the fifth when Andy Lyons blasted a line drive to center field.
Krenk brought him in on a two-out RBI making the score 4-3.
In the top of the sixth, the stagnant Valpo offense the woke up for the first time since the first inning.
One double, three singles and two walks led to the visiting team scoring five runs. Valparaiso added one more in the seventh to take a 10-3 lead.
In the bottom half, David City made a final charge to get back into the game.
Will Danielson led off with a double followed by a walk to Lyons and Dan Stara taking pitch off the shoulder.
Reimers brought all three and himself in when he launched a pitch out of the ball park for a grand slam and suddenly just a three-run deficit. But the next three David city hitters went down in order, ending the comeback as abruptly as it had started.
"I would have been more pleased if we would have hit a little bit better than we did earlier in the game," Rerucha said. "Their pitcher did a really nice job of controlling and hitting his spots. They're a good ball club. They did a nice job."
Before rainouts changed the schedule, David City was planning on playing three games in five days. The possibility of a busy schedule forced Rerucha and the coaching staff to monitor pitch counts to conserve pitchers for later games.
That proved to be all for naught when games Friday and Sunday were canceled due to rain.
"You fight with the pitch count. Andy needs to start tomorrow so you need to pull him out, and Dan threw and got to 30, and if he goes over that he can't throw tomorrow," Rerucha said. "You fight with that. We're missing a couple starters. They both pitch."
While the final result wasn't what David City was looking for, there were some positives.
"We had some kids that don't normally play that came in and actually did a really nice job and played better than I thought they might," Rerucha said. "That was a plus. I just wish we would have hit a little bit more consistently at certain times when we had runners on."
Michael Rerucha and Logan Helgoth were the two players that were inserted into the starting line up.
According to Steve Rerucha, Michael had never played short stop until the game against Valpo.
"You could tell in warmups he was a little nervous," coach Rerucha said. "He did alright. It's good experience for him. You never know when you're going to have use somebody there again. There's some pluses for the night and there's also some things that you wish you would have done better."
Games against Twin River and Albion scheduled for Friday and Sunday were both rained out.
David City played against Malcolm on Tuesday but the game ended after the print deadline for the Banner-Press.
The next game for the Seniors will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Twin River in the Twin River/Silver Creek Tournament.
In the same tournament, David City will play Valparaiso in a rematch on Saturday and an opponent to be decided on Sunday.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net