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Home run robbery sparks Raiders in 7-1 win over Bullets
Home Talent

By Natalie Dillon


BELLEVILLE — Matt Everson robbed Everett Johnson of a solo home run in the bottom of the third and then led off a three-run inning with an infield single, as Belleville went on to defeat Blanchardville 7-1 Sunday, July 7. 

Despite the final score, the Bullets began the game with momentum. Starting pitcher Hunter Enloe struck out the first two batters in seven pitches and got Everson to ground out to second for a 1-2-3 inning.

Blanchardville hit Belleville starting pitcher Steffen Mello hard with two lineouts to shortstop and a single to right field but were unable to score a run in the first inning.

After another three-up, three-down frame from Enloe, the Bullets threatened in the second. Drew Schliem led off with a single between third and shortstop. After two outs, Carson Kurschner kept the inning alive with a single to right, and Cole Breuer drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases for the top of the order in Brooks Chandler. Mello escaped the jam by getting Chandler to strike out on a 3-2 pitch low and away.

The third inning appeared to be scoreless just like the first two, as Enloe and Mello retired their opponents with little difficulty. That’s when Johnson got a hold of a two-out pitch and sent it deep to center field. Instead of Blanchardville going ahead 1-0 with a solo shot, Everson leapt over the temporary fence to rob the home run. Despite the Bullet bench and fans arguing that Everson dropped the ball when he landed, the umpires ruled it an inning-ending catch. The defensive play was the spark that the Raiders needed offensively.

Everson then led off the top of the fourth with an infield single to shortstop. Mello broke his bat but still reached with a hit deep in the 5-6 hole. Brock Gilkes then came through with an RBI single to left. As Cooper Dreyfus’s throw went home in an attempt to throw Everson out, Mello went from first to third.

Enloe struck out Ludlum, but Drew Haack hit a bullet under the legs of Kyle Kleppe at third to score Mellow. Derek Baumgartner then drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases for Jacob Sheahan. Enloe got him to pop up, but the ball fell between Kurschner in left and Chandler at second, giving Belleville a 3-0 lead after four.

The Raiders were poised to add on in the top of the sixth. Another ball fell between Kurschner and Chandler, allowing Gilkes to reach on an error. After a fielder’s choice, Haack once again singled through the left side and Baumgartner walked to load the bases. This time, Sheahan grounded into a 6-2 force out at home and Chandler covered the ground between him and Kurschner to grab a pop out.

But just as they did in the fourth, the Raiders sent eight batters to the plate and put up a crooked number in the seventh. Sam Urquhart led off with a single to right and was awarded second on a pick-off attempt that went out of play. Mello walked, and Gilkes ripped another RBI single to left. Although Enloe struck out Ledlum for the second out, Haack tallied yet another RBI hit through the right side. Baumgartner had the dagger in a two-RBI double to deep left center that neither Bullet outfielder could track.

Blanchardville looked to respond in the bottom of the frame, as Chandler hit a two-out single up the middle on the first pitch of his at bat. Belleville turned to relief pitcher Andrew Nimtz, but Jameson Johnson attacked him early for a single to left. Kyle Kleppe walked on four straight pitches, loading the bases for Everett Johnson. Nimtz escaped the inning unscathed, as he got Everett Johnson on a dropped third strike and Urquhart stepped on the plate for the force out.

Nimtz struggled with command in the eighth and ninth, walking four combined batters. His full-count walk to Everett Johnson loaded the bases, prompting another pitching change to Joey McNaught.

Down in the count, Schliem spoiled the Raiders’ shutout with a sacrifice fly to center. The Bullets had the chance to put up a bigger rally, as Riley Gould walked to load the bases once again. But McNaught bore down to strike out Dreyfus to end the game.

Gilkes, Haack and Baumgartner supplied all of Belleville’s offense, going a combined 5-for-10 with four walks and five RBIs. Mellow pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win. He struck out five and walked two.

Enloe gave up seven runs in the loss. He struck out nine but walked seven. Schliem led the Bullet offense, going 2-for-3 with a walk and RBI. Kleppe also recorded two hits.