Mustangs coach Jason Kielholz hopes any rust his team played with during its first game in 18 days was knocked off during an 18-5 loss.
The Marion County baseball team went on an 18-day hiatus between games due to a slew of rain outs.
Understandably, the Mustangs played with a little bit of rust when they returned to the diamond Monday.
After an 18-5 five-inning home loss to Van-Far, coach Jason Kielholz hopes it all got knocked off.
“Just getting back out here (was important),” Kielholz said. “I've got a young team with not a lot of experience or playing time. The more we play, the better we're going to get.”
Van-Far (3-0) didn't take long getting on the scoreboard in the first inning. Four of the first five Indian batters walked as Marion County starter Ty Bowdish searched for the zone, and Riley Culwell came through with a 2-RBI single to make it 3-0.
“We walked a lot of people today, and that's something that we didn't do in the first two games,” Keilholz said of his team's 16 total free passes. “That comes down to mentally not being ready and then also just being outside and then back inside the gym — that can really, really wear on you.”
Marion County (0-3) first baseman Alex Huffman made a smart play to limit another Indians rally in the second.
With runners on second and third and nobody out, Huffman received a throw to first for a putout and alertly threw home to catcher Case Wolfe, who tagged out Van-Far's Logan Wilson in a rundown.
“We turned two double plays, and Alex (Huffman) made a good catch at short in the last inning,” Keilholz said of his team's defense during the loss. “I think our defense is getting better. Outfield, we misplayed several balls but I think some of that's due to the wind and just not being out here taking fly balls.”
In the bottom half of the second, Brennan Nick landed a single to left field that scored Mackenzie Smith, who had reached on a walk and stole second. The score cut Marion County's deficit to 5-1.
But the Indians just kept on coming.
After neither squad scored in the third inning, Van-Far exploded for nine runs in the fourth. The rally was capped by a towering 3-run home run by Caden Wilburn that made the score 14-1.
The Indians sent 14 batters to the dish during the frame and scored eight runs with two outs.
Wolfe, who in relief recorded the first two outs, nearly worked his way out of the inning before the floodgates opened. He struck out the Indian's No. 3 hitter, Josh Hodde, and got the second out when Smith, who took over as catcher, pounced on a short dribbler and stepped on home plate for a force out.
Following that play, seven straight Indians reached base before Keilholz again turned to his bullpen and gave the ball to Huffman, who eventually stopped the bleeding with a strikeout.
An inning later, Van-Far's Brayden McMillen, who went 3-for-3 and reached base five times on the day, unloaded a two-out grand slam to push the visitors' lead to 17.
“When they got runners on, they hit the ball and put it in play and hit the ball out twice,” Keilholz said of his opponent. “They really capitalized on our mistakes.”
Marion County made up ground with four runs in the final inning — but by then, it was too little too late.
Sheldon Whetstone singled home Bowdish for the Mustangs' second run of the day, and Logan Sherfy smacked a double to score Wolfe and Whetstone. Eric Bonney capped the scoring with an RBI single that brought home Sherfy for Marion County's fifth run.
“We took some better approaches there in the last inning and put some better swings on it and put the ball in play and made things happen,” Keilholz said.
Wilson earned the win for Van-Far. He tossed three innings and allowed one unearned run. Bowdish, who surrendered five runs over two innings, was charged with the loss.
Whetstone led Marion County at the plate and reached base three times, while Sherfy went 2-for-3.
Van-Far outhit Marion County 11-9.
Van-Far 18, Marion County 5
Van-Far 320 94X X -- 18 11 1
Marion County 010 04X X -- 5 9 0
VAN-FAR (3-0) -- WP: Logan Wilson. Top hitter: Brayden McMillen 3-for-3 5 RBIs 2 walks
MARION COUNTY (0-3) -- LP: Ty Bowdish. Top hitters: Sheldon Whetstone 2-for-2 1 RBI, Logan Sherfy 2-for-3 2 RBIs