WOODSTOCK – Woodstock thought it experienced a rough second inning when Belvidere batted around, scoring four runs with only one hit.
It was nothing compared to what the Blue Streaks handed right back to Belvidere. They batted for about a half hour, with each spot in the order coming up twice. At one point, there were seven consecutive singles and four hitters each had a pair of hits in that inning.
“We caught fire, it was nice,” said Woodstock catcher Eric Bell, who had two hits and an RBI In the 14-run outburst. “It’s a good change from last year. The whole team starts to feel it and we started cracking. It’s nice.”
The Streaks rode that big inning to a 17-7 five-inning victory Monday at Emricson Park in their season opener. Jace Pohlman ripped a two-out single to right-center field in the bottom of the fifth to end the game with a 10-run lead.
“We were just having fun and playing well and seeing the ball well off the pitcher’s hand,” Woodstock center fielder Jordan Sumner said. “We got in the huddle before the inning and I told the guys, ‘It’s only the second inning, don’t worry about it.’ That’s a first for this team.”
Woodstock (1-0) started the inning with an out, but the next 11 batters reached base without an error, two on walks and nine singles. Sumner started a string of seven consecutive singles and later ripped a three-RBI triple.
“And nothing was outstanding power to the gaps,” Streaks coach John Oliveira said. “Just everybody staying on the ball and just trying to put the ball in play and let their legs do some work, which was fun.”
Alex Ferguson (1-0) got the win, although he walked four in three innings. Three of those walks, one infield hit and three errors helped the Bucs (0-1) grab a 4-1 lead in the top of the second. The Streaks’ ace allowed only two hits and struck out four.
“He had some pitches he threw well and had some other pitches that he left up,” Oliveira said. “It’s his first outing, we knew that might happen. He had the same thing happen last year. When he starts to get himself back in rhythm, he’ll be OK.”
Sumner, Bell, Austin Butts and Bradon Abt each had two hits in the big inning. Although there were two Belvidere errors, neither contributed to any of the runs scoring.
“We weren’t ready to play,” Bucs coach Andrew Walters said. “I hate using excuses, I had guys who were ineligible to play, so we were proving a point today. I got 19 guys and 11 were eligible.”
Walters did not say how many starters and said it was a team rule, not a school rule, that had been violated.