JOHNSTOWN - On an frigid mid-May night, Johnstown's Connor Rodecker kept his cool in several tight spots to lead Johnstown to a 13-4 win over Gloversville in a Foothills Council baseball game at Johnstown High School on Monday.
Rodecker allowed two hits, struck out 10, walked three and hit a batter in five innings of work to earn the win on the mound for the Sir Bills.
"[Rodecker] went deep in the pitch count with a lot of batters, but he battled back," Johnstown coach Aaron Mraz said. "He's a competitor out there."
Johnstown’s Connor Rodecker throws to the plate during Monday’s Foothills Council game against Gloversville at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)
Rodecker threw plenty of pitches in each of his five innings and Gloversville had runners on base in all but one of those innings.
However, Rodecker worked his way out of nearly every jam, allowing just two runs to score.
"Connor [Rodecker] did a good job," Gloversville coach Mike DeMagistris said. "We made him work into his pitch count, but he battled all night."
Rodecker also went 2-for-4 with a double, triple and two RBIs at the plate for Johnstown, which finished with 12 hits in the game.
After a scoreless first inning, Johnstown scored four times in the second inning.
Rodecker led off the inning with a double to left field before Jon Heroth and Mike Everest followed with back-to-back singles. Everest's single plated Rodecker for the game's first run.
Patrick Morrison then reached base on a dropped third strike before Richie Lee and Dan Nellis drew walks to load the bases.
Matt Szurek added a sacrifice fly for the Sir Bills, while Joe Nellis had an RBI single to make it 4-0.
After Rodecker put the Huskies down in order in the top of third, Rodecker opened the bottom of the inning with a triple and scored on the same play on an error.
Heroth then drew a walk, sending DeMagistris to the mound to replace starter Chris Rockefeller with David Vandenabeele.
"Chris [Rockefeller] is a good pitcher, but he struggled tonight," Mraz said. "We were patient at the plate against him.
Everest, who went 2-for-3, greeted Vandenabeele with a single to left field. Morrison followed with an RBI single to left before Richie Lee reached on an error. Dan Nellis, Szurek and Adam Caputo added singles in the inning for Johnstown, which scored five runs on six hits and three errors.
"[Johnstown] put the ball in play, and they made us make plays," DeMagistris said. "We just didn't make them. We haven't made the easy play all season."
Gloversville put two runners on after two Johnstown errors in the top of the fifth with Mike Fancher scoring the Huskies' first run when Vandenabeele reached on an error.
The Sir Bills answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning, to take a 13-1 lead.
Szurek and Joe Nellis had RBI singles in the inning for Johnstown.
"We put the ball in play, and capitalized when we had opportunities" Mraz said. "We played well."
In his final inning of work, Rodecker saw Gloversville load the bases in the top of the fifth with no outs on an infield single, two walks and an error.
The Huskies were only able to score once when Mike Murray, who led off the inning with an infield single, scored when Kevin Johnston reached on an error.
Rodecker worked his way out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts and a lineout to end his night.
"We weren't able to come up a hit when we needed to," DeMagistris said.
Lee worked two innings of scoreless relief for the Sir Bills, allowing just one hits, striking out three and walking one.
Dan Nellis, Joe Nellis, Szurek, Rodecker and Everest all finished with two hits for Johnstown, which is 7-3 in its last 10 games. Two of those losses coming against Scotia-Glenville last week.
"We've been playing well. We had a tough couple of losses to Scotia-Glenville," Mraz said. "We didn't win those games, but we played well though."
Johnston, Murray and Brad Mulligan all had singles for Gloversville, while leadoff hitter Justin Putnam drew three walks.
Gloversville was hampered by five errors and left nine runners on base.
"In our league, if you can't play defense, it's tough to win," DeMagistris said. "We've struggled defensively all season."
Johnstown (12-7 overall, 8-5 Foothills) will travel to Gloversville (6-11 overall, 4-9 Foothills) on Thursday for a 7 p.m. game at Husky Field.
Joe Nellis is expected to get the start for the Sir Bills.
"I'm sure we'll see their best on Thursday," DeMagistris said.
Johnstown 13, Gloversville 4
Gloversville000 112 0 - 4 3 5
Johnstown045 400 x - 13 12 4
Rockefeller, Vandenabeele (3) and Murray; Rodecker, Lee (6) and Caputo.