Sauget, Ill. - No. 4-seeded Rhodes earned its 30th win of the season after a 4-2 victory over No. 5-seeded Franklin to open the Central Regional on Thursday afternoon. The Lynx will take on the winner of Webster/Thomas More on Friday at 4:30 p.m. at GCS Credit Union Ballpark in Sauget, Ill.
Will Heurtin's defensive play in the first inning was the first exciting play of the game as Nick Bosma dug out a throw from the shortstop for the second out of the inning. A solo home run by Franklin's Sam Claycamp, his ninth round-tripper of the season, plated the first run of the day, but the Lynx defense came through again the top of the second after Franklin tried to add to their lead on a double to left field.
Brady John's throw from left to Heurtin at the cutoff and finally to Jacob Telli for the tag at home ended the inning.
Rhodes athletics photo
Paul Giacomazzi's hit up the middle allowed Levi Greenberg to cross home to tie the game in the bottom of the third. Heurtin's single allowed him to reach third after a hit up the middle by Ryan Palermo. The Lynx then took a 2-1 lead when John singled to the shortstop and the throw to first went off Franklin's glove, allowing Greenberg to round third and score. A dropped fly ball with two outs in the top of the seventh allowed the Grizzlies to tie the game. Rhodes got out of the inning when Alex Garrett took the mound. Garrett entered the game with the bases loaded and with two outs caught Franklin pinch-hitter Alex Mis swinging.
Franklin brought in Mitchell Caster in the bottom of the eighth as the Lynx earned a walk and hit-by-pitch to lead of the half inning. Heurtin's sac bunt to third allowed Lange and Telli to get into scoring position before Franklin went for the intentional walk on Palermo, but a wild pitch on the first throw to the designated hitter allowed Rhodes to take a one-run lead. A hit into shallow center was dropped for a hit over the shortstop's shoulder, allowing Rhodes to take a 4-2 lead. Bosma came in and earned his 15th save of the season after the Lynx defense rolled a double play to end the game.
Trey Sledge threw 117 pitches across six and two-thirds innings and allowed just one earned run. Garrett earned his fourth win and allowed just one hit and zero walks over his 1.1 innings of work.
Frank Pokdul and Ryan Bixler, who came into the game with 16 and 14 home runs, respectively, went a compbined 1-for-5 for the Grizzlies, who lost for just the fourth time on the season.