By Dan Hardenbrook
A beautiful day for baseball and a pair of strong pitching performances led the Newberry Indians to their first win of the 2023 season on Monday night at the Curt Knierim Field. Matthew Rahilly and Matthew Luebkert teamed up to lock down the opposing Brimley Bays while the top of the Indians lineup led an offensive charge that scored a season high in runs in the 11-3 victory.
Rahilly has not only been Newberry’s top arm this spring, but he’s also emerged as one of the premier pitchers in the conference. He showed that again in the start against Brimley, pitching three innings, giving up just two hits and no earned runs, while striking out nine Brimley batters.
With the Indians looking ahead to other contests later in the week, they turned to Luebkert in relief. He struck out seven hitters in three innings of work, also giving up no runs.
At the plate, Newberry’s top three hitters in the lineup–Stephen Allen, Ethan Salter, and Rahilly–each reached base four times in the win, scoring eight runs. Sebastian Patterson (running for Ethan Pavey), Jude Taylor, and Diego Caballero also scored for the Indians.
Game two featured high hopes for a sweep to start the week, but controversy struck and ended the Indians day with a loss.
With Brimley running desperately low on pitching and out of substitutions on their bench, Newberry put together a strong fifth inning to take 9-7 lead. At the top of a lineup that had been scoring all day due up in the 6th, the Indians looked in control of the contest.
Brimley managed to load up the bases and tie the game in the bottom of the fifth when Newberry turned to Caballero and Taliesan Cox to pitch for the very first time–saving a more experienced pitcher for the upcoming sixth inning.
But the sixth inning never came. When the Bays scratched another run across the plate, they stormed the field in celebration and the umpires walked off, leaving the Indians stunned and confused.
Questioned as to why the game was ending, the umpires said that the game had reached its time limit (though the MHSAA does not have time limit rules for regular season games) and that they did not believe there was enough time to start and play the 6th inning. More than an hour of daylight remained, and the Indians best hitters were coming up.
Brimley was also caught using a hitter multiple times in the lineup, but when confronted the umpires ruled that the mistake was caught too late. The evening ended suddenly and in disappointment as the Bays stole game two, 10-9.