Justin Miller (center in batting helmet) is congratulated by his Martin Oil teammates following his two-run home run on Tuesday. Martin Oil defeated ReMax Realty 11-1 in five innings at Vets Field. (The Daily Herald/Stacey Manning)
The semifinal George B. Kelley Federation series between Martin Oil and ReMax Realty has consisted of two dead opposites in the opening two contests of the best-of-three series thus far. Monday, ReMax limited Martin Oil to one hit and no runs, while the Martin Oil defense committed six errors and the pitchers hit five batters in a 10-0 five-inning ReMax win.
On Tuesday, the dice rolled the other way. Earnie Kelley held ReMax to one run on five hits, and the Martin Oil offense, on ice just a day before, ran red-hot, banging out 10 hits, that included a two-run home run and two-run double by Justin Miller and a two-run triple by Cameron Irvin in an 11-1 Martin Oil victory that lasted five innings.
While Kelley was slicing and dicing the ReMax line-up, even though not showing his best stuff, Martin Oil was able to do all their damage in just two innings to end the game via the 10-run mercy rule after five frames.
ReMax Realty, the top seed with a 19-3 record during the regular season, including 15-6 and 13-3 wins over Martin Oil, scored first. In the top of the second, Brent Milliron walked to begin the inning, moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Adam Johnson and to third on a stolen base. Designated hitter Jon Lawlor drove him in with a single to left. Martin oil saved further damage when Kelley induced a bases-loaded fly out to get out of the inning.
Martin Oil woke up in the bottom of the third, after going the first seven innings of the semifinal series without a score.
Jimmy Watters got it started with a single up the middle. Miller worked ReMax starting pitcher Matt Gehret to a full three-ball, two-strike count, then lined a shot that was just fair over the left field fence to jump Martin Oil into a 2-1 lead they would never relinquish. Jake Manning singled and Brian Hostler pushed him all the way around the bases with a double
Martin Oil then took advantage of back-to-back errors by ReMax shortstop Zach Frederick, the first on a grounder by Nate Gray, allowed Hostler to score, the second brought Gray home for a 5-1 Martin Oil lead.
“We got some solid pitching from Earnie Kelley, and we played some good defense for a change,” explained Martin Oil manager Ed Davis. “That really helped and then we got some timely hitting. It never hurts our defense for them to know Earnie Kelley is on the mound throwing strikes. They get a lot of confidence playing behind him.”
Two innings later, Martin Oil put the game away with six more scores.
In the top of the inning, ReMax attempted a comeback putting three runners on base. However Martin Oil catcher Jake Manning threw Anthony Williams out trying to steal second base and with two runners on, Kelley reached back to end the inning with a strike out.
After Gehret got the first out of the fifth inning, Gray ripped a double. Kelley helped himself by singling to score Gray. Trey Mock singled to center, ahead of Cameron Irvin who rattled a triple to right center to plate both Jared Coho, courtesy running for Kelley and Mock.
With Jon Lawlor switching from designated hitter to pitcher beginning with Irvin, Chad Coho popped up to second for the second out of the inning, but Lawlor hit Watters with a pitch and Miller doubled to score Irvin and Watters. Jake Manning drew a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. With Martin Oil needing just one more tally to put the mercy rule into effect, Hostler reached out and rapped a single to left to score Manning with the 11th run and the victory.
“All season, the first three times we played ReMax, we just didn’t hit worth a hoot,” said Davis. “Tonight, it seemed the game was off at the start, the same way-we didn’t do much. Then in the third, we got the single from Jimmy Watters and then Justin took the ball out for a home run. That seemed to ignite our guys and they made some errors and we were able to take advantage and just kept on hitting the ball.
“We have been hitting good all year, just not against ReMax.”
Game three of the series will take place tonight at Vets Field at 8:30 p.m. following the deciding game of the Corporal Miller/Barkman Oil series, which is also tied one game each.
Martin Oil 11 ReMax Realty 1, 5 inn.
ReMax – Sheedy, lf, 2-0-0; Frederick, ss, 2-0-0; Williams, 3b, 2-0-1; Perehenic, c, 1-0-0; Milliron, cf, 2-1-1; Johnson, 1b, 2-0-0; Gehret, p, 0-0-0; Lawlor, dh-p, 2-0-1; Perry, 2b, 2-0-2; Hammaker, rf, 2-0-0. TOTALS 17-1-5.
Martin Oil – Ja. Manning, c, 3-1-1; Hostler, cf, 4-1-2; Gray, ss, 2-2-1; Kelley, p, 3-0-1; Hinton, cr, 0-0-0; J. Coho, cr, 0-1-0; Mock, 2b, 3-1-1; Kovac, rf, 0-0-0; Irvin, dh, 3-1-1; C. Coho, 3b, 3-0-0; Watters, lf, 2-2-1; Miller, 1b, 3-2-2. TOTALS 26-11-10.
Score by Innings
ReMax Realty 010 00 1- 5-2.
Martin Oil 005 06 11-10-0.
2B: Hostler, Gray, Miller.
RBI: Lawlor, Miller 4, Irvin 2, Hostler, Kelley.
SO: Gehret 5.
BB: Lawlor 1, Kelley 5.
WP: Kelley LP: Gehret.