Franklin County’s baseball trip to Union County came after a late invitation.
Once there, though, the Wildcats wasted little time getting started.
Jake Schnecker sent the second pitch of the ballgame over the left-field scoreboard for a lead-off home run, setting the tone as the Wildcats ran away with a 17-1 victory in five innings.
“I was pretty happy with how they hit today,” said Franklin County coach Tony Windle, who said he is a Richmond High School graduate. “We had good batting practice yesterday inside, but they did well.”
The Wildcats (5-1) took advantage of four free bases via walks and hit-batsmen to push three runs across in the top of the first.
Bryce Fields gave the Patriots an energy boost in the bottom of the frame, slamming a two-out home run that was called fair after initial hesitation by Fields.
Hunter Miller and Shane Mosley drew walks, but Franklin County pitcher Winston Kunkel escaped the jam with a key strikeout, finishing the game with five.
It was all Wildcats from there: eight runs in the second, two in the third, three in the fourth and one in the fifth.
Schnecker and Dusty Foreman both had three hits and both homered, while Skyler McCool had a double and a triple, Brady Meier had two hits, Brett Ortman doubled and Cameron Meyers also singled.
“Union County’s always a pretty good ballclub,” Windle said. “We jumped on them early, saw some head drops every once in a while. When you see that, it pumped us up.”
Union County was scheduled to play National Trail, but the Blazers had to make up a conference game.
It was an unfamiliar feel for the Patriots (3-1), who last lost by the run rule in the 2012 regional against Park Tudor.
Fields and Shane Mosley each had two hits, while Mosley also tripled. Andrew Stansberry and Clint Spaeth each singled for the Patriots.
Fields started on the mound and went two innings, while Jake Stout pitched three innings in relief.
The Patriots will have to have a short memory as they travel today to Northeastern for a key Tri-Eastern Conference match-up. Both teams are 1-0 in TEC play.
“That Northeastern team is every bit as good as that team right there,” Union County coach Jeff Mathews said. ” … This team, we’re going to see us play real good. We’re going to see us play real bad. Hopefully tomorrow’s a real good day.”