In the past, whenever the Stevens Point Area Senior High baseball team travels to Wisconsin Rapids, games are hotly contested and things don’t always go according to plan for the Panthers.
But Monday night, the fourth-ranked Panthers had no problems with their Wisconsin Valley Conference rival.
SPASH was able to scatter the ball across the field and ride strong defense as they routed the Raiders 12-1 in five innings at Witter Field.
Both teams play again today Tuesday before facing off again Thursday at Bukolt Park in Stevens Point.
“When we come to Rapids, we always play a team that plays tough and doesn’t make things easy for us,” SPASH coach Kraig Terpstra said. “So tonight with us scoring 12 runs on 12 hits, it is a bit surprising.”
After a scoreless first inning, the Panthers wasted little time gaining control over the next few frames. SPASH posted three runs in each of the next two innings for a 6-0 lead. The outburst was capped by a three-run home run by Andrew Ruzek in the third inning that plated Cal Giese and Mitch Mallek.
Ruzek finished with three hits and five RBIs.
Rapids was able to scratch across a run in the bottom of the fourth inning when Casey Esselman scored on a RBI single by Nick Jackan, but couldn’t manage to score any more.
“They (Point) are a talented, well-coached team,” Rapids coach Bob Gawlitta said. “We left our pitches up and they hit the ball, very well.”
SPASH quickly regained it’s 10-run margin as they scored twice in the fifth to conclude the scoring.
SPASH was powered by Giese, who pitched six innings and fanned five batters, while walking just two. Offensively, the Panthers were led by Mallek with a pair of doubles and two runs scored.
“The credit goes to my catcher (Mallek) for calling good pitches,” Giese said.
“We hit well, played good defense, and had good pitching and that puts a lot of pressure on the other team,” Mallek said.
Panthers 12, Raiders 1 (5 innings)
WP: Cal Giese. LP: Gabe Stoltz. SO- SP, Giese 8, Alex Lee 2; WR, Stoltz 1, Brandon Behrend 1. HR- SP, Andrew Ruzek. 2B- SP, Mitch Mallek (2), Aaron Nickel.
Records: Stevens Point 7-2 overall, 5-0 WVC, Wisconsin Rapids 4-4 overall, 2-2 WVC.