The Franklin Admirals (7-10, 3-5) stunned the Ravenwood Raptors (13-4, 7-1) with a 4-1 win at home on Tuesday night, snapping an 11-game winning streak for RHS.
“It is a big win and helps us moving forward as a team,” said Franklin starting pitcher AJ Russell. “Coming off a few hard losses, it is a good win altogether.”
“This team is a team that is waiting to break out,” said Franklin head coach Wally Whidby. “It is a team that is a couple breaks away from having double-digit wins.”
“This is my tenth year in 11-AAA, and every game, no matter who you are playing, is going to be a tough contest,” said Ravenwood head coach Danny Borne. “We talk with our players about having to earn everything in this district. Their pitcher did a good job keeping the ball balanced, throwing a lot of strikes, and they got a couple of big hits.”
In the first inning, pitcher AJ Russell shut down the Raptors lineup, drawing a fly-out to center and a double play to the shortstop, 0-0.
The Admirals came out of the gate strong, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first on a bases loaded wild pitch and a hit by pitch, 2-0.
Ravenwood‘s offense struggled as Russell struck out the side in the top of the second to hold the score at 2-0.
Franklin’s offense continued to churn as it collected a two-run homer by Joseph Waters for his first dinger of the season to stretch the Admirals lead in the bottom of the second, 4-0.
“He is been struggling lately and just came back from surgery,” said Russell. “To see him get his first homer of the year felt good.”
“Joseph Waters is a special baseball player,” said Coach Whidby. “It is great to see the success he is having now.”
“I was basically trying to get my timing outside of the box,” said Waters. “I got a belt high fastball and just turned on it.”
Admirals pitcher Russell continued in his groove in the top of the third, recording a strikeout and two fly outs as the Raptors offense could not break through, 4-0.
Ravenwood pitcher Ben Schnisseur stopped the Franklin momentum in the bottom of the third, forcing a ground ball to third base and two pop outs to keep the score at 4-0.
Russell kept rolling in the top of the fourth, recording two strikeouts and a groundout to first to hold the Raptor offense at bay, 4-0.
In the bottom of the fourth, Ravenwood pitcher Alex Starling stalled the Franklin offense, producing a strikeout and collecting a fly out along with a fielder’s choice to hold the score at 4-0.
Russell continued to deal in the top of the fifth, recording a strikeout, catching a pop up for an out and forcing a ground ball to third as the Admirals continued to lead 4-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, Ravenwood pitcher Starling tallied a double play and a pop out to first, 4-0.
In the top of the sixth, Franklin pulled Russell after two outs with a no-hitter still in play.
“AJ is a fierce competitor,” said Coach Whidby. “He has great stuff and goes right after people. We are going to need his arm to be able to make a run at the end of the year.”
“Daniel Sherman and I had a good scouting report going in,” said AJ Russell. “I just went up there and hit my spots, made pitches that needed to be made and everything took care of itself.”
“Every time AJ gets on the mound, we know it is going to be exciting to watch,” said outfielder Joseph Waters. “AJ hits his spots and has that good velo and command of his pitches. We know he is just going to go out there and battle.”
After the pitching change, Franklin’s reliever was unable to keep the no hitter alive, giving up a run on a solo homer by Blake Bevis.
“He has got big power,” said Coach Borne. “Blake caught one and was able to lift it out of the yard.”
FHS pitcher Mason Swartz was able to keep the score at 4-1, recording a strikeout on the next batter.
In the bottom of the sixth, Starling continued to cause problems for the Franklin offense, recording a strikeout and forcing a groundout and fly out to keep the score at 4-1.
Swartz closed the door for the Admirals in the top of the seventh, collecting two strikeouts and drawing a line out to the shortstop to give Franklin the district win over Ravenwood, 4-1.
Ravenwood will travel to Summit on Thursday night.
“We have had a good run winning 11 in a row coming into tonight,” said Coach Borne. “We know it is going to be a dog fight every single night. You have to earn every strike, out and every run you get.”
Franklin will face district rival Brentwood at Brentwood Thursday night.
“Hopefully we come ready for a big rivalry,” said Waters. “We always love to play against Brentwood, and it will be a fun game.”
“I expect us to compete and play a clean game in the field,” said Coach Whidby. “We need to be aggressive at the plate. Our pitchers have kept us in ball games all year, and I think we are starting to put it all together.”