Smith, surging A's topple Redhawks

The Rochester A’s got off to a fast start Tuesday night in their battle with the Rochester Redhawks.

Rochester A's John Bickel makes the force on Michael Michalak of the Redhawks and the relay to first Tuesday at Century High School. Both runners were called out because of the illegal slide by Michalak.

The Rochester A's got off to a fast start Tuesday night in their battle with the Rochester Redhawks.

Good thing, too, because things sure slowed down after that.

The initial burst was surprising, just as the trouble after that against Redhawks ace pitcher Jackson Douglas wasn't. Still, the A's did enough early offensive work for a 4-1 win in the First District American Legion baseball game at Century High School.

The A's, who have wrapped up the First District title, are 8-3 in league play, 14-15 overall. They are also winners of three straight after recently enduring a five-game losing streak.

The two prior wins came Sunday, and provided some much-needed momentum.


"I thought that might be a turning point for us, and we played tonight like it was," A's coach Jordan Kangas said. "I thought it might carry over to today's game."

Tuesday, the A's notched three of their runs to start the game. They cobbled together a Redhawks error, followed by a walk to Nick Smith, then consecutive singles by Riese Zmolek and Nick Pearson, and a hit by Tyler Gathman to score those three first-inning runs.

That was more than enough for them, thanks in good part to the curveball pitching of Smith. Smith moved his record to 6-2 with another standout outing. Also mixing in a solid fastball to go with his biting curve, Smith allowed just six hits over seven innings, while striking out six and walking three.

Smith has emerged as the A's ace in recent weeks, a notion the Redhawks won't debate. The righthander — once again — had the right stuff. So did his team defensively. The A's were flawless in the field.

"I love pitching right now, and our defense has been really good," Smith said. "We've really cut down on our errors."

Redhawks coach Tom Senne wasn't as pleased with his team. Statistically the teams weren't much different, each managing six hits. But the A's made something of theirs, including getting two each by Zmolek and Pearson. No. 4 batter Pearson drove in a pair of runs.

"We have to have better at-bats than that," Senne said. "Overally, (the A's) played a lot better as a team than we did."

The Redhawks slipped to 6-5 in the First District, 15-10 overall.


A's 4, Redhawks 1



Redhawks:Jay Alston 1-for-2, 1 R, 1 SB. LP:Jackson Douglas 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K.

A's:Riese Zmolek 2-for-3, 1 RBI, 1 SB; Nick Pearson 2-for-3, 2 RBIs. WP:Nick Smith 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K.

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