The Sun Prairie Red Birds have been a perennial playoff contender in the Home Talent League Eastern Section for the better half of the last decade.
It didn’t matter to the Rio Railmen on Sunday.
Dakotah Kirchenwitz went 2-for-3 with four RBIs, including a three-run home run, and Wesley Doleshaw went 3-for-4 with a double to help power Rio to a 5-3 win over Sun Prairie in an Eastern Section season opener at Fireman’s Park in Rio.
Kirchenwitz put the Railmen out on the front foot early, uncorking a three-run blast in the home half of the third inning for a quick 3-0 lead. He later extended the advantage to 4-0 with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth.
It proved to be crucial, as the Red Birds responded with three runs in the top of the sixth, including a two-run homer by Randy Molina, to claw within 4-3. Sun Prairie threatened to take the lead in the seventh as it loaded the bases with one out, but reliever Trevor Kearney got Justin Krebs to line into a double play at short to squash the threat.
With the lead intact, the Railmen went back to work adding another run on a two-out Kearney RBI single for a 5-3 lead. After helping himself, the right-hander took over, allowing just one Red Bird to reach base the final two innings to shut the door.
Jeff Jenkins picked up the win, fanning seven and allowing three runs on six hits and four walks in six innings of work, while Kearney allowed just one hit and three walks with a punch out in three innings of relief work. Steve Plenty added a pair of hits for Rio, which heads to Portage next Sunday.
RIO 5, SUN PRAIRIE 3
Sun Prairie 000 003 000—3 7 1
Rio 003 010 10x—5 10 0
Pitchers (ip-h-r-er-so-bb) — SP: Roscoe (L; 6-7-4-4-4-0), Mailandt (2-3-1-1-1-1); R: Jenkins (W; 6-6-3-3-7-4), Kearney (3-1-0-0-1-3).
Leading hitters — SP: Krebs 2x4 (2B), Molina (HR); R: Doleshaw 3x4 (2B), Kirchenwitz 2x3 (HR, 4BI).
Granite Jaxx can’t cage Red Birds
Sun Prairie didn’t stay down for long as it picked up its first win of the season at Montello’s expense on Monday, as the Granite Jaxx were unable to hold on, suffering a 5-2 loss at Montello High School.
Matt Sosinsky went 2-for-4 with a triple and DJ Raasch went 2-for-4 to lead way for the Granite Jaxx in their season opening loss.
It was a slow start as neither team scored through the first three innings until the Red Birds pushed across a single tally in the fourth. Montello responded with two in the home half of the fifth, including a Bennett Bartol RBI single and a Sosinsky RBI three-bagger, for a 2-1 lead.
The advantage only lasted an inning as the Red Birds responded with three in the top of the seventh, including a Taylor Mack RBI single and a Carson Holin RBI walk, to retake the lead at 4-2 before shutting the Granite Jaxx down.
Mack went 4-for-4 with a pair of RBIs while Robbie Knorr went 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs to pace the Red Birds. Curtis Morgan struck out three and gave up one run on a walk and five hits over six innings for Montello, which will have next weekend off.
SUN PRAIRIE 5, MONTELLO 2
Sun Prairie 000 100 310—5 8 2
Montello 000 020 000—2 7 2
Pitchers (ip-h-r-er-so-bb) — SP: Wendler (W; 6-6-2-2-4-0), Knorr (3-1-0-0-2-0); M: C. Morgan (6-5-1-1-3-1), L. Morgan (L; 3-3-4-3-1-4).
Leading hitters — SP: Knorr 2x5 (HR), Mack 4x4; M: Sosinsky 2x4 (3B), Raasch 2x4.