Hounds split first weekend of 2016

The Chicago Hounds split the first weekend games of the 2016 CMBA campaign, defeating the Red Sox 5-2 at Winnemac Park on Saturday, and then losing 4-3 to the Vikings at Taft High School on Sunday.
*Hounds Defeat Red Sox*
The Hounds had a strange and rare 2-pitcher 2-runs allowed no hitter against the Red Sox on Saturday at a windy and cold Winnemac Park. Brian Hearns (#30, P, 1-0) and Tim Riggenbach (#8, DH/P, 1 Save) combined for 7 innings of no hit ball. Hearns started and made it through 4 innings in between coaching 2 high school games of his own (they had a morning game, he dropped by to pitch, then went on to coach an evening game). Hearns only faced 14 batters, 2 over the minimus–1 reached by error (on a tough error for second baseman Joe Wietecha [see YTECHA 19 on his license plate] who made a beautiful diving stop to his left on the very first play of the game, but then unfortunately threw the ball away) and the other batter reached on Hearns’ only walk of the game. Riggenbach then took over and had 2 stellar innings (5th and 7th), but had a tough 6th where he loaded the bases with walks and hit-by-pitches, let a run in on a walk, and then a runner scored on a fielder’s choice/error. Riggenbach struck out 5 in his 3 innings of work, also allowing no hits, and earning the 3-inning save.
One of the batters that Riggenbach plunked was the final cut of the season from the Hounds, Derrek Krouse. Manager Matthew Steffens (#5, SS) had cut him late in the pre-season, but recommended that he tryout for the Red Sox, feeling he was good enough for the league, but felt the Hounds just didn’t have a spot for him. Riggenbach welcomed Derrek to the Chicago Metropolitan Baseball Association by nailing him in the back on the very first pitch he faced. (Not on purpose.)
The Hounds scored 5 runs in the game, with newcomer Garrett Eddy (#22, RF) scoring in the first inning after reaching on an error. Brent Schoenbach (#7, 3B) “drove” in the run by also reaching by error (since it was after 2 outs, no scored RBI). In the 3rd inning Steffens drew a walk, went to second on a single by Eddy, stole third, and then scored on a sacrifice fly RBI by Wietecha. The Hounds scored 3 runs in the 4th as Max Kiefer (#21, LF) reached on a fielder’s choice (after a single by Tony Correa (#13, C), rookie Stephen Correa Jr. (#20, 1B, no relation to Tony, but both are NOT doctors) then singled, and Riggenbach tripled to right, driving in 2. Steffens then singled (according to the book, but I thought I reached by error), driving in Riggenbach.
After the scare in the 6th when the bases were loaded and the Red Sox scored 2, Riggenbach settled down in the 7th handling things all by himself, with a strikeout, 1-3, and 2-1. Again, according to the book, but that seems weird. Maybe it was a 2-3? In any event, Hounds win the opening game!
McDonald’s count = Matthew Steffens = 0; Marcia Steffens = 1
*Hounds Drop Game in Seventh to Vikin**gs*
The Hounds had hoped to start 2-0, but it would not come to pass on a beautiful mother’s day at Taft High School. Manager Matthew Steffens’ mom had attended the cold game on Saturday, but missed the warm one on Sunday, no other mom’s were in attendance at either contest (as far as I can remember), although there were some wives and girlfriends in attendance at both.
Matt Burch pitched a complete game v. the Vikings, taking a hard luck loss. Burch struck out 5, walked 4, gave up 7 hits (only 1 of the extra base variety, a double), and 2 runners reached by error. The Vikings took a 1-run lead in the 3rd, added a run in the second, but then the Hounds took a 1-run lead by scoring 3 in the 5th off a series of Viking errors. Keith Richardson (#17, 1B) singled, Joe Wietecha (#19, 3B) followed with a single, and then Max Kiefer (#21, LF), Kyle Hanson (#2, 2B), and Matthew Steffens (#5, SS) all reached by errors, scoring 3 to take the lead.
The Hounds added a run in the 7th as Kiefer led off with a double, and Steffens singled him home, and the Hounds went into the bottom of the 7th with a 1 run lead (the Vikings had scored an unearned run in the 6th). Unfortunately the Hounds could not hold the lead as the Vikings took advantage of a slightly gassed Burch (the Hounds probably needed a closer at this game) and the Vikings scored 2 to win the game with a walkoff single.
McDonald’s count = still 0.
Overall, a good weekend start and the Hounds regulars and rookies all contributed. TJ Rinaldi (#1, CF) tracked down everything in center (which was not easy on the windy Saturday game) and Nolan Bielinski (#4, EH/C) got off the early snide in game 2 and overcame his arm injury to catch). Wietecha really flashed the leather in both games. Lots of positives.
The Hounds play the Vikings again next Saturday (9:30 am at Taft) and then play the Orioles at Winnemac on Sunday (12:15 start), hope to see you there!