Prospect League

Eight is enough: Jackrabbits' first-inning outburst is too much for Gems to overcome

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jul. 15, 2017 12:05 am

QUINCY -- Elias Martinez is used to being versatile.

The senior from the New York Institute of Technology made four starts and two relief appearances this past season for the Bears. This summer for the Quincy Gems, he had made four starts and five relief appearances heading into Friday night's game against the Kokomo Jackrabbits.

"I'm used to being a starter and a reliever, so I'm always ready no matter what," Martinez said.

That's a good thing. After Gems starter Nate Green walked three and allowed eight runs in the first inning, Martinez was summoned from the bullpen to start the second inning.

"I knew we had to hold their team because I know we can score some runs," Martinez said.

The Gems eventually did, taking advantage of Martinez's four scoreless innings of relief to pull within three runs. However. the Jackrabbits used a three-run sixth inning and a four-run eighth to provide plenty of cushion in a 15-7 Prospect League victory at QU Stadium.

The Jackrabbits (17-20) drew four walks off Martinez but managed just two hits as no runner made it past second base with the right-hander on the mound.

"He did a good job of throwing up zeroes in a tough spot," Gems coach Adam Hightower said. "We were hoping to get a few more innings out of (Green), but Elias was our next guy. We had a ton of confidence in him, and he did a great job."

Kokomo did its damage in the opening inning on three walks, three wild pitches and five hits that included a three-run home run.

The Gems (13-28) got one run back in the second inning when Dalton Schumer scored from second on a fielding error.

In the fourth inning, Schumer hit a leadoff single before Joey Polak walked and Nolan Snyder roped an RBI base hit into right field. Polak scored when Ben Whetstone grounded into a fielder's choice to make the score 8-3.

Schumer hit a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth to trim the deficit to 8-5.

"We were having good at-bats and putting guys on base, just trying to win every inning," Snyder said. "It's a little tough after an inning like (the first inning), but you just come back and try to stick with your approach."

Any momentum the Gems had was taken away in the sixth inning. Mitchell Sorensen took over in relief of Martinez and allowed a leadoff single before throwing a pair of wild pitches and giving up another base hit that scored a run.

EJ Ramos came on in relief, and promptly surrendered and RBI double followed by an RBI sacrfice fly to left field as the Jackrabbits pushed their lead back to six runs.

"We still battled back a little bit. After we got to 8-5, they scored three more and took it back out of reach," Hightower said. "We did a good job of fighting, just tough to overcome an eight spot in the first inning."

Kokomo added four more runs in the eighth inning, and the Gems scored twice in the bottom half as Michael Nielsen hit a solo home run and Matthew Crook scored on a wild pitch.