While Kaufman Realty has had some bumps along the way to an 18-6 regular season, the defending Tuscarawas Class A baseball champions seem more than ready to defend their title. Proof of that came in a big tournament victory in the opening round of the Class A tournament, where Jordan Yoder led the Orange to a 4-1 victory over regular season champion Lauren Moose.
Kaufman jumped right into the heat of the battle, choosing to tackle Moose early on with left-handed ace Jordan Yoder.
Yoder has had good success against Moose this season, bringing a spectacular 0.83 earned run average into the contest. He did little to hurt that, scattering four hits, striking out seven and walking four while giving up a single tally through six innings.
Moose got on top in the second inning, where it struck for its lone run of the game when Joe Crank and Hunter Striker stroked singles, Cade Cummings walked, and Yoder provided the run for Moose when he walked Spencer Helwig with the bases loaded.
That would be it for Lauren Moose as Yoder would bear down from there and take command.
Kaufman Realty would strike back quickly against Moose starter Anthony Barson, grabbing the lead for good in the top of the third frame. Cordell Miller singled from the nine-hole, and lead-off hitter Scott Troyer went yard for a two-run home run over the wall in left for a 2-1 KR lead.
Yoder worked around a pair of walks in the bottom of the inning, and both teams went quickly and quietly in the fourth and fifth inning in what was turning into a classic game between these two rivals.
However, Kaufman got some much-needed breathing room in the sixth with a two-out rally. After Hayden Mobley lined out to right and Todd Ropp lined out to third, Bryan Yoder singled and Mitch Massaro doubled, moving Yoder to third. Stone King then laced a two-run single to give Kaufman a 4-1 edge.
Moose threatened to close that gap in the bottom of the inning when Striker and Cummings hit back-to-back singles with two outs, but Yoder induced a pop-out off the bat of Helwig to squelch the threat.
Kaufman sought to add to its lead in the final inning when Brandt Miller walked and Richie Mast singled, but Barson came through by striking out Mobley and getting Ropp to fly out to left.
Kaufman head coach Clippy Yoder turned to Braden Mast to close out the game in the seventh, and Mast delivered, taking just seven pitches to produce a pair of ground outs and a pop-out to first to send Kaufman on to victory.
Barson would go the complete game, allowing four earned runs on nine hits while striking out four and walking a pair. The win improved Yoder’s season record to 8-1 while Mast picked up the save. Bryan Yoder lashed out a pair of hits for Kaufman, and Hunter Striker recorded a pair of knocks for Moose.
In its prior game Kaufman Realty took advantage of five Mr. Trailer errors and banged out nine hits including four for extra bases in a 9-4 victory.
Garrett Harstine wasn’t at his sharpest in the contest, but he managed to work six strong innings to pick up the victory while Jordan Stutzman finished off the game by throwing a perfect seventh inning.
Mr. Trailer jumped all over Harstine in the top of the first inning when Rob Riese uncorked a monstrous one-out home run to right-center. Tyler Krantz and Logan Bishop then smacked back-to-back singles with Krantz eventually coming in to score Mr. T’s second run of the inning.
Riese set down Kaufman in order in the first, and Mr. Trailer tacked on a third run in the second inning when John Horvath singled and came around to score on a bunt and an error.
Kaufman got two of those runs back when Ropp and Austin Marko walked and came home when Massaro thrashed a triple to left. Harstine settled down in the third inning and struck out the side, retiring the heart of the Mr. Trailer order.
KR finally got back to even when it tallied a run in the fourth inning. Mobley and Ropp hit back-to-back singles, and Mobley scored on a double play ball.
Mr. Trailer would respond by retaking the lead in the top of the fifth on a couple of walks and an error, but Kaufman Realty was about to post its biggest inning.
Trailing 4-3, Kobe Miller walked to lead off the fifth, and Tyson Gingerich laid down a sacrifice bunt that was mishandled for an error, putting two on with nobody out. After Troyer flew out, Richie Mast ripped a run-scoring single to knot things up at 4-4. It wouldn’t be tied long with Mobley raking a single to plate Gingerich, though Mast got thrown out at third base for the second out of the inning. Leading 5-4, Todd Ropp singled, and two runs came home on Bryan Yoder’s huge triple to left. Marko and Massaro then unleashed consecutive doubles to give KR its 9-4 edge.
The seventh inning belonged to Stutzman, who cruised through the final frame in just six pitches, capping off Kaufman’s win.
Harstine struck out 10 and walked two, allowing six hits and two earned runs on the day to move to 7-3 on the campaign. Riese suffered the loss and was tagged for nine runs, only four of them earned, on eight hits, four strikeouts and four walks in four and one-third innings. Tyler Krantz allowed just one hit in one and one-third innings of relief.
At the plate Kaufman was led by the resurgent Massaro, who has caught fire late in the season. He hammered out a double and triple and drove home three runs. Ropp and Mobley both added a pair of hits with Ropp and Marko both scoring a pair of runs.
The two wins leave Kaufman’s overall record at 20-6.