By Connor Stalker, Blue Sox Staff Writer

Boonville, N.Y.– The Blue Sox traveled to Boonville for a Sunday evening game against the Lumberjacks.  Coming into the game, the Blue Sox had been on a two-game losing skid, including a tough extra-innings loss to Oneonta on Saturday night in the home opener. After a disappointing 1-2 start to the season the Blue Sox were looking to improve their record on the road.

Hillsdale College Senior Daly Skees started on the mound for the Blue Sox, while the Lumberjacks gave the ball to Salem University Junior Alden Halfinger. Skees and Halfinger both ran into trouble in the first inning by allowing doubles, however, each worked around them and stranded the opposition’s baserunners.

Halfinger and Skees continued to dominate facing 3 batters each in the 2nd and 3rd innings. In the 4th, Halfinger allowed a single and stolen base to Norris McClure, before inducing a ground ball to end the inning. Skees struck out a batter, walked another, and then he and catcher Greg Kopp teamed up for the classic “strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out” to end the inning.

The pitcher’s duel ensued well into the 5th. Halfinger gave up one hit, a single, with two outs to Andre Demetral, before getting the third out. Skees retired the side 3 up 3 down on 8 pitches.

The Blue Sox struck for the first run of the game in the top of the 6th. Newcomer and Kentucky commit, Josh Skowronski, roped a single to left field to start off the inning. Catcher Greg Kopp came to the plate and also singled, pushing Skowronski into scoring position. A misplay by Boonville’s catcher allowed Ben Partridge to reach base, and then advance to 2nd base, while Kopp moved to 3rd, and Skowronski scored. Halfinger worked around the 2nd and 3rd jam by retiring the Blue Sox 2, 3, and 4 hitters in quick succession.

In the 7th inning, the Blue Sox bats finally came alive, started off by a single to right field by Taylor Kaufman. Next to the plate was Todd Abraham who hit a ground ball to third base which resulted in an error, and Abraham and Kaufman moving into scoring position. A single by Demetral and a sac fly by left fielder Wyatt Jensen plated two more runs giving the Blue Sox a 3-0 lead. Demetral then stole a base before a wild pitch and an error by the Lumberjacks shortstop, allowed him to score.

The Blue Sox turned to the bullpen in the bottom of the 7th, handing the ball off to Monmouth righthander Chris Killian for his first appearance of the season. Killian looked good in his first outing as a member of the Blue Sox striking out 1 and allowing only 1 base runner in an inning of work.

It was in the bottom of the 8th, when the Lumberjacks began to chip away at the Blue Sox lead. Valparaiso righty Adam Guazzo entered the game and hit the first batter he faced. He struck out the next batter, before allowing a hit to catcher Zach Rogacki. University of Cincinnati outfielder Marcus Smith ripped a double cutting the Blue Sox’s lead in half, plating both Rogacki and Darnell Guerrero.

The Blue Sox struggled to score off Lumberjack’s reliever Eli Snelson, though Brandon Millan closed the door on the Lumberjack’s comeback striking out one, and stranding runners on 1st and 2nd base in the bottom of the 9th inning.

The final score of the game was Blue Sox 4, Lumberjacks 2. The Blue Sox improve to 2-2 on the season, while the Lumberjacks fall to 1-2. Daly Skees was impressive working 6 innings of 3-hit baseball while allowing no runs, and striking out 5 en route to his first win this season. On the other side of the ball, Halfinger was handed the loss despite a solid 7-inning performance in which he allowed only 2 earned runs. McClure continued his rampage across the league compiling a single, a double, and stealing his 7th base of the season. Demetral and Skowronski also had two hits, while Rutgers’ sophomore Pablo Santos ripped a double. Behind the plate, Greg Kopp threw out 3 potential base stealers, helping substantially in the Blue Sox’s winning effort.

The Blue Sox’s next game is home against Boonville on Tuesday, June 4th at 10:30 am.