Leprechauns Complete Sweep in Doubleheader vs Ice Haulers, 3-1

July 20, 2023by Jacob Cotsonika

In front of a sold-out crowd, Ben Riffe (Southern Illinois Univ. Carbondale) saw Stephen Ruhle’s (Michigan State) amazing start in the first game of the doubleheader and handed in his own in game two. The Leprechauns won both games on Thursday night against the Ice Haulers, taking game two 3-1 on the backs of the pitching staff. Royal Oak improves its record to 14-20 and the Sandusky Ice Haulers slip to 17-17. Riffe threw six innings, forcing a ton of weak contact. Only striking out two, the Ice Haulers still only had three hits, never having multiple in an inning. 

The Leprechauns did a good job in responding to a 1-0 deficit in the third inning. After Sandusky scored a run in the top half, Brayden Dowd (USC) hit a leadoff single. Ryan Callanan (San Bernardino Valley) laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him over to second. This is where Dowd’s elite speed came into play. Josh Getz (Northwood) hit a fly ball to left field, and Dowd actually tagged up and advanced to third, which is not something you see often. With Collin Overholt (Ashland) at the plate, Ice Haulers pitcher Kyle Fitzgerald threw a ball to the backstop, and Dowd scored on the wild pitch, despite the short backstop at the Lucky Corner. 

Royal Oak added a run in both the fifth and the sixth innings. Josh Getz gave the Leprechauns the lead, hitting in Connor Cornwell (Saginaw Valley State) on an RBI single. Jayden Lopez (UC Riverside) scored on an errant throw to make it 3-1 the following inning. 

While starting pitching did the bulk of the load in both games today, the bullpen is more than worthy of a mention as well. Ryan Kruse (Northern Kentucky) threw a two-inning save in game one, and Brandon Mann got the save in game two. The dual-sport Michigan athlete mowed down the Ice Haulers to end the game. Mann forced a weak ground ball to himself, struck out another, and closed the book on a win with a fly-out to Lopez in left field.  

Royal Oak will look to win its third consecutive game and earn the series win against the Ice Haulers on Friday night. That game will be the second-to-last at the Lucky Corner this year. The home finale will be a game against the Jet Box on Saturday. Both first pitches are slated to be at 7:05 p.m.