Baseball: Walks hurt Hubs in road loss at Sterling

Rochelle allows nine free passes as Golden Warriors win 6-1

STERLING — The Rochelle Hub varsity baseball team continued nonconference play against Sterling on Thursday, falling 6-1 at Gartner Park to open the season with two straight losses. Rochelle (0-2, 0-0 Interstate 8) will travel for a road game against Auburn on Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Sterling took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning, with Bryce Hartman hitting an RBI single before Trevor Dir drew a bases-loaded walk. The Hubs earned one run back in the bottom of the second inning, where freshman Brode Metzger singled and scored after junior brother Brock Metzger reached on an outfield error. Senior Noah Lara doubled in the bottom of the first inning.

The Golden Warriors extended their lead in the top of the third inning, tallying three runs to surge ahead 5-1. Mason Smithee scored on a passed ball before Drew Nettleton reached on a bunt single to bring home Hartman. A dropped third strike allowed Dir to cross home plate. Sterling sealed its win with one insurance run in the top of the sixth inning, where Ayden Schoon singled before stealing two bases and eventually scoring on a wild pitch by the Hubs.

Rochelle threatened in the bottom of the third inning, with senior Alex Burnette smacking a lead-off double and senior Colton O’Rorke adding a two-out single. The Hubs also had a chance to score in the bottom of the fourth inning, where Burnette and senior Bradley Cooney hit back-to-back singles before senior Garrett Gensler drew a two-out walk. Sophomore Brandyn Metzger doubled in the bottom of the sixth inning, but consecutive groundouts left him on base.

The Hubs finished with seven hits in the loss. Rochelle struggled with command on the mound, with four players combining for nine walks. Junior Dylan Whaley turned in a solid relief effort for the Hubs, throwing two innings while striking out one and holding Sterling scoreless.