Morris' fifth-inning rally aids to win over Herscher

MORRIS – The Morris Redskins baseball team giveth ... and then taketh away.

With senior lefty Nick Evola scattering three hits while notching 10 strikeouts, Morris rebounded after giving up a trio of runs to notch a 7-5 nonconference win over the Herscher Tigers at home Thursday afternoon.

Evola, 2-1 on the year, gave up a leadoff single to Easton Haase to start the game before retiring 11 straight Tigers. A one-out error and a single by Herscher No. 9 batter Austin Berns set up a two-run triple by Luke Azzarelli, just beyond the glove of a diving Redskins center fielder Kyle Hill. Another infield error gave the visitors from a 3-0 advantage.

"The thing that most impressed me today was we fell behind, but we bounced back," Morris coach Todd Kein said. "Give a lot of credit to our kids."

The Redskins, who had stranded a half dozen runners in the initial trio of frames, lost little time in swinging momentum in the bottom of the fifth. Hill plopped a leadoff single to center before Austin Conrod put down a bunt. A single by Trevor Lines filled the bases before Hill scored on a wild pitch. Cleanup batter Tim Smyk drew a walk before an error on a grounder to first, off the bat of Grant Schluntz, tied it.

"We gave them way too many outs in that inning," Tigers coach Eric Regez said. "We missed that grounder and they took advantage of it."

Smyk was waved home on a balk off Herscher reliever Sam Hall before Morris senior catcher Geno Persico plated Schluntz was a line drive single over short. 

"It was great to see the offense get going like that," Evola said. "Usually, we don't score that many runs late. But we were able to get some hits to push across runs to tie it and then take the lead."

Smyk doubled the Redskins advantage by slamming a full-count homer to dead center in the sixth. It was his first of the year.

"Tim's homer was great," Kein said. "It would have been nicer if it was a three-run homer rather than a two-runner, but we had a base-running mix-up."

Smyk drove in Conrod, who had reached on an error.

"I am a firm believer in putting the ball in play," Kein said. "We want to put the ball in play and hit it hard. We have been able to put it in play but we have not been able to hit it hard that consistently."

Morris wound up with eight hits. Conrod, Lines and Persico collected a pair each.

"I had the most confidence with my curve," Evola said. "I was pretty focused at the start and was able to hit the outside corner consistently."

The Redskins are now 6-4. Herscher tumbles to 5-4.

Brock Kukman, aided by a 5-4-3 double play in the seventh, notched the save for Morris.