October 1, 2014
Springfield’s Kraft a major force in 13-1 win over Redskins
By Matt Kracht
NP Sports Reporter
The Sullivan middle school baseball team came up short in the sectional championship game Saturday at Dwight Wooters Field in Shelbyville. Facing Springfield Blessed Sacrament, the Redskins kept it close until the fifth inning and ultimately fell 13-1.
Caden Ellis took the mound for the Redskins season finale Saturday and pitched well on a hot day, taking a clean sheet into the fourth inning.
But with the score tied 0-0 in the top of the fourth Ellis finally ran into trouble when an eighth grader named Barrett Kraft stepped to the plate.
Prep fans would do well to remember that name as Kraft is sure to be a future preps star. Following a walk and a stolen base Kraft hit a mammoth drive off the fence in left centerfield for an RBI double to get the bruins on the board. Kraft would later come around to then score on a wild pitch with what would prove to be the winning run. Kraft finished 4-5 with two doubles and two runs scored. Talking about the slugger the Bruins head coach Dave Ficke commented that, “Kraft has got the quickest bat I have seen in years. When he puts his hands right and hits that ball, he hits it to the deepest part of the park. If he pulls that just a little bit he has two home runs.”
Sullivan finally resorted to playing on the fence, but Kraft adjusted.
”Then they’re backs are against the fence, and he drops a base hit in front of them,” said Ficke. “That was the best game he has played all year.”
When faced with the choice of intentionally walking Kraft, the thought had crossed Sullivan head coach John Harwood’s mind.
“We thought about it, but we thought if we kept hitting the outside corner that he would not be able to yank those but hats off to him; he’s a heck of a hitter. He did a heck of a job hitting, and he did the right things and even when we were hitting the outside corner, he still yanked one in between short and third for a base hit.”
In what was a pitcher’s duel early, starter for the Bruins of Springfield Sacrament Will Reiser was dealing all fastballs. Forcing the action and working fast pace numbers the Bruins starter peppered the mitt all day into the seventh inning as proof that his velocity remained. Reiser went all seven innings without allowing an earned run and also reached base three times.
“He is an eighth grader that has stepped up and elevated his game to the level that it’s at today. He is the leader on this team,” said Ficke. “We got a shot to go deep next week with his leadership. I’ll throw him again on Friday and hopefully have a few innings to play on Saturday too. He is a great kid.”
A season that started in the beginning of August and saw the Redskins come one game away from the elite eight culminated Saturday with the loss. Sullivan finished the season 10-9. And despite the loss, Harwood was upbeat, praising his boys’ effort.
“All season we have worked on the little things,” said the Sullivan coach. “If you hit a home run there is no defense for that. You can’t plan for that. You have to prepare for everything else in between. With middle school baseball and all sports, it’s all about momentum. We had a dropped ball behind the pitchers lack of communication, which got things rolling for the other team. Just little things like that pile up on you.”