Reds sweep doubleheader against HeatJune 13, 2021
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
JASPER — Striking early and often has evolved into a tried-and-true formula for success on the baseball diamond. The Jasper Reds (3-0) adhered to that theory during Sunday afternoon’s doubleheader against the Indianapolis Heat at Jasper High School.
The Reds blitzed the Heat in their 10-0 run-rules. Jasper earned a six-inning victory in the first game and needed just five innings to close out the second win.
Crooked numbers in the first four innings of play made the difference in Jasper’s first win. The Reds kept spraying the ball around the field, and the Heat had no answer for Jasper’s pressure.
“That’s the difference with contact as opposed to guys striking out,” Reds business manager Bob Alles said. “When you make contact, good things are going to happen. We’re pretty happy.”
Outfielder LaWan Rollins made an impact in Jasper’s leadoff spot throughout the first game. The top of the order was quite productive, as Rollins set the table for fellow Reds Austin Simmers, Nathan Burke, Reece Bauer and Landon Mokris. Leading off presented a unique opportunity for the University of Indianapolis graduate.
“We just wanted to set the tone early,” Rollins said. “I haven’t led off in a while. Coach asked me to lead off and start the game on a high note. We just rode it from there.” Jasper’s offense came in spades, but its strong defense halted any hopes of opposing runs. Bauer, a Northeast Dubois graduate, flashed his leather with a diving catch in shallow right field.
Jasper pitcher Bo Daves shut down the Indianapolis offense in his stellar start on the mound. Although the Heat reached base several times, Daves commanded the strike zone and escaped each potential jam.
The Reds secured their first win of the day in emphatic fashion, but Rollins was not satisfied with just one victory. His eye-catching defensive play gave the Reds an extra boost of momentum in the second game’s first inning.
The ball seemed to tail away from him as it soared toward the warning track, but his sliding grab secured another spotless inning. As he executed the tough out, he maintained a straightforward train of thought.
“Just go get it,” Rollins said. “At the end of the day, it’s baseball. I don’t like letting things drop, no matter how deep or how far it is. My mindset was, ‘Go get the baseball, no matter what.’”
Jasper racked up five runs in a pivotal fifth inning. Burke got the start and earned the win on the bump.
“I tell these guys, ‘Come and play,’” Alles said. “‘Don’t try to size up the other team.’ We never did that years ago. We were here, and we were going to play the team at hand.”
Ultimately, Sunday’s games gave the Reds two more chances to appreciate the simple delights of baseball.
“I love the game so much,” Rollins said. “I can’t give it up just yet. It feels good being out here with the guys. I’m playing the game I’ve loved for multiple years now. I’m playing at an elite level. It just feels good to be back out here on the diamond.”
Jasper plays a doubleheader against Lexington at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Ruxer Field.
“We love playing doubleheaders,” Alles said. “That’s a good thing. You never know from one year to the next what a team has.”
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