Rams ace opening test vs. Jackson

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

JACKSON -- Ryan Modglin hit the first batter he faced Monday.

He didn't allow another baserunner until the top of the fifth inning.

Modglin dominated Jackson for 5 1/3 innings before giving up his lone hit and getting pulled. The Rams clung to the lead during the Indians' furious rally in the seventh, but it was Scott City that earned the 6-5 victory in the baseball opener for both teams.

"I was getting nervous, but I have faith in the team," Scott City catcher Cody Carlyle said of Jackson's seventh-inning rally. "We've been practicing hard, and we were ready for this game."

Jackson's seventh inning stood in stark contrast to the first six innings. Modglin, who already signed to pitch at Missouri State next year, pumped the strike zone with an assortment of fastballs, curveballs and forkballs.

"It was kind of jittery at first," Modglin said. "Every first game of the season is. I think the team settled down, made plays behind me and I thought we did pretty good."

Modglin struck out the side in the third, including Matt Lang on a nasty curveball to end the inning. Carlyle said he felt comfortable calling any pitch to earn a strikeout.

"It depended on the hitter and what I felt would work," Carlyle said. "Sometimes it would be the forkball or sometimes it would be the fastball."

Modglin finished with 11 strikeouts, and Jackson's lone hit came in the sixth when Michael Mouser laced a solid single to right field.

"The plan was I was going to stay around 80 or 85 pitches no matter how good I was doing, no matter how good the team was doing," Modglin said. "We just stuck to that plan because it's early in the season."

Jackson coach Rob French said he tried to prepare his players for Modglin by having the pitcher move closer to the plate during batting practice last week.

"We'd been gearing up for Ryan all week long," French said. "The last several days, we spent time in the cage setting up from 40 feet and throwing it in there pretty hard. We were getting guys used to seeing it that fast. In fact I think we were a little too fast because we had some guys at the beginning a little bit early."

In the end though, French admitted it's difficult to prepare adequately for Modglin.

"Once you start timing his fastball, he beats you with his split finger, which was amazing tonight," French said.

Modglin made his presence felt at the plate, too. He ripped a bases-loaded double to right-center to score three in the fourth inning. The runs pushed the Rams' lead to 5-0.

"Any runs for a pitcher is big," Modglin said. "It just gives you 100 percent more relief. You can just calm down on the mound and you can do what you do best."

The double came after Modglin fell behind 0-2. He said it's important for a hitter to change his approach after getting down 0-2.

"The first couple pitches, I'm swinging for a good, solid hit," he said. "But the third pitch, I just want to make contact and make the fielder do, make them field the ball because anything can happen."

Scott City coach Lance Amick turned to Josh Henson after Modglin surrendered his lone hit. Henson walked a pair in the sixth, but got a strikeout to end the inning.

The Indians went to work in the seventh as French turned to his bench.

After a double and a walk, Alex Tripp hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Evan Watkins and break up the shutout. After a strikeout for the second out, the Indians strung together four singles, including one to left by Travis Hurst to score two.

"Coach put in some of the guys off the bench and they were just kind of fired up about the game," Hurst said. "Everybody not hitting Modglin, we just tried to do the best we could."

Amick brought in Shae Simmons with the game-tying run on second. He got Ryan Cheney to ground out to first to end the game.

"Up until the anticlimatic ending, it gave us hope," Hurst said of the rally. "But afterward, it was just a good reason for coach not to run us."

Scott City0114000--680

Jackson0000005--561

@z_agate_no tab_no indnt_bld ld:WP -- Ryan Modglin. LP -- Caleb Guilliams. Multiple hits -- Scott City, Ryan Modglin 2-3; Jackson, Michael Mouser 2-2. Records -- Scott City 1-0, Jackson 0-1.

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