Caden Craft of the Portland Rockets releases a pitch during the sixth inning of Wednesday’s 7-1 victory over the Fort Wayne Blues at Portland Memorial Park’s Runkle-Miller Field. Craft, a graduate of Ayesville (Ohio)?High School who now plays at Owens Community College, struck out three batters in two hitless innings of relief. His effort supported Peyton Smith, who allowed one run in five innings while striking out nine. (The Commercial Review/Ray Cooney)
Caden Craft of the Portland Rockets releases a pitch during the sixth inning of Wednesday’s 7-1 victory over the Fort Wayne Blues at Portland Memorial Park’s Runkle-Miller Field. Craft, a graduate of Ayesville (Ohio)?High School who now plays at Owens Community College, struck out three batters in two hitless innings of relief. His effort supported Peyton Smith, who allowed one run in five innings while striking out nine. (The Commercial Review/Ray Cooney)
The Rockets took advantage of some free bases in the second inning.

The runs they got were more than enough for Peyton Smith and Caden Craft.

Two walks and two hit batsmen combined with three hits in a four-run second inning Wednesday as the Portland Rockets won their third consecutive game 7-1 over the visiting Fort Wayne Blues.

Jay County High School graduate Max Moser got Portland (10-7) going in the second inning as he drew a four-pitch walk. After Joel Kennedy singled, JCHS grad Blake Caldwell and Dakota Durick were both hit by a pitch. The second of those brought Moser home with the first run of the game.

Caleb Richardson and Nick Bailey followed with consecutive RBI singles. A walk to Kasey Henderson made it 4-0 before Fort Wayne finally made a change on the mound and recorded three consecutive outs to end the inning.

The Blues responded with their only run of the game in the top of the third.

Smith started and struck out nine Fort Wayne batters over five innings. He allowed the one earned run on four hits and three walks.

Craft tossed two innings of relief to end the seven-inning game. He struck out three batters and walked two while not allowing a hit.

The Rockets’ insurance runs came after another Moser leadoff walk and an error in the fifth inning. Richardson smacked a two-out double to center field to bring home Moser, and consecutive RBI singles from Bailey and Henderson made it 7-1.

Bailey finished a perfect 3-for-3 for Portland, which will be home again Friday at Runkle-Miller Field to take on the Fort Wayne Jackers at 7:15 p.m. (They will visit Fort Wayne for a doubleheader against the Jackers started at 3 p.m. Sunday.) Kennedy also had three hits, and Richardson finished 2-for-3 with the only extra-base hit of the game to go along with two RBIs and a run.