FAIRMONT - The Class AA, No. 4-ranked Fairmont Cardinal baseball team smacked 13 hits to defeat the Maple River Eagles, 8-1, in a nonconference game Monday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont.
Luke Becker and Spencer Chirpich combined for seven of the Cardinals' hits from the top spots of the batting order, scoring a total of five runs and knocking in three runs.
"It's easy to score runs when you can get 13 hits in six innings," said Fairmont head coach Todd Sukalski.
POP-UP SLIDE — Fairmont runner Luke Becker executes a pop-up slide at home as Maple River catcher Payton See awaits a throw during nonconference baseball action Monday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Christian Petschke kept the Eagles' bats quiet, giving up one run on five hits, striking out one and walking one to earn the win.
"Pitching hasn't really been a problem for us this season," said Sukalski. "Everyone has been taking their turn for us. And with this past weekend, we've now had three guys in a row pitch complete games, which has been great."
The Cardinals had a 2-0 lead going into the fifth, thanks to a Ryan Noll single in the first and a Levi Becker sacrifice fly in the third to score a pair of runs.
Fairmont then added to its lead in the fifth, scoring four runs take a 7-0 lead.
Bryce Holm started the Cardinal scoring rally with a single to left before wheeling home on Chirpich's triple that skipped by the Eagles' centerfielder.
Luke Becker, who went 4-for-4 with a pair of RBIs and two runs scored, then plated Chirpich - who went 3-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored and an RBI - with a single past the Eagles' third baseman.
After stealing second, Luke Becker was able to score on a Levi Becker single to the outfield, with Levi taking second base on the throw to the plate.
Despite an Eagles' pitching change, the Cardinals offense continued its roll.
Noll sent a delivery from Maple River reliever Matt Maguet through the left side of the infield, scoring Levi Becker from second.
Petschke added a hit and Jay Ruen loaded the bases after reaching on an error, but Maguet managed to strike Holm out to end the offensive inning.
"With our top guys getting a lot of hits, it creates a lot of opportunity for our three, four and five hitters to knock in RBIs. Today we were able to do that," said Sukalski.
The Eagles managed their lone run of the game in the top of the sixth, capitalizing on Jacob Huber's leadoff double to center.
Jem Ennen moved Huber to third when he reached on the Cardinals' only error of the game. Huber then scored on an RBI single to center off the bat of Lewis Uhrich.
Cardinal left fielder Brandon Brooks ended the Eagles' threat, catching a fly ball for the third out of the inning, before getting a single to lead off the bottom half of the sixth for Fairmont.
Brooks motored to third on a Chirpich double, before scoring on a Luke Becker single.
Levi Becker's second sacrifice fly of the day scored Chirpich to extend the lead back to 8-1.
Noll went 2-for-3 in the win, knocking in one RBI, while Levi Becker went 1-for-2 with two sacrifice flies, a run scored and three RBIs.
Huber led the Eagles by going 2-for-3.
Zach Krengel started on the mound for Maple River, giving up five runs - four earned - on seven hits, struck out two and walked one in 4 1/3 innings of work to take the loss.
Maguet came in and pitched the final 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out one in relief.
Fairmont (17-1, 8-1 South Central) travels to face Class AA, No. 12-ranked New Ulm (8-1 SCC) for the conference championship at 4:30 p.m. today at Johnson Park in New Ulm.
Maple River (8-8) plays host to Martin County West at 5 p.m. today in Mapleton.
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Christian Petschke (WP) and Ryan Noll. Zach Krengel (LP), Matt Maquet (5) and Payton See.
LOB-Fairmont 6; Maple River 7. 3B-Spencer Chirpich (F). 2B-Chirpich (F) and Luke Becker (F). SF-Levi Becker (F) 2.
Maple River scored six runs in the top of the ninth inning to down Fairmont, 6-2, in B-squad action on Monday in Fairmont.
Rodney Engstrom pitched seven shutout innings and allowed three hits, while striking out four and walking two as the Cardinals and Eagles battled to a scoreless tie after eight innings.
Parker Monsen pitched the final two innings, allowing six runs - three earned - on three hits, walking four to take the loss.
Nate Johnson had a double for the Cardinals, while Zach Ramos and Evan Kloss each added a hit.
Fairmont (8-8) will play New Ulm at 4:30 p.m. today in Essig.
Martin County West 18, Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman 8 - The Mavericks exploded for 13 hits to down the Knights 18-8 in a six-inning Valley Conference victory on Monday in Welcome.
Jake Faber went 3-for-5 with a home run, two RBIs and four runs scored to pace the Mavericks, while Tony Payne went 3-for-5 with three doubles and three runs scored.
Alex Saxen went 4-for 5 with three RBIs and Bradley Zehms smacked a double and two RBIs in the win.
Faber pitched five innings, striking out six and walking two to earn the win.
Austin Krumwiede pitched the final inning in relief, striking out one and walking one.
Sam Geistfeld went 2-for-3 for the Knights with a double and three runs scored, and Josh Wolter added a double, going 2-for-3 from the plate.
Jeremy Smith went 3-for-4 with two doubles, while Dylan Petrowiak added a double for the Knights.
Smith pitched four innings, striking out two and walking two in taking the loss.
Chandler Greier and Dustin DeBell came in for relief, each pitching an inning, with DeBell allowing three runs.
Martin County West (5-6, 4-3 Valley) faces Maple River at 5 p.m. today in Mapleton.
New Richland-Ellendale-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva 1, Blue Earth Area 0 - Nic Mangskau fired a five-hit shutout to guide the Panthers to a 1-0 non-league victory over the Bucs on Monday in New Richland.
Mangskau struck out five, walked one and hit one batter in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game win.
David Franta, Brandyn Olsen and Carter Hanson each went 1-for-3 for Blue Earth Area.
Seth Anderson smacked a double, while teammate Luke Schavey went 1-for-2 for the Bucs.
Franta pitched seven innings, giving up seven hits and one unearned run, while striking out four and walking one to take the loss.
Blue Earth Area (6-11, 3-6 SCC) travels to St. Peter today for a 4:30 p.m. doubleheader.
Martin County West 16, United South Central 2 - Kate Thiesse went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs to pace the Mavericks to a 16-2, five-inning nonconference victory over the Rebels on Monday in Welcome.
Morgan Williamson added a 2-for-3 game with a triple and two RBIs for the Mavericks.
Jordan Gregory had two hits, Tayler Hagen had one hit and drove in three RBIs, while Becca Steen also singled for the Mavericks.
Gregory pitched four innings, striking out five and walking five to earn the win, before Williamson pitched the final inning, walking three, striking out one and giving up two runs in relief.
Taylor Schulz struck out two and walked four in seven innings to take the loss for USC.
Martin County West (8-4) will face the winner of a first-round game between Mountain Lake Area and Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain at 6:30 p.m. today in Welcome in the Section 2A, South Sub-Section playoffs.
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Jordan Gregory (WP), Morgan Williamson (6) and Shawna Dressen. Taylor Schulz (LP) and Tessla Morton.