TRUMAN - Back-to-back four-run innings in the second and third was all the St. James Saints needed to down the Martin Luther/ Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman Knights 13-2 in six innings during nonconference baseball action on Friday in Truman.
"Give them credit, we gave them chances and they were able to capitalize on them in order to score runs," said Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman head coach Scott Chirpich. "There were a few times we could have been out of an inning without much damage, but then we miss a play or make an error and they were able to keep going."
The Saints were able to get on the board first in the opening inning after Ryan Menssen streaked a leadoff double into center. Walker Froehling then grounded out to move Menssen to third.
RETREATING — Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman catcher Tristan Maday sprints backward to track down a high throw to the plate as St. James runner Justin Stevens (11) slides safely into home during nonconference baseball action Friday in Truman. Knights’ pitcher Sam Geistfeld (6) races to back up the throw, while the Saints’ Walker Froehling watches the play. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
John Olsen, who went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, drove in the first run of the game with a single up the middle.
"Our pitchers did a good job of challenging the hitters throughout the whole game," said Chirpich. "Even though they were getting hits, they were playable, we just needed to field it."
The Saints then bounced back to score four in both of the next two innings to grab a 9-1 lead.
Justin Stevens sizzled a single up the middle to start the second before Bransen Petersen ripped a single down the right-field foul line to put runners on first and second. Menssen, who went 4-for-5, then loaded the bases with a single to left.
Froehling drove in both Stevens and Petersen with a single through the infield.
Menssen and Froehling both advanced on a wild pitch, before Olsen pounded out an RBI fielder's choice.
Froehling then raced home from third on Zach Brandts' single to left, giving the Saints a 5-0 edge.
Starting Knights' hurler Trent Stensland then helped his own cause in the bottom of the second, scorching a hit up the middle.
Carson Hurn kept the Knights rolling with a blast to center, allowing Stensland to reach third.
Garrett Balcom then loaded the bases after taking a curveball in the shoulder and an Ethan Hurn walk at the top of the order sent Stensland home to break the shutout.
"We were able to get hits in today's game and we had offense going," said Chirpich. "But we just weren't able to get the hits when we really needed them."
Josh Wolter delivered a much-needed hit as the Knights trailed 11-1 in the bottom of the fifth.
Wolter crushed a double to center before a walk to Alex Weihe. Then Stensland, who went 2-for-3, smacked a single to right to plate Wolter to keep the game going.
Unfortunately for the Knights, the Saints' bats stayed active, driving in a pair of runs in the sixth to clinch the victory by the 10-run rule.
Derrick Shupe pitched the first two innings for the Saints, striking out four walking one and allowing one run on three hits.
Stevens then pitched three innings in relief, allowing one run on two hits and striking out seven to take the victory. Brandts came in for the final inning and struck out one.
Stensland took the loss for the Knights, allowing nine runs - four earned - on eight hits while striking out two in two innings.
Geistfeld pitched two innings, striking out three and allowing one hit. Maday closed out the final two innings and allowed four runs - two earned - on four hits and striking out two.
Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East/Truman (1-1, 1-0 Valley) plays host to Blue Earth Area at 4:30 p.m. Monday in Northrop. St. James (2-0, 1-0 South Central Conference) travels to Mountain Lake Area on Monday.
St. James 144 022 - 13 15 1
MLGHECT 010 010 - 2 6 4
Derrick Shupe (WP), Justin Stevens (3), Zach Brandts (6) and Ryan Menssen. Trent Stensland (LP), Sam Geistfeld (3), Tristan Maday (5) and Tristan Maday, Derek Shoen (5).
LOB-ML/GHEC/T 8; St. James 11. 2B-Ryan Menssen (SJ) 2 and Josh Wolter (MLGHECT). SF-John Olsen (SJ).
Madelia/Truman 4, Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 2 - Pinch hitter Brytni Drevlow smacked a leadoff double in the seventh inning that helped the Jayhawks clinch a 4-2 Valley Conference victory over the Knights on Friday in Lake Crystal.
After the Jayhawks took a 1-0 lead after the third inning, they were able to extend that lead in the fifth.
Christine Hansen smacked a two-run double in the fifth to help put the Jayhawks ahead 3-0.
The Knights responded by cutting the deficit to one run, but Drevlow's inning-opening double helped to seal the win.
Hanna Hartman and Briannia Pearson each went 2-for-3 with a double in the game for the Jayhawks.
Beth Kotewa pitched all seven innings, allowing just two runs on five hits, striking out three and walking two to earn the complete-game win for M/T.
Madelia/Truman (2-1, 1-1 Valley) plays host to St. Clair in a 4:30 p.m. conference matchup on Tuesday in Madelia.
M/T 001 020 1 - 4 10 2
LCWM 000 020 0 - 2 5 0
Beth Kotewa (WP) and Ciera Drevlow. Bailey Rustman (LP) and Allie Wittrock, McKenzie Tibbetts.
United South Central 9, Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain 7 - Despite the Knights' 16-hit performance, the Rebels persevered with a 9-7 nonconference victory on Friday in Wells.
Alex Schuder went 4-for-4 for the Knights, including a pair of doubles, while Sadie Ziemer went 3-for-4.
Kristi Oberdieck went 3-for-4, while Amber Schulz smacked two hits, including a double, for the Knights.
Payton Becker, Shelby Quinn, Kayley Shoen and Kris Davis each smacked doubles for ML/GHEC.
Ziemer pitched seven innings for the Knights, allowing nine runs on eight hits, striking out two and walking eight.
Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain (0-2) travels to Medford on Monday.