WELCOME - It took the Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial baseball team four innings to record a hit, but once it started, the Knights kept them coming in an 8-4 Valley Conference victory over the Martin County West Mavericks on Tuesday at the Fox Lake Area Sports Complex in Welcome.
"I think that maybe we aren't used to riding the bus again yet," said Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial head coach John Madsen. "This is our first away game, and so I think we started out slow and sluggish. We came around when we needed to though."
After the Mavericks scored three runs in the first three innings, the visiting Knights were in need of a hit.
STRETCH?PLAY — Martin County West first baseman Alex Saxen (14) stretches out to grab a wide pickoff attempt from Maverick pitcher Tony Payne (15) during Valley Conference baseball action Tuesday at Fox Lake Area Sports Complex in Welcome. Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial runner Junior Welsch slides safely back into first base. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
In Jake Faber's first game back from a rules infraction, the Maverick senior right-hander was able to hold the Knights' offense hitless through three innings.
"I thought that in his first game back with us today, Jake Faber threw really well," said Martin County West head coach Cody Leiding. "We knew we wanted to keep him to just a couple innings since it was his first game, but he looked good."
In the fourth, the Knights' starting pitcher got their first hit off of Faber when Bryson Yackel hit a bouncer through the left side of the infield.
Charles Menne followed that with a hit up the middle, moving Yackel to second base.
Shane Nelson then hit a grounder to the Mavericks' Alex Biehn at shortstop, who flipped the ball to Cole Spear at second before sending it to Alex Saxen at first for the double play.
Mark Jacobs then ended Faber's shutout bid, hitting a blooper into shallow right to score Yackel from third.
The Knights added three runs in the fifth and two more in both the sixth and seventh innings to earn the win.
Bryan Davis was hit by a Biehn delivery to start the Knights' rally in the fifth.
Devan Hagge got a hit to move Davis to second, before both runners advanced on a wild pitch.
Yackel walked to load the bases and then Menne, who went 3-for-4 from the plate, crushed a bases-clearing triple to the base of the outfield fence to take a 4-3 lead for the visitors.
"Once we got one hit it seemed like they were contagious," said Madsen. "It took us awhile to get the first one, but then we got some big hits when we needed them."
Jacobs took a walk in the sixth inning for the Knights, before racing to second on an A.J. Quale grounder to first.
Jacobs then wheeled to second on a wild pitch.
Zach Anderson drew another walk for the Knights and when he tried to steal second, Jacobs raced home on the errant throw from Mavericks' catcher Toby Haugen.
Junior Welsch then drove in an RBI, ripping a hit up the middle that allowed Anderson to score from second to take a 6-3 lead.
Nelson then drove in the final two Knight runs in the game.
After Yackel was hit by a pitch to take first, Menne smacked his second double of the game to get two runners in scoring position for the Knights.
Nelson then delivered the bases clearing single up the middle to go ahead 8-3.
Tony Payne, who went 3-for-4 for the Mavericks, started off a scoring rally for the home team in the bottom of the seventh.
Payne hit a liner down the third baseline, before wheeling to second on Biehn's bouncer to the mound for a groundout.
Saxen took a walk for the Mavericks to put runners on first and second, before Payne raced to third on Micheal Andrews fielder's choice to the Knights' third baseman.
Dalton Koenecke then smacked a hit to center to score Payne to make it 8-4.
"We just needed to be able to put the ball in play more late in the game," said Leiding. "We did a good job of that in the first couple innings and they made some mistakes, but we didn't do it enough later on."
The Mavericks opened up the scoring with a Faber run in the first.
The Maverick starter, who pitched four innings, struck out seven, walked two and allowed one run in a no decision, hit a swinging bunt to lead off the inning.
Haugen then laid down a bunt towards Yackel on the mound, but the Knights' starter sent the ball sailing, allowing Haguen to reach first and Faber to take third.
Payne then drove in Faber with the first of his three hits down the left line to make it 1-0.
Payne and Saxen then scored a pair of runs for the Mavericks in the third.
Payne got a hit to start the inning before wheeling to second on a fielder's choice.
Saxen blistered a hit to the Knights' shortstop, Menne, but his throw skipped by the first baseman allowing Payne to take third and Saxen to reach second.
Andrews then drove the pair of runs in, lining a hit to center to take the 3-0 lead.
Yackel earned the win for the Knights' allowing three runs - two earned - on six hits, striking out two and walking one.
Biehn ended up taking the loss for the Mavericks, pitching 2/3 innings and allowing three runs on one hit and walking three.
Martin County West (2-3) plays host to Blue Earth Area in a 5 p.m. game on Friday at Fox Lake Area Sports Complex in Welcome.
Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (5-2, 2-1 Valley) travels to St. Clair on Thursday.
LCWM 000 132 2 - 8 7 3
MCW 102 000 1 - 4 7 2
Bryson Yackel (WP), Charles Menne (7) and Shane Nelson. Jake Faber, Cole Spear (5), Alex Biehn (LP, 5), Tony Payne (6) and Toby Haugen.
LOB-LCWM 7; MCW 6. 2B-Charles Menne (LCWM) 2.
Nicollet 7, Martin Luther/ Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman 6 (8 innings) - Matt Fischer collected his third hit and scored the eventual game-winning run on Colin Bloemke's RBI single during the top of the eighth inning to power the Raiders to a 7-6 Valley Conference victory over the Knights on Tuesday in Truman.
Matt Christenson, Carter Strunk and Bloemke each produced two hits for Nicollet.
Strunk and Bloemke each delivered two RBIs, while Christenson cranked a solo home run.
Carson Hurn, Ethan Hurn, Sam Geistfeld and Derek Shoen each collected two hits to pace the Knights. Carson Hurn doubled twice en route to scoring two runs and driving in two more, Shoen doubled and scored once, while Ethan Hurn collected one RBI.
Josh Wolter started on the hill for the Knights, giving up two runs on five hits, while striking out nine and walking three. Wolter did not receive a decision.
Ethan Hurn gave up three runs on four hits, fanned three and walked one in 1 1/3 innings of relief, while Geistfeld pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to take the loss. Geistfeld allowed one run on two hits, struck out two and walked one.
Gavin Nourie worked the final three frames, giving up one run on three hits, while striking out two without issuing a walk to notch the win for Nicollet.
Christenson started on the mound for the Raiders, giving up five runs on six hits, fanned seven and walked two in five frames of work to receive no decision.
Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman (1-3, 1-1 Valley) travels to Janesville on Thursday to face Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton.
Nicollet 000 101 41 - 7 11 1
MLGHECT 014 000 10 - 6 9 2
Matt Christenson, Gavin Nourie (6, WP) and Colin Bloemke. Josh Wolter, Ethan Hurn (6), Sam Geistfeld (7, LP) and Derek Shoen.