FAIRMONT - Luke Becker and Jay Ruen made the final regular-season games of their stellar prep baseball careers at Herb Wolf Field quite memorable.
Becker not only earned both pitching victories, but went a combined 5-for-8 from the batter's box, while Ruen delivered three RBIs behind a combined 4-for-7 hitting performance to pace Class AA, No. 5-ranked Fairmont's doubleheader sweep over Blue Earth Area on Tuesday.
Ruen went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, while Becker hurled two shutout relief innings to pace the Cardinals' 9-3 opening comeback victory over the visiting Bucs.
PLAY AT THE PLATE — Fairmont catcher Ben Abel (left) awaits the throw to the plate as Blue Earth Area runner Jose Rios (right) approaches during Game 1 of a South Central Conference doubleheader on Tuesday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. Bucs’ on-deck hitter Alan Davids (middle) watches the play. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)
Becker then went 3-for-4, including his sixth home run of the season and a triple, and fired a four-hit complete-game gem to squeeze Fairmont by Blue Earth Area, 5-2, in Game 2.
"Our two seniors (Becker and Ruen) really came through with memorable performances during their last regular-season games at home," said Cardinal mentor Todd Sukalski. "Luke got both wins today and that doesn't happen too often, and then he really hit the ball with authority during the second game.
"I'm pleased to came away with a pair of wins against our conference rival and also earn two sectional wins."
Blue Earth Area, however, displayed its potent offense during the opener, plating solo runs in the top of the first, second and third innings against Fairmont sophomore starter Clayton Maakestad.
Luke Schavey and David Franta, who went an incredible 5-for-7 on the twinbill, delivered a single and a double, respectively, to set up Alex Stewart's RBI groundout in the first.
Mathew Bell then hammered a leadoff double in the second before eventually scoring on one of the Cardinals' two errors in Game 1.
Seth Anderson then singled home Alan Davids, who was hit by a Maakestad offering to open the third, to extend the Bucs' edge to 3-0.
Ruen triggered Fairmont's two-run fourth at-bat by legging out an infield hit before wheeling to third base on Nathan Gillis' single to right. Ruen crossed the plate when Parker Monsen's comebacker was thrown away at second base before Cole Emler singled home Gillis to slice the Cardinals' deficit to 3-2.
Becker and Ruen generated back-to-back singles following a leadoff walk to Jack Waletich in the Fairmont fifth to trigger a sequence of six consecutive hits. Ruen delivered an RBI single, Tyler Tennyson singled and Gillis plated two more runs with a hit.
Monsen legged out a bunt hit and Ben Abel blooped in an RBI single to highlight the Cardinals' five-run fifth and 7-3 lead.
Spencer Chirpich's leadoff double later triggered Fairmont's two-run sixth at-bat. Becker singled Chirpich home before Ruen blasted a double to plate Becker for the eventual 9-3 victory in Game 1.
Becker struck out two and did not issue a walk in hurling two scoreless innings of one-hit relief to earn the win. Emler pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to notch the save.
Seth Anderson went 2-for-3 in the opener for the Bucs.
BEA starting pitcher Quinn Huisman allowed seven runs - five earned - on nine hits, struck out three and walked three in four-plus innings to take the loss.
Once again, Schavey and Franta spearheaded the Bucs' early 2-0 lead by delivering a double and an RBI single, respectively, during the bottom of the first in Game 2. Franta later scored a run on the back end of a double steal.
Becker, however, did not allow a run after the first frame, surrendering only a third-inning single to Franta and an infield hit to Stewart in the sixth.
After Emler reached on a leadoff error and scored on Jack Waletich's RBI groundout in the top of the third, Becker launched a solo home run over the center-field fence to knot the game at 2-all.
Becker then tripled and scored the eventual game-winning run on Ruen's RBI single during the fifth. Ruen later crossed the plate on Abel's run-scoring single to center.
The Cardinals added an insurance run during the seventh when Gillis reached on an infield hit and eventually scored on Abel's second RBI single of Game 2.
Becker allowed two runs on four hits, struck out nine and walked three in seven innings to earn the complete-game victory.
Buc starting pitcher Jack Kennedy gave up four runs - two earned - on seven hits, fanned three and walked five in six innings to take the loss.
Fairmont (14-1, 6-1 SCC) travels to Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial on Friday. Blue Earth Area (5-8, 0-6) hosts Waseca on Thursday.
BEA 111 000 0 - 3 8 3
FHS 000 252 x - 9 14 2
Quinn Huisman (LP), Alec Huber (5), Luke Schavey (6) and Kaylan Legred. Clayton Maakestad, Luke Becker (5, WP), Cole Emler (7, Sv) and Ben Abel.
LOB-FHS 7; BEA 5. 2B-Spencer Chirpich (F), Jay Ruen (F), David Franta (BEA), Mathew Bell (BEA).
FHS 002 020 1 - 5 9 0
BEA 200 000 0 - 2 4 5
Luke Becker (WP) and Ben Abel. Jack Kennedy (LP), Luke Schavey (7) and Kellen Jacobs.
LOB-FHS 12; BEA 5. 2B-Schavey (BEA). 3B-Becker (F). HR-Becker (F). SAC-Spencer Chirpich (F).
Kale Fritz pitched a six-hit complete game to help guide Fairmont to a 10-3 victory over Blue Earth Area during junior varsity action Tuesday in Fairmont.
Fritz allowed three runs - one earned - struck out two and walked three in six innings to earn the win.
Mark Washa went 2-for-3 with three RBIs to top the Cardinals, Eli Green went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, while Nate Johnson contributed an RBI double.
Justin Schwieger generated three hits to help steer Fairmont to a 14-4 victory over Blue Earth Area during C-squad action Tuesday in Fairmont.
Cody Freese collected two hits for the Cardinals (5-5), while Matt Larson supplied a double.
Larson allowed four runs on six hits, struck out five and walked only one in five innings of work to earn the complete-game victory.
Martin County West 4, St. Clair 2 - Right-hander Tony Payne fired a two-hit complete-game gem to engineer the Mavericks' 4-2 Valley Conference victory over the Cyclones on Tuesday in St. Clair.
Payne allowed two runs on two hits, struck out two and walked two in seven innings to net the win.
Payne also went 2-for-3 with two RBIs on offense, while Jake Faber went 3-for-4. Toby Haugen, Alex Saxen and Brandon Williamson each contributed a hit for MCW.
Martin County West (7-3, 4-2 Valley) hosts Sleepy Eye St. Mary's on Thursday in Welcome.
Mankato Loyola 10, Martin Luther/GHEC/Truman 0 - John Fink fired a one-hit shutout to power the Class A, No. 4-ranked Crusaders to a 10-0, five-inning victory over the Knights on Tuesday in Mankato.
Fink recorded six strikeouts, walked one and hit one batter in five innings of work to earn the complete-game victory.
Shane Sellner tripled and scored two runs for Loyola, Brett Taylor supplied three hits and three RBIs, while Mark Kortuem chipped in two hits and two RBIs.
Ethan Hurn collected the Knights' only hit.
Martin Luther/GHEC/Truman (2-10, 1-4 Valley) hosts Cleveland on Thursday in Truman.
MLGHECT 000 00 - 0 1 3
Loyola 400 6x - 10 10 1
Colton Greiner (LP), Carson Hurn (4) and Tristan Maday. John Fink (WP) and Shane Sellner.