It didn’t take long for JT Cunningham to figure out the problem. Really, all Cunningham had to do was listen to the lineups of both Red Wing and Hastings. A lot of groans and gripes were being sent the way of the home plate umpire, and Cunningham immediately knew what to do.
“Hitters always like to complain about that, but as a pitcher you love to see it. I was fine with it. I love anytime there’s a low (strike) zone,” Cunningham said after pitching the Aces to a 12-2, seven-inning victory on Friday night at Red Wing Athletic Field, ending a three-game losing streak.
Along with Cunningham’s adjustment to throw closer to the ankles than the knees, Red Wing’s hitters made an adjustment as well: don’t swing.
Of course, that only works when the opposition really was throwing ankles and lower, but the Aces were patient and it paid off.
“Maybe through the fifth or sixth inning, we only had five hits,” said Red Wing manger/designated hitter Jimmy Bohmbach. “But it seemed like we had more because we were getting guys on base.”
Cole Jernberg walked seven batters in his six-plus innings on the mound for the Hawks, and he paid for it right away as the Aces scored three first-inning runs thanks in part to Steve Boldt’s walk and Bohmbach’s double to right field.
The wheels came completely off for Hastings in the bottom of the seventh when Bohmbach opened the inning with a walk, singled after seven runs had scored, then, after moving to second on a balk, ended the game early on Kyle Blahnik’s single to center.
Red Wing (7-6) will head to Randolph on Sunday.
Northfield 8, Red Wing 6
A combined 28 hits led to a total of 14 runs as Northfield held off Red Wing, 8-6, in a Classic Cannon Valley League dual in Dundas.
Jimmy Bohmbach led the Aces going 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI. Steve Boldt and Ty Buck each added a pair of hits, as did Zach Garner and Josh Thygesen. Boldt had two doubles, but Buck was the only other Red Wing player to knock in a run as he plated two.
Zach Bakko had a 4-for-4 evening for the Knights, driving in one run and scoring another. Scott Benjamin, Tim Maus Dave Picha and Sam Stuckmeyer all had two hits with Picha adding three RBI and Maus a pair of RBI.
Brady Schroeder got the start for the Aces, and took the loss, punching out four batters across 6 1/3 innings. Schroeder gave up four runs, all earned, on eight hits and a walk. Aaron Stoneberg finished the game, allowing four earned runs on five hits and a walk.
Nate Gelle, Eli Patrikus, Picha and Maus all pitched for Northfield, with Patrikus, who got the win, throwing three innings and the others throwing for two. Gelle allowed one earned and one unearned run, Picha two earned and Maus three earned.