HASTINGS – With four runs in the first inning, Red Wing looked as though it would cruise to victory Sunday. But Hastings would not go down quietly.
The Hawks managed to cut the deficit to one run before the Aces were finally able to put away the Classic Cannon Valley League regular-season finale 6-4 at Veterans Park.
“It was nice we got off to a hot start,” said Red Wing manager/first baseman Jimmy Bohmbach. “After that, we weren’t getting too many fastballs from their pitcher (Ben Bundschu).
“Luckily, we were able to get those runs late. We’ve got to learn to keep the pressure on the entire game.”
After the first two batters got on base for the Aces, Bohmbach brought in the first run with a ground rule double, followed two batters later by Kyle Blahnik hitting a one-run single. Zach Garner made it a 4-0 game with a two-run single into left field as the Aces went through their entire lineup before Hastings recorded the final out.
While the top of the first inning had the makings of a 10-run blowout, Hastings wouldn’t back down. Mikey Junker singled and later scored on a Jordan Jeske groundout in the first inning. In the second, leadoff batter Cody Marek scored on a fielder’s choice, then Jaryd Marks scored on a wild pitch in the fifth to cut the gap to 4-3.
After Ty Buck battled for five innings on the mound, JT Cunningham came on in relief for the Aces in the sixth inning. And from that point, Hastings could do very little as Cunningham struck out seven and held the Hawks to two hits and one run over the final four innings for the save. Buck was the winning pitcher after collecting two strikeouts with six hits, three runs (two earned) and two walks allowed.
“They were able to get guys on base and that gave us problems,” Bohmbach said. “JT was able to come in and shut them down.”
Offensively, Red Wing struggled for five innings with just one hit during that stretch. Finally in the seventh, Steve Boldt broke that slump with a leadoff double. Then after a pair of wild pitches from Beau Jernberg, Buck hit a grounder down the third-base line to score Boldt and make it a two-run
game once again.
Needing a little more insurance after Hastings cut the lead to 5-4, Bohmbach came up with his second RBI of the game with a shot down the right-field line that scored Mitch Matter. While he swung the lumber on the play, Bohmbach wasn’t about to take the credit for the decisive hit.
“It was really nice to see Mitch come up and get a walk (to lead off the inning),” said Bohmbach, who finished 2-for-5 with a run scored. “We’re going to need guys like that come in during the playoffs and get us good at-bats.”
The Aces’ focus now shifts to the Section 1B playoffs and their next opponent: the Northfield Knights. Getting the No. 5 seed in the section playoffs, Red Wing will head to No. 4 seed Northfield for a 2 p.m. game on Sunday Aug. 9 to start a best-of-three series. Game 2 will take place at 8 p.m. on Tuesday Aug. 11 at Red Wing. Game 3, if needed, will be at 8 p.m. Friday at Northfield.
Red Wing 9, Bay City 5
Thanks to a dominant start by Aaron Johnson, Red Wing picked up a non-league victory against Bay City on Friday night, 9-5, at the Red Wing Athletic Field.
Johnson struck out 13 in the win, limiting the Bombers to zero runs on seven hits and one walk over seven innings of work.
On offense, Mitch Matter got the Aces’ first run, reaching home on a Josh Thygesen sacrifice fly in the third inning. Then, Red Wing went off for three runs in the fifth with an Adam Thygesen sacrifice fly and a two-run home run by Ty Buck that scored Josh Thygesen. The Aces capped things off with a five-run seventh inning, highlighted by a two-run single by Kyle Blahnik.
Jimmy Bohmbach, Blahnik and Matter each finished with two hits for Red Wing while Josh Thygesen, Buck and Matter all scoring twice in the victory.
Bay City had RBI singles by Cam Voigt and Derek Ulvenes as part of a four-run ninth inning. Keegan Byrne went 3-for-4, while Ulvenes, Justin Lance, Thate Peterson and Jordan Eggenberger each tallied two hits for the Bombers. Cody Leitner took the loss after giving up four runs (all earned) on eight hits and three walks to go with one strikeout.