Amateur Baseball: Aces' pitching stays strong
Pitching is Red Wing’s forte and it showed again on Sunday against Northfield.
The Aces’ pitching staff did not walk a batter, though starter Jordan Warren did hit a batter, and the Knights never scored more than one run in an inning as Red Wing won 4-3 at the Red Wing Athletic Field. It was the Aces’ fourth consecutive victory.
“Pick whatever pitcher you want to put in there and the job gets done,” Aces’ co-manager/pitcher Andy Gibart said. “Jordan’s been pitching so well lately, I thought he deserved a section start and he did his job keeping us in the game through six innings.”
Red Wing’s offense provided enough with good at-bats in key situations. The Aces (23-5, 6-3 Section 1B) had seven different players tally one hit and Zach Garner went 2-for-4. Steve Boldt, Jimmy Bohmbach, Zach Laffey and Kyle Blahnik each had one hit and one RBI in the win. At least one runner reach base in every inning for the Aces.
Warren allowed three runs on nine hits in six innings and struck out two.
“The biggest thing is we’re just throwing strikes,” Red Wing co-manager/catcher Jimmy Bohmbach said. “It’s been like that all year. If we walk guys, we get in trouble.”
Eric Pittman started the game with a double for Northfield and Nick Kulla singled him home for a quick 1-0 lead. But Warren never wavered, retiring the next six batters.
Adam Thygesen responded with a double of his own to lead off the bottom of the first, advanced to third on a passed ball and tied the game on a groundout by Boldt.
Warren worked through trouble in multiple innings but the biggest threat came in the third inning. The Knights’ first three hitters reached base, two on base hits and one hit by a pitch. After a sacrifice fly to right field made it 2-1 Northfield, Warren coaxed a pop up, with a great sprawling catch by Garner, and another fly out to stave off a big inning.
“Jordan battles,” Gibart said. “That could change a whole ball game early if they would get those runs in. It’s a testament to how he’s pitching.”
The Aces’ offense sprung to life in the fifth inning as Mike Stegora bunted for a hit and stole second base. After Boldt walked, Stegora stole third and Bohmbach hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to tie the game at 2-2. Then, Laffey turned quickly on a fastball and hit a line drive over the right fielder’s head for a double that scored Boldt, who was attempting to steal second on the pitch. Stegora finished 1-for-3 with three stolen bases.
The Knights tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth inning with two singles and a sacrifice fly. Nick Bornhauser opened the inning with a single, David Barry followed with a single and Nolan Baker hit the sacrifice fly to centerfield. Barry was caught stealing and Mitch Knippenberg flew out to center to end the inning.
Red Wing manufactured the game-winning run in the seventh inning as Boldt led off with a bunt single and Bohmbach followed with a double. After a strikeout, Kyle Blahnik was robbed of a hit by a diving Scott Benjamin in centerfield but it scored Boldt from third for a 4-3 lead.
“In the past, when we’re down, we’re not getting those big hits,” Bohmbach said. “This year, our lineup one-through-nine has been good enough that is doesn’t matter where we are in the lineup we’re good enough to get some big hits when we need them.”
Justin Cunningham pitched the eighth inning for the Aces and Boldt threw the ninth inning to pick up the save. Cunningham was the winning pitcher, going two innings, striking out one and allowing one hit.
“JT pitched a great two innings to keep that game tied until we could get the big, clutch hit we knew was coming,” Gibart said.
Pittman led Northfield (14-6, 6-4 Section 1B), going 3-for-4 with a double, a run scored and two stolen bases. Tim Maus received a no-decision, pitching five innings and allowing three runs on five hits and three walks. He had two strikeouts.
Red Wing will attempt to keep the winning streak going Tuesday night at home against Eau Claire.