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Amateur Baseball: Hits elude Aces in extra-inning loss

Red Wing second baseman Adam Thygesen makes a throw to first base for an out during Sunday's home game against Elko at the Red Wing Athletic Field. The Aces lost 3-1 in 11 innings. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)1 / 3
Red Wing's Mike Stegora (right) high-fives teammate Jordan Warren after the Aces got out of the third inning unscathed during Sunday's game with Elko in Red Wing. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)2 / 3
Red Wing pitcher Aaron Johnson struck out nine in seven innings during Sunday's game against Elko at the Red Wing Athletic Field. Johnson had a no-decision in the Aces' 3-1 11-inning loss. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)3 / 3

Red Wing’s pitching and defense did everything it could to lead the Aces to a victory on Sunday. The one thing that was lacking was that one big base hit to put them over the top.

“We haven’t been getting big hits when they’ve been needed,” Red Wing manager Jimmy Bohmbach said after Sunday’s 3-1 11-inning home loss to Elko. “We can’t do too much without getting guys on base. When we can get guys on, we do well, but we have to get guys on first.”

Clinging to a 1-0 lead after Mike Stegora scored on a throwing error on a double steal attempt in the bottom of the sixth, it looked like one run would be enough for Red Wing. On the mound, the Aces got a strong start from lefty Aaron Johnson, who struck out nine and held the Express to three hits in seven innings. And through 1 2/3 innings, relief pitcher Jordan Warren held Elko without a hit.

“All of our pitchers have been great. Not just one or two of them, all of them,” said Bohmbach, who also played catcher on Sunday. “We have to start getting them support (on offense) and start getting them out of some long innings.”

With Red Wing just one out away from a Section 1B victory, Elko’s John Parker hit a grounder up the middle that was just out of the reach of Aces’ second baseman Adam Thygesen, allowing Jason Grimm to score from second and bring the game into extra innings.

In the bottom of the ninth and 10th innings, Red Wing got on with leadoff singles that ultimately led to nothing. After Dave Jenson’s leadoff single in the ninth, a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Blahnik turned into a double play. Then in the 10th, Josh Thygesen got on with a single to start the inning, only to head back to the dugout after a sacrifice bunt by Alex Quiding was popped up, leading to an easy double play.

In the 11th, Elko capitalized on two Aces errors, which allowed a pair of runs to score to make it a 3-1 game.

Even with the top of the lineup leading off the bottom of the 11th, Red Wing could not manufacture any runs, with Mike Hommes and Adam Thygesen hitting into groundouts. Zach Garner got on first with a two-out single before Dave Jenson hit a shallow popup that ended the game.

Right now, Bohmbach said the Aces are seeing the hitting woes have a trickle-down effect, with short innings at the plate and extended time out on the field. But if there is a time to turn it around, Red Wing needs it to happen over the next week.

The Aces (2-3) play four straight Classic Cannon Valley League games, with Lake City coming to the Ath on Tuesday, followed by road games against Hastings and Lake City on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Then on Memorial Day, Red Wing hosts Miesville.

“We’re already 0-2 in (section) play, and we don’t want to dig ourselves into too big a hole,” Bohmbach said. “This is a chance for us to turn things around quick.” 

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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