Amateur Baseball: Red Wing's pitching stifles Dundas
Dundas’ leadoff hitter, Carson Jones, made Red Wing pitcher Aaron Johnson work to start Wednesday’s game at the Red Wing Athletic Field.
Johnson got two quick strikes on Jones, who proceeded to foul off five pitches in the at-bat, but as he did the entire night, Johnson won the battle. On the ninth pitch, he struck out Jones in the longest at-bat of the night and threw a shutout in the Aces’ 4-0 victory.
“After about that third inning is where I felt like everything was there,” Johnson said. “I was mixing pitches well and just attacked the hitters. … Tonight, I definitely felt like I found it.”
Johnson admitted his performance was somewhat erratic in his previous two starts but his pitching mechanics fell into place on Wednesday. He allowed seven hits and two walks to go along with nine strikeouts.
“With Aaron, when he settles in like that, he really settles in,” Red Wing co-manager Andy Gibart said. “During his last few starts, he’s been up-and-down a little bit but tonight was a perfect example of what he can do once he gets in a groove.”
Zach Garner went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and Dave Jenson was 2-for-3 with two runs scored in the seventh and eighth spots in the Aces’ batting order, respectively.
“It isn’t your typical bottom of the order,” Gibart said. “We expect those guys to get hits too just like the top of the order. They were the ones who came through. … When the top of the order has a tough night it’s kind of nice to have the bottom of the order pick it up. We needed it tonight, no question.”
Adam Thygesen and Mike Stegora each finished 1-for-4 with two RBI in the win.
Tyler Jones led the Dukes, going 2-for-3 with a walk and Rich Bordas was 2-for-4.
After Carson Jones struck out to start the game, Tyler Jones laced a single before Johnson induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Red Wing (21-5, 9-3 Classic Cannon Valley League) was held hitless through the first two innings by Matt Neuger, who threw six innings and allowed four earned runs on six hits, and Dundas left eight runners on base in the first five innings against Johnson.
In the bottom of the third inning, Garner floated a single into short center field for the Aces’ first hit and Jenson followed with a single. After a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Goering and a ground out by Thygesen, Stegora hit a hard ground ball that ricocheted off a diving Jake Mathison at first base to give Red Wing a 2-0 lead.
An inning later, the Aces got going again as Garner delivered a hard single into center field with one out and Jenson did the same. With two outs, Thygesen launched a double down the left-field line, providing all the offense Red Wing would need.
Johnson was locked in to close out the game, giving up just two singles in the final four innings. He did not allow a runner past second base in Wednesday’s victory.
“When he’s down in the zone, he’s not going to be beat,” Gibart said of Johnson. “He was able to find it in the middle innings.”
Todd Mathison pitched two perfect innings in relief for the Dukes, striking out three.
The game was completed in less than two hours.
The Aces’ next game is against Pine Island Friday at the Ath. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.