Amateur Baseball: Red Wing's win streak reaches 10
Pitching and defense have been linchpins for the Red Wing Aces’ success the past two seasons. But over the course of the last 10 games, Red Wing’s offense has been shouldering a heavier load, especially in the early innings.
In the midst of a 10-game winning streak -- including Sunday’s 11-1 seven-inning Classic Cannon Valley League victory over Hastings – the Aces have outscored their opponents 89-32, and have tallied 38 runs in the first three innings of their last six wins.
“We’re stepping onto the field expecting to win now,” Red Wing co-manager/starting pitcher Andy Gibart said of the team’s win streak. “It took us a while last year to get going. Getting 10 in a row now, our hitting has been contagious and we’re starting to put teams away early.
“Our emphasis has been getting up early, especially since our home tournament (on June 14-15),” Gibart added. “We’ve been able to jump out ahead, sustain the lead and keep hitting.”
It didn’t take the Aces long to assert their dominance over the Hawks at the Red Wing Athletic Field Sunday, taking a 7-1 lead through three innings.
After Hastings went up 1-0 in the top of the first on a Deryk Marks RBI double, Red Wing (18-4, 7-2 CCVL) answered back in the bottom half as Adam Thygesen scored on a fielder’s choice by Zach Laffey. The next batter, Kyle Blahnik, delivered a two-run triple over the left fielder’s head put the Aces up 3-1.
“Their pitcher (Jose Velez) left a changeup up higher than he wanted, and I got a pretty good swing on it,” said Blahnik, who finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
Red Wing tacked on two more runs in the second with consecutive two-out RBI singles by Steve Boldt and Jimmy Bohmbach. Then in the third, Red Wing went up by six runs as Zach Garner scored on a wild pitch and Tyler Goering reached home on a single by Thygesen.
“I’ve been feeling better at the plate,” said Thygesen, who was the Aces’ top hitter on Sunday, going 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI from the No. 1 slot. “The hits kind of come and go, and every now and then you get a bloop to drop in. I’ll take them when they come.”
While Red Wing’s offense let the runs roll in, the defense did its part in the win, posting 1-2-3 innings in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Gibart struck out four and held the Hawks to five hits, no walks and one run for a complete-game victory.
“Gibby puts balls into play, and it’s our job to play well behind him,” said Blahnik, the Aces’ shortstop. “He’s able to keep opposing batters off his fastball. When they do make contact, we have to make the plays. We’ve gotten good outings out of Gibby and the rest of our pitchers.”
Dave Jenson padded Red Wing’s lead in the sixth with a two-run double, and in the seventh, Mike Stegora put the Aces into double digits after reaching home on a wild pitch. With two outs in the seventh, Garner hit a liner into center field to score Bohmbach, putting Red Wing up 11-1 and ending the game via the 10-run rule.
Boldt went 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI, and Goering tallied a pair of runs in the Red Wing victory. Marks had Hastings’ lone extra-base hit, while Brandon Morgan, Andy Sammon, Austin LaDoux and Nick Horsch each had singles in the loss.
With the victory, the Aces’ record at the Ath remains unblemished at 14-0.
“We feel like we’re focused enough to get up right away on teams (during this win streak),” Thygesen said. “We’re pretty much putting the ball in the other team’s court lately. It’s been nice to get on top right away.”
Red Wing stays at home for its next two games, hosting Prescott on Tuesday before taking on Miesville for an Independence Day matchup at the Ath Thursday.