Baseball: Bombers drop Simley in eight
CANNON FALLS – Playing its fifth game in three days, and with two more to come this week, Cannon Falls used most of its bench Thursday in a non-conference game against Simley. All the substitutions didn’t matter in the end, as the Bombers were able to fend off the Spartans, 7-6, in eight innings.
The deciding run scored with two outs in the bottom of the eighth when Bryce Boyle-Hoban scampered in from second base after Levi Prestegard singled up the middle. But in this game, no simple single would do, nor would a runner arrive at second without some in-game advanced scouting.
“This game had a bit of everything,” Cannon Falls head coach Bucky Lindow said. “Just to talk about that last play: Hunter Blakeslee saw something in that pitcher earlier in the game, shared it with the first-base coach, he shared it with me and we shared it with the team. And, Boyle was specifically the guy where we said ‘If you get on with two outs, we know you can steal it.’ So, there it was. He got on, got in scoring position, then Levi battles with two strikes and puts the bat on the ball and good things happen.”
Presegard fell in an 0-2 hole in his final at-bat, but finally slapped a 1-2 pitch up the middle. The shortstop and second baseman arrived at the ball simultaneously, and the resulting collision allowed the ball to skitter through into center field. Boyle-Hoban streaked across the plate and into a flying chest bump from a teammate.
Yet the end of the game wasn’t even the most unusual occurrence in the game. After Simley took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third, Cannon Falls responded with a four-run bottom half that included a suicide squeeze from No. 3 hitter Brock Peterson. It might seem odd to ask the most productive spot in the lineup to drop down a bunt. But asking that batter to do so after he watched two teammates take walks, and the opposing pitcher throw more balls than strikes through the first five hitters in the inning?
“I’d call him ‘effectively wild,’” said Blakeslee. “He was kind of wild, but then he throws one in there and you’re not ready for it. It’s pretty tough. But we did good.”
Blakeslee saw that innaccuarcy from Simley’s Zack Langotn first hand, drawing a walk one batter after Peterson’s bunt. But in the fifth inning, Blakeslee didn’t let his at bat go long enough for a base on balls. Instead, Blakeslee got a pitch to turn on.
“I was looking down the middle, trying to drive it to the right side, and I got a pitch up and in and I just turned on it,” Blakeslee said. “Good things happened, I guess.”
Good things indeed happened as Blakeslee’s drive ricocheted off the John Burch Park scoreboard in left-center field, giving the Bombers the lead after the Spartans had scored three times in the fourth.
Simley’s final run came in the sixth, but the Spartans could not get any more after that off sophomore Michael Monson, who stranded the bases loaded in that inning and shut down the Spartans over the next two innings.
Monson got the win, pitching 4 1/3 innings and giving up one run on one hit and three walks. Hunter Reinardy started the game, throwing 3 2/3 innings and giving up five runs on four hits and three walks.
Boyle-Hoban had one hit in three at-bats, a stolen base and two runs scored. Presegard finished 2-for-5 with an RBI while Blakeslee finished 1-for-3. Jonathan Sharot, Peter Haggerty and Tanner Carlson each had an RBI. Hunter Johnson added a double and a run.
The Bombers (15-3) will head to Zumbrota-Mazeppa on Friday, then close out the regular season at home Saturday against Randolph.