Baseball: Bombers sweep Kenyon-Wanamingo
CANNON FALLS – Any time Kenyon-Wanamingo was set for a late charge, Cannon Falls stood tall.
In the Hiawatha Valley League Blue Division opener, the 16th-ranked (2A) Bombers came away with a home sweep of the 18th-ranked (1A) Knights at John Burch Park.
In Game 1, Carter Dombeck struck out eight and held K-W to one hit in 6 1/3 innings, and Levi Prestegard got out of a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout to end the game with a 4-2 Cannon Falls victory. Then in the nightcap, the Bombers opened with a four-run first inning then added three runs in the top of the seventh to ensure a 9-5 win.
“Doubleheaders can be very tough and they’re a good team,” said Cannon Falls head coach Bucky Lindow. “To play at a good energy level for 14 innings or more, you got to really be on your game. I’m really proud of our guys for their mental toughness.”
Bombers senior Peter Haggerty added, “Getting out there and sweeping one of the top teams in the Blue, it’s great.”
In the first game, Alex Roosen got K-W’s lone hit – an RBI double – in the top of the first inning. But Cannon Falls tacked on two runs in the bottom frame after Brock Peterson scored on a wild pitch and Hunter Blakeslee came home on a sacrifice fly by Garrett Beach. The Bombers added two more runs in the fourth with RBI singles from Haggerty and Quinton Lindow.
Up 4-1 to start the seventh, Cannon Falls had some trouble shutting the door. With one out, Cannon Falls had two fielding errors that put runners on first and third base. After a walk loaded the bases, Prestegard ended any threat of a comeback with a strikeout.
“It was a little pressure, but I just kept my cool, took my time and threw strikes,” Prestegard said about working out of the jam.
Starting Game 2, the Bombers wasted little time taking control of the game.
Bryce Boyle-Hoban opened the game with a double, then came home one batter later on an RBI two-bagger from Peterson. With two outs and the bases loaded, Haggerty unloaded on a fastball for a bases-clearing stand-up triple to put Cannon Falls up 4-0.
For Haggerty, getting a big hit off of K-W pitcher Alex Roosen was a year in the making.
“Last year when I faced him, I struck out three times, so I had a little bit of a personal grudge,” Haggerty said. “He just threw me an inside fastball and I just turned and let him do some of the work with his speed. … Coach has a score sheet, and one of the big things on there is, ‘Score first.’ That was awesome getting out with four runs in the first inning.”
The Knights found their swing in the third inning, tying the game at 4-4 after collecting four hits, including a two-run double from Gavin Roosen.
Cannon Falls took a brief one-run lead in the fifth after a one-run single from Blakeslee before K-W tied the game again in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single from Jace Clawitter.
With K-W going with Gavin Roosen on the mound in the sixth, the Bombers’ bats stayed patient as the team drew four walks, including a bases-loaded walk from Blakeslee that brought in the eventual game-winning run.
But the Knights weren’t going down quietly, loading the bases with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Again, Cannon Falls relied on Prestegard, who coaxed K-W into a pop fly to end the threat.
“Coming in from out of the field, he was able to get key outs when we had to have ‘em,” Bucky Lindow said.
Prestegard added, “My coaches had me prepared for it, so I was mentally prepared to come in and pitch. I just focus on throwing strikes and I trust the defense to make the play behind me.”
The Bombers’ offense rewarded Prestegard’s clutch out by adding three runs in the ninth to secure the victory.
“Today, when there was a big threat, we got the big play or we got the big pitch,” Bucky Lindow said. “It was really fun to see.”
Cannon Falls (3-1, 2-0 HVL Blue) hosts Byron on Monday.