Baseball: Chaska rips Red Wing
The theme of Red Wing’s last two weeks has been one of quiet bats and shaky defense. Pitching has been a bright spot for the Wingers since an April 25 win over Farmington, Red Wing’s last victory.
On Saturday, the lumber was once again held in check, while fielding continued to be a problem. Unfortunately for the Wingers, the pitching that had held firm for so long was completely shelled by Chaska in a 13-0 Hawks win.
“There’s no doubt they’re one of the best teams in our conference, and they’ll compete very favorably in their section. They’ve beaten a lot of good teams this year, and they’ve played a tough schedule,” said Red Wing head coach Paul Hartmann. “This is kind of a tough end to a long week for us, trying to stretch our guys five games. I think our arms are a little tired, our bodies are a little tired, I think our heads are a little tired, too. Hopefully we can take Sunday and get a mental breather, a physical breather, and we can get refocused and reenergized come Monday.”
Chaska pounded out 11 hits over five innings, and capitalized on three Winger errors. Things started off well for Red Wing, but the Hawks scored five times in the second, six times in the third, and twice more in the fourth to run away with the game.
After 10 batters came to the plate in the second inning, the Wingers were noticeably silent in the dugout. Over the course of an ongoing eight-game losing streak, the lack of spark has been something the coaches have noticed.
“The hard thing to watch is we come to the park ready to play. We come in the park with a lot of enthusiasm. We come in the park with the right attitude. And as soon as things go south, we’ve got guys that are burying their heads,” Hartmann said. “We’re trying to stay positive with them, trying to get them to believe that they can get the job done. We’re one or two plays away that go the wrong way, and if we turn those around, we have a better chance in the later innings. Today, they came out and swung the bats, and they’re a very good hitting team. But we allowed their lead-off runner to get on by not making plays defensively, and that can change the tide of an inning.”
Jakob Meyer, Tait Kelly and Ryan Jonas each had one hit each for Red Wing, who was shut out for the third time this season. And with four games scheduled this week, the opportunity to improve through practice will be difficult. So Hartmann and his staff will have to try to coach and teach during games, which, Hartmann said, can be difficult.
“We keep on trying to stay positive, and focusing on the process, not the outcome. We have to learn how to bury things and move on to the next pitch. If you focus too long on the previous play in this game, this game will eat you up,” Hartmann said. “This is a learning process our guys are going through, that you have to play the game one pitch at a time. We’ll continue to remind them of that. That’s the formula for success. I don’t care what level you’re at. Whether we see the fruits at the end of the season here, or down the line, I think these guys are capable of getting it done.”
Red Wing (2-11) will hit the road early this week with away games at Winona on Monday, and at New Prague on Tuesday. Chaska will welcome the Wingers on Thursday before Red Wing turns around to host South St. Paul on Saturday.