Baseball: Mistakes overwhelm Wingers
Red Wing proved to be its own worst enemy on Thursday.
The Wingers were able to build a 4-0 lead after three innings against Shakopee, the defending Missota Conference champions. But for the rest of the game, five errors, along with base-running gaffes and mental lapses crippled Red Wing’s chances to put away the game.
All the while, the Sabers mounted a comeback and brought the game to extras before finally putting away the Wingers 5-4 in eight innings at the Red Wing Athletic Field.
“The disheartening thing is that we played so well for so long, but we just didn’t finish it off in seven innings,” said Red Wing head coach Paul Hartmann. “For us to battle with them, and ultimately, we should have won the ball game, I hope it shows our guys something.”
The Wingers’ bats proved very reliable early on as they had three hits in the first inning. With two outs and Ty Buck (3-for-4) and Thate Peterson (1-for-3) in scoring position, Cam Voigt hit a shot to right field for what looked like a sure final out. But as he tried to come down with the ball, Shakopee’s Sam Scott bobbled it, allowing two Red Wing runs to come home.
“I thought it was a for-sure catch, and it was like, ‘Crap, I wanted to get at least one run in there,’ Voigt said. “It got down and it was a great start to the game.”
Over the next two innings, the Wingers continued to mount their lead, with an RBI single by Buck in the second and a groundout by Austin Strand that scored Gunnar Tubbs in the third.
Meanwhile on the mound, Sam Palmatier was solid in his first start for Red Wing. The left-handed junior worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first and another Sabers threat with runners on first and third in the third inning. In 4 1/3 innings, Palmatier strike out two while allowing three hits and three walks.
“He threw a lot of strikes and we played pretty good defense behind him for the next four innings or so,” Hartmann said of Palmatier. “We hope that can give him a lot of confidence for the rest of the spring.”
After the fourth, the Wingers’ offense sputtered, with no base runner getting past first base for the rest of the game. In that span, Red Wing also got caught stealing twice.
“To start, we were the aggressor on the base paths, we had more aggressive swings at the plate and we were playing aggressive defensively,” Hartmann said, “then we started to second-guess ourselves and we left some chances out there offensively.”
As the Wingers struggled, Shakopee started finding some offense as a sacrifice fly by Austen Leadstrom and a fielding error brought in two Sabers runs in the fifth.
And in the seventh, Shakopee’s rally started with a leadoff walk by Andrew Hanbury, followed by a double by Tyler Sloss off of Buck. Hanbury scored on a groundout by Dominik Schleper, and Sloss tied the game on a sacrifice fly from Leadstrom.
In the extra frame, an infield error by the Wingers put the leadoff man, Henry Henk, on for the Sabers. Three batters later, Hanbury brought Henk in with a sacrifice fly to make it a 5-4 game.
Trying to get out of the inning, the Wingers committed another infield error. While it didn’t do any immediate damage, Red Wing came into the dugout frazzled. The bats never recovered as Red Wing went down in order in the eight, completing the Sabers’ comeback.
“Especially towards the end, we just couldn’t hit the ball there at the end and get a hit when we needed one,” Voigt said.
“That’s a game we probably should have won,” Hartmann said.
Dominic Schleif got the win for Shakopee (2-2) after keeping the Wingers scoreless in three innings of relief.
Red Wing (1-2) hosts New Prague on Monday.