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Red Wing pitcher Cody Leitner sets to throw during Friday’s season-opener at Northfield. Leitner pitched 5 1/3 innings in the Wingers’ 8-4 11-inning victory. (Photo courtesy of Nick Gerhardt/Northfield News)

Baseball: Red Wing wins in 11 innings

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sports Red Wing, 55066
Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

It was gut check time for the Red Wing baseball team just one game into the season. And the Wingers passed with flying colors.

Going into extra innings with Missota Conference rival Northfield in the season opener Friday, a four-run 11th inning – sparked by a two-out solo home run by junior Ty Buck – pushed Red Wing to an 8-4 victory over the Raiders.

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“Ty had a solo shot there in the 11th. Then, the floodgates kind of opened up and we were able to bang out a bunch of runs,” said Wingers’ head coach Paul Hartmann.

Following Buck’s home run, six straight Red Wing players reached base. Ryan Jonas and Austin Strand each had RBI singles, and Cody Leitner drew a bases-loaded walk.

The game looked as though it would end in seven innings, with the Wingers leading 4-3 with one out remaining before Northfield tied the game on a passed ball.

“We were one strike away in the seventh. The guys could have hung their heads but they didn’t,” Hartmann said. “You can map out the different things you can put into a baseball game, and we had most of them here in this first one.”

After the Raiders tied the game, sophomore Tait Kelly came in relief and threw three scoreless innings to get the win. He struck out two and allowed just three hits and one walk.

“Tait came in, faced the middle of the order right away and did an outstanding job.”

Red Wing’s three pitchers – Leitner, Buck and Kelly – allowed just one walk in the game.

At the plate, Buck led the way, going 3-for-6 with two RBI, including the homer that turned the game in the Wingers’ favor. Gunnar Tubbs finished 4-for-5 with a run scored, and Dixon Irwin went 2-for-6 with a double, two runs and an RBI. Thate Peterson added two hits and two RBI as the team put together 17 hits in the victory.

“Whether it’s one at-bat or one pitch or one inning, our guys kept an even keel tonight,” Hartmann said. “They learned that you can’t count the chickens before they hatch.”

Red Wing (1-0) plays host to Chanhassen Tuesday at the Red Wing Athletic Field.

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