Baseball: Wingers swept at home, suffer another injury
The Red Wing Athletic Field was a very friendly confine for Red Wing last season. The Wingers went undefeated at home with three walk-off wins.
But in its first series at home this season, Red Wing was outplayed by Holy Angels in a 4-2, 5-0 sweep, and also lost another key player.
Ty Buck, who pitched five impressive innings for the Wingers in Game 1, was hit in the mouth with a pitch during the fifth inning of Game 2. The ball opened up a gash below Buck's lower left lip and inside his mouth, causing a significant amount of bleeding. He left the game and received stitches.
The Wingers were already playing without Ryan Boldt, who suffered a bone bruise in his right knee during the season-opening doubleheader Friday against Farmington.
"Things like this happen," Wingers' senior outfielder Preston Blaney said of the injuries. "All you can do is persevere; take what you've got, take what's given."
Buck was Red Wing's best player Tuesday, going 3-for-4 with a triple and an RBI in Game 1 while giving up zero earned runs and striking out eight on the mound. In Game 2, Buck was 2-for-2 before getting hit by a fastball from Jordan Black.
"Ty is a fighter, he'll be back and better," Wingers' co-head coach Paul Hartmann said. "He was great today. We saw the things he's capable of doing."
The rest of Red Wing's offense sputtered, leaving 10 runners on base in both games.
"We weren't aggressive," Blaney said. "The first-pitch strike was there. We backed down."
"All it really takes is one guy to come through in that situation," Hartmann added. "Today wasn't our day. We'll figure it out."
The opening game of the series was a battle between Buck and the Stars' Jordan Folisi. In the first three innings, the two teams managed three hits, all by Red Wing, with both teams combining to strike out 11 times.
"We pitched well enough to win," Hartmann said. "We're not going to win many ballgames by scoring two runs. It comes down to our guys' resiliency. Today, we were unable to do that but we have to choose to fight and not roll over."
Holy Angels scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning with two outs. John Spanier reached on a fielder's choice, stole second base and scored on an error. Then, Black came across home on a single by Jacob Flemming to grab a 2-0 lead.
The Stars added two more runs in the top of the sixth inning with another error by the Wingers allowing one of the runs.
Buck led off the bottom half of the inning with a triple and scored on an infield single by Andy Kalb. But with runners on first and second with one out, Red Wing struck out twice to end the threat.
The Wingers put pressure on Holy Angels in the final inning, with Zach Lang scoring on a double by Buck, before a fly out and a strike out ended the game with the tying run on second base.
Folisi gave up one run on five hits and three walks in six innings while striking out nine to pick up the Game 1 win.
The second half of the doubleheader provided little positives for Red Wing as the Wingers put two runners on base in each of the first four innings and never scored. The Stars scored two runs in the third inning, two in the fourth inning and one in the sixth inning.
Black completed the shutout, scattering seven hits, walking three, hitting one batter and striking out three.
It was a bad day for Red Wing and Blaney said the team will need to forget about the losses but not the games.
"This does leave a sour taste in our mouths," he said. "We'd rather use this situation. Remember this feeling. Fight for not having this feeling again."
The Wingers are scheduled to face Northfield for a doubleheader Thursday in Northfield, weather permitting.