Amateur Baseball: Aces stifle late rally in win against River FallsThe game was unraveling for Red Wing Tuesday against River Falls at the Red Wing Athletic Field.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
The game was unraveling for Red Wing Tuesday against River Falls at the Red Wing Athletic Field.
Two errors to start the ninth inning set the stage for a nerve-racking finish as the Aces nearly let a 7-2 lead slip away in a 7-5 victory against the Fighting Fish.
“We’ve got to make the plays late in the game,” Red Wing player and co-manager Andy Gibart said. “We’ve been talking about closing games out. … It’s almost like we’re getting nervous.”
Gibart was able to overcome the errors and secure the save despite giving up a run. He got two strikeouts in his one inning of work, including a called third strike to end the game.
Steve Boldt, Jimmy Bohmbach and Adam Thygesen each finished 2-for-4 to lead Red Wing, and Chris Guetzlaff was 1-for-4 with two RBI in the victory.
Aaron Johnson started for the Aces, getting the win after throwing seven innings and allowing two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out three.
“He’s become our no question ace,” Gibart said. “He’s that guy. We can count on him to get us a win.”
But Johnson needed to overcome a shaky first inning to get the victory.
Johnson gave up two runs for Red Wing in the opening frame after walking the leadoff hitter. He said the strike zone was quite a bit tighter in the first inning than the rest of the game and it played a part in his struggles. He spent the next six innings in cruise control, using his fastball to get ahead in the count and sprinkling in off-speed pitches to keep the hitters honest.
“I knew I just had to keep throwing strikes,” Johnson said. “Go out there and keep battling. I felt like I was hitting spots well in the first (inning), I just wasn’t getting calls.”
The Aces backed up Johnson with five runs of their own in the bottom of the first inning with four of the runs coming after two outs.
“To give Aaron confidence that we’re there for him, that’s huge,” Gibart said of Red Wing’s offensive outburst in the first. “We’re getting the two-out hits. It’s definitely coming together for us.”
Despite three shaky innings, the Aces controlled the game. They scored five runs in the first, one in the fourth and one in the sixth while pounding out nine hits.
River Falls scored two in the eighth inning and one in the ninth inning, stranding the bases loaded to end the game.
Red Wing plays again Friday at the Shakopee/Jordan Tournament against Shakopee.