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Amateur Baseball: Red Wing wins in Gibart’s curtain call

Red Wing co-manager/player Andy Gibart is congratulated after scoring a run in the second inning of Friday’s 7-2 victory over Bay City at the Red Wing Athletic Field. Playing in his final regular-season game as a member of the Aces, Gibart played every position in the field. (Republican Eagle photo by Chris Harrell)1 / 3
Red Wing starting pitcher JT Cunningham winds up for a pitch during Friday’s regular-season finale against Bay City at the Red Wing Athletic Field. Cunningham got the win after notching five strikeouts while holding the Bombers to two hits and a walk in five innings of work. (Republican Eagle photo by Chris Harrell)2 / 3
Red Wing shortstop Kyle Blahnik makes the throw across his body to first base during Friday's 7-2 victory against Bay City at the Red Wing Athletic Field. (Republican Eagle photo by Chris Harrell)3 / 3

Red Wing co-manager/player Andy Gibart is hanging up the cleats after 14 years, and he got his years’ worth Friday against Bay City at the Red Wing Athletic Field.

Playing all nine positions during Friday’s 7-2 win against the Bombers, Gibart soaked in his final regular-season game for the Aces.

“Being that it’s my last regular-season game here for the Aces, I thought it would be a fun thing to do,” Gibart said of playing every spot. “It was an absolute blast.”

Gibart, who has 94 career wins on the mound with Red Wing, allowed one run in one inning of relief in Friday’s victory. He also went 1-for-4 with an RBI at the plate.

“He hung a little curveball for me and I put good wood on it,” he said of his single with a laugh. “It was fun to get the first at-bat and be able to get an RBI single and a run scored. It made my night.”

Adam Thygesen squared up the ball in all four of his at-bats for the Aces, going 2-for-4 with two doubles and two line-drive outs.

“That just happens,” Thygesen said. “Just try to find ways to remind yourself that they’re good at-bats and whatever the outcome is, you’re seeing the ball well and just keep going from there.”

Zach Garner was 2-for-3 with a double and two stolen bases while Steve Boldt went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two stolen bases in the win.

JT Cunningham got a start on the mound for Red Wing and thrived, throwing five innings and allowing one run on two singles. He struck out five in picking up the victory.

“He’s throwing great for us,” Thygesen said. “Not a lot of innings, a lot of relief appearances. It was really nice to see him get out there and get a start and throw well in it.”

Jordan Eggenberger was 2-for-2 with a run scored and pitched four no-hit innings in relief for Bay City. He struck out four and allowed one unearned run. Travis Balster was 1-for-2 and Brock Strain went 1-for-2 with an RBI in the loss.

Cunningham set down Bay City on 10 pitches in the first inning and Adam Thygesen welcomed back Red Wing native Carsten Meyer, the Bombers’ starting pitcher, with a double to start the bottom of the first inning. Garner followed with another double for a quick 1-0 lead, Boldt singled to move Garner to third and Zach Laffey hit a sacrifice fly to left field for a 2-0 advantage.

The bottom of the Aces’ order got things rolling in the second inning as Alex Quiding singled with one out and stole second base before Gibart connected for a base hit for a 3-0 lead. After a single by Garner and a stolen base, Boldt put Red Wing up 5-0 with a hard line drive into the outfield for a single.

The Bombers got their first tally in the top of the fifth inning as Eggenberger led off with his second hit of the game, the only two against Cunningham. He advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly out to left field by Justin Lance.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Aces took a 6-1 lead as Quiding was hit by a pitch to start the inning, took second on a wild pitch and scored on an error by Bay City.

Red Wing’s final run came in the eighth inning when Thygesen ripped a double off the left-field fence and came home four batters later on a sacrifice fly to right field by Kyle Blahnik.

“Every once in a while there are times where you just don’t have an approach, see it, hit it,” Thygesen said of his night. “Nights like tonight and over the last few weeks, just see a pitch and try to square it up as best you can. Put a good swing on it and see what happens.”

Gibart entered to pitch the ninth inning and walked the first batter. After Gibart struck out Andrew Sandstrom, Balster singled and Strain looped a single into short right-center field to cut the Aces’ lead to 7-2. Gibart proceeded to strike out the final two hitters of the game to preserve the victory.

After a 28-5 (7-3 Section 1B) regular-season record, with a 21-1 record at home, Red Wing turn its sights to the Section 1B tournament Sunday at the Ath. The Aces, who got the No. 3 seed in Section 1B, host sixth-seeded Hastings (12-15, 1-7 Section 1B) at 2 p.m.

“This is the year we have a chance to win the state tournament,” Gibart said. “I’m hoping we make a playoff push here and end on about as high a note as we can get on. It’s our chance to win it. We’re excited heading into Sunday; we’re one of the best teams in state and now we just need to prove it in the playoffs.”

Chris Harrell
Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
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