Jake Mathison and the rest of the Northfield pitching staff wasn't going to let Red Wing get any solid footing on Sunday.
In the Aces' Classic Cannon Valley League finale at the Red Wing Athletic Field, Mathison held Red Wing to just one hit over the first four innings while striking out five. Then in relief, Ben Voss and Will Gustafson combined for three scoreless innings of relief, helping the Knights leave with a 6-2 victory over their Section 1B foe.
“The only real offense we got was with some walks and some balls hit through the infield,” said Red Wing manager Jimmy Bohmbach. “(Mathison) pitched really well. He was tough to hit. In the last couple innings he started to slow down and we were able to get some hits, but we couldn't score.”
The Aces' first hit came from Kyle Blahnik with a one-out single in the second inning. Another one wouldn't come until the fifth inning when Joel Newman got a two-out opposite-field single that scored Mitch Matter. Newman reached home after an infield error for Red Wing's final run. Adam Thygesen and Brady Schroeder also had hits for Red Wing in the fifth.
By that point, the Aces were already playing catch-up. In the top of the third, Northfield's Scott Benjamin cleared the bases with a three-run double, followed immediately by a Dave Picha RBI single.
The Knights tacked on two more runs in the top of the fifth with an RBI double by Benjamin, who scored later in the inning on an Aldon Severson single.
Isaac Oeltjen, usually a relief pitcher for Red Wing, started the game for the Aces, giving up eight hits and six runs over 4 2/3 innings.
“Isaac didn't throw too bad. He just didn't get some calls, which went both ways today,” Bohmbach said. “We didn't help him defensively and we had a coaching blunder in the fifth trying to score. The game plan was for Isaac to go four or five innings and in the fifth, he was around 100 pitches.”
Newman came in and threw 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, holding the Knights to zero runs on five hits with two strikeouts.
“We went with Joel and he picked it up and threw well,” Bohmbach said.
And late in the game, the Aces had chances to cut the gap. Red Wing opened the eighth with three straight walks to load the bases before a strikeout, a force out at home and a pop-up neutralized that threat. They loaded the bases again with two outs in the ninth and Blahnik up at the plate. Blahnik got the ball to the outfield but the ball fell into the glove of the center fielder for the final out.
Picha was 3-for-5 for the Knights while Eric Pittman, Mathison, Benjamin and Severson each had a pair of hits in the Northfield victory.
Josh Thygesen, Adam Thygesen, Schroeder, Blahnik, Matter and Newman each had a hit for the Aces, who wrap up the regular season Friday at home for Fan Appreciation Night against the Bay City Bombers.
Red Wing 1, Burnsville Bulldogs 0
Tait Kelly had two of Red Wing's three hits, along with the game-winning run on a JT Cunningham single in the second inning, and the duo of Cunningham and Joel Newman held the Burnsville Bulldogs to one hit in a 1-0 victory Friday at the Red Wing Athletic Field.
Cunningham went eight innings in the victory, striking out five while giving up just one walk and one hit, a second-inning single by Jake Swartout. Newman threw a scoreless ninth inning to get the save.
Josh Loewen went all eight innings for the Bulldogs, an over-35 amateur baseball team, striking out two with two walks and three hits allowed.