Baseball: Bombers surge late, beat Knights
WANAMINGO — Between the shaggy infield slowing down balls and making life tough on the middle infielders, along with the pitching arm of Kenyon-Wanamingo’s Mathew Houglum, Cannon Falls had to change things on the fly.
“It took a while to adjust to everything,” said Bombers’ starting pitcher Andrew Egge. “But, we got it rolling.”
Highlighted by a four-run sixth inning, Cannon Falls was able to secure an 8-3 Hiawatha Valley League victory Tuesday afternoon over the host Knights at Memorial Field.
The long grass in the K-W infield made for some tough plays defensively for both teams, but the Bombers seemed to be the first to get out of that slump. First, there was a diving catch in left field by Elliott Boman in the second inning that prevented more Knights runs after Mitch Boyum drove home Calvin Steberg with an RBI single.
Then with Egge in a bases-loaded jam, Cannon Falls got an inning-ending double play, keeping K-W’s lead at one run.
“That gave us a jolt of energy. Double plays will do that, especially inning-ending double plays,” said Bombers head coach Bucky Lindow. “Guys come sprinting off, get excited and have good at-bats.”
After three innings without a hit, Cannon Falls’ bats finally caught up to the pitching and defense in the fourth with three runs coming home. Three straight singles by Cody Miller, Chase Reber and Gage Hildebrandt set the table, with Egge, Miller and Reber scoring for a 3-1 Bomber lead.
K-W was able to respond with a two-run bottom of the fourth with a two-run opposite-field single by Carter Leininger, who finished the game a team-best 2-for-4.
Liam Franken scored on an error in the fifth to put Cannon Falls ahead 4-3. Then in the sixth, the Bombers pulled away for good. A sac fly from Liam Franken brought home Miller, then Hildebrandt reached home on an error. Then with a sharp grounder that got through the left part of the infield by Egge, two more runners scored.
“(Houglum) slowed down a little bit. I finally got the rhythm with how he was throwing,” Egge said of his two-run single.
And the sixth-inning surge came through while Cannon Falls had two outs. Seven of the team’s eight runs on Tuesday came with two outs.
“The biggest difference is that pop-ups weren’t getting us anything. But when we got the ball on the ground, that let us beat out some stuff,” Lindow said.
Knights head coach Randy Hockinson added, “They took advantage of our mistakes. They always do. … This is the first game this year where the ‘D’ let us down.”
Egge struck out four with four hits and a pair of walks allowed in the victory. Houglum took the loss after allowing seven runs (four earned) on four hits and four walks while striking out six in 5 ⅔ innings.