BLUE EARTH - Fairmont VFW Post 1222 scored five runs in the first inning en route to an 11-7 win over Blue Earth on Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Field in Blue Earth.
In the 97-degree heat, Fairmont catcher Luke Becker did everything he could to stay cool off the field. Rags soaked in ice water, along with a water soaked rag under his helmet, did the job.
On the field, Becker swung a red hot bat, going 3-for-4, with an RBI triple and a steal of home, to lead Fairmont's offense.
Becker led off the game for Fairmont, reaching first base after an inside pitch that grazed his shoulder. Jay Ruen followed right behind him to first when he also was hit by a pitch.
Ben Abel then stepped up and delivered an RBI single to score Becker, giving Fairmont the early 1-0 lead.
Bailey Koppen, the designated-hitter, came up with runners on first and third. He hit a deep shot to left-center, scoring Ruen from third.
Cole Emler also got a single in the first for Fairmont, collecting an RBI and increasing the lead to 3-0.
Jack Waletich had a base hit score Koppen from third and Emler from second base, making the score 5-0.
Ruen walked to lead off the second inning for Fairmont, and stole second base to get into scoring position.
Abel grounded to the shortstop for a fielder's choice, but collected an RBI when Ruen scored on the hit.
In the third inning for Fairmont, Emler led off with a walk and moved to second on Parker Monsen's single. Treyson Arens reached first base on a hit that squeezed between the Blue Earth first and second basemen, allowing Emler to score.
Blue Earth responded with some offense in the third to get back in the game. Blue Earth's Luke Schuaey and Quinn Huisman led off with back-to-back singles. Both advanced on a wild pitch to get into scoring position.
With runners on second and third base, Seth Anderson walked to load the bases. Austin Gustafson then delivered a sacrifice fly to center to score Schauey.
Kellen Jacobs stepped up and delivered an RBI single to score another Blue Earth run, making the score 7-4.
Blue Earth added another two runs in the fourth inning on back-to-back doubles. Seth Anderson's double off the right-center field fence moved Huisman, who had reached after being hit by pitch, to third base.
Gustafson hit a double in the next at-bat, scoring both Huisman and Anderson, putting Blue Earth within a run, 7-6.
In the top of the seventh Fairmont held onto a two-run lead, but added a few more runs for security. The three-run inning for Fairmont was capped off with Becker's RBI triple deep to center-field to score Nate Johnson.
Becker than proceeded to steal home to give Fairmont the 11-6 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.
Blue Earth added one run in the bottom of the seventh before Fairmont reliever Josh Lindquist was able to secure the final out for the win.
"Our fielding was not sharp today," said Fairmont coach Todd Sukalski. "We've got a tournament this weekend so we need to learn to play better in the heat."
Fairmont's Josh Eversman pitched five innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and striking out three. Lindquist came in for the final two inning of relief, giving up one run and three hits with one strikeout.
"Our pitchers threw well today; they kept the ball over the plate like we talked about and we only walked two guys so that's a good thing," Sukalski said.
On offense, Abel went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Blue Earth's Luke Schauey led the team, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.
Fairmont (6-3) travels to New Ulm to play Luverne at 12:30 p.m. on Friday at Mueller Park.
FMT 511 001 3 - 11 9 3
BE 103 200 1 - 7 11 2
Josh Eversman (WP), Josh Lindquist (6) and Luke Becker. Reed Rasmussen (LP), Quinn Huisman (3) and Huisman and Jack Kennedy.
3B - Luke Becker. 2B - Bailey Koppen (FMT), Seth Anderson, Austin Gustafson.
Fairmont 12-6, St. James 8-4 - Fairmont VFW Post 1222 swept St. James on Sunday in a double header, winning 12-8 and 6-4.
In game one, Luke Becker was 4-for-5 with a grand slam and five RBIs to lead the team.
Josh Eversman went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI while Jay Ruen went 2-for-5 with one run scored and three RBIs.
Bailey Koppen went 2-for-5 with one run and two RBIs for Fairmont. Nate Johnson and Dan Abel each added two hits.
Jay Ruen pitched the seven-inning win, giving up eight runs - three earned - on eight hits, while striking out five.
In game two, Becker pitched seven innings, giving up four runs - three earned - on six hits, while striking out seven to earn the win.
At the plate, Becker went 3-for-4, including a double and scored three runs.
Ruen went 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI, while Abel went 2-for-2 with one run and one RBI.
Eversman, Jonathon Soucek and Matt Lytle each added hits for Fairmont.