WINNEBAGO - Blue Earth Area baseball mentor Todd Schmidtke described Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial right-hander Bryan Davis as "a pitcher who's always around the plate."
Davis displayed solid command of the strike zone on Monday, striking out five and issuing only one walk in six solid innings of work to earn the winning decision in Winnebago.
Davis hurled a six-hitter before Charles Menne pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh inning to help guide the visiting Knights to a 5-2 victory during the Bucs' first game of the season.
ANTICIPATION — Blue Earth Area second baseman Dallas Barslou (2) and shortstop David Franta (back) await a throw as Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial runner Dylan Keck steals second base during nonconference baseball action on Monday in Winnebago. Photo by Leanna Becker
"I thought our hitters made solid contact throughout the entire game today," Schmidtke said in reference to his lineup's six hits, including three for extra bases. "In fact, their centerfielder (Kolton Barker) made several catches to take three or four hits away from our guys, including a couple by David Franta."
Barker displayed his fielding prowess during the home half of the first inning when Franta hammered a Davis offering to the right-center gap. Barker, however, got a nice jump on the baseball and hauled it in for the first out.
Ironically, Dallas Barslou, who went 3-for-3, stepped to the batter's box next and walloped a double over a backpedaling Barker's head to deep center. Seth Anderson's fielder's choice moved Barslou to third base, but Davis worked out of the potential jam by recording a strikeout.
LCWM then manufactured three runs during the top of the second inning to give Davis all of the offensive support that the junior right-hander would need.
Menne was hit by a Brandyn Olsen pitch before circling the bases on Nick Kelly's perfect hit-and-run single that skidded under the Buc right fielder's glove for a two-base error.
After Kelly wheeled to third base on a wild pitch, Nick Guentzel reached first on a slow-rolling fielder's choice along the third base line that did not produce an out. Barker then singled home Kelly before Bryson Yackel lined a run-scoring double down the right-field line. Blue Earth Area escaped further damage by nailing the Knights' trail runner on a relay throw to the plate.
After recovering from a jarring hit at the plate to close out the top of the second, Buc catcher Carter Hanson swatted a leadoff double to the left-center gap during the home half of the frame.
Courtesy runner Alec Huber reached third on a wild pitch, but Davis maintained his shutout bid by notching a strikeout before getting a shallow flyout and a comebacker.
LCWM added a pair of solo unearned runs in the fourth and sixth to extend its lead to 5-0.
Blue Earth Area refused to throw in the proverbial towel, however, stringing together three hits to produce two runs during the last of the sixth inning.
Barslou legged out his third hit of the game via a line-hugging bouncer near third base before Olsen hammered a one-out double to deep left-center. Both Barslou and Olsen crossed the plate when Christian Haugh deposited a two-run single to left-center with two outs.
Davis gave up two runs - both earned - on six hits in six innings of work to net the victory. Menne struck out one in one inning of relief to earn the save.
Olsen allowed four runs - none earned - on three hits, struck out six, walked four and hit one batter in four frames to absorb the loss.
Barslou gave up one unearned run on two hits, fanned one and walked one in three solid innings of relief.
Blue Earth Area (0-1) plays host to New Ulm at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Blue Earth.
Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (2-1, 1-0 Valley) plays host to Cleveland today in Lake Crystal.
LCWM 030 101 0 - 5 5 0
BEA 000 002 0 - 2 6 2
Bryan Davis (WP), Charles Menne (7, Sv) and Jordan Nelson. Brandyn Olsen (LP), Dallas Barslou (5) and Carter Hanson.
LOB-B.E. Area 5, LCWM 5. 2B-Barslou (BEA), Olsen (BEA), Hanson (BEA), Davis (LCWM), Bryson Yackel (LCWM), Menne (LCWM).
Cleveland 1, Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman 0 - Cody Hollerich recorded both of the Clippers' two hits, including the game-winning RBI single, to lead Cleveland to a 1-0 Valley Conference victory over the Knights on Monday in Truman.
Kyle Ziebarth, who fired a two-hit complete-game shutout, also scored the game-winning run after reaching on the Knights' lone error of the game. Ziebarth struck out eight and walked one in seven innings of work to earn the victory.
Jeremy Smith pitched all seven innings for the Knights, allowing one run - none earned - on two hits and striking out 11.
Sophomore Colton Greiner had one of the Knights' two hits, while teammate Dustin DeBell smacked a double.
Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman (0-1) travels to St. James for a 4:30 p.m. nonconference game on Friday.
Cleveland 000 000 1 - 1 2 0
MLGHECT 000 000 0 - 0 2 1
Kyle Ziebarth (WP) and Derek Ely. Jeremy Smith (LP) and Tristan Maday.