FAIRMONT - The waiting game finally ended for the Class AA, No. 4-ranked Fairmont baseball team on Friday.
The Cardinals, who had the first six games of their spring schedule postponed due to inclement weather, erupted for 18 hits to sweep a rare split doubleheader at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont.
Levi Becker and Mitch Pfingsten combined for four hits and a whopping seven RBIs, while starting pitcher Bryce Holm and reliever Jacob Ellis teamed up to toss a three-hitter to propel Fairmont to a 10-3 nonconference victory over the Jackson County Central Huskies in Game 1.
EXTENDED PLAY — Fairmont runner Luke Becker fully extends on a head-first slide to steal second base as Martin County West shortstop Jake Faber (left) fields a low throw during non-league baseball action Friday in Fairmont. Maverick second baseman Alex Biehn looks on. Photo by Leanna Becker
Ryan Noll, Holm and Jay Ruen then combined for five hits and seven RBIs, while the pitching trio of Levi Becker, Jordan Voss and Christian Petschke combined forces to hurl another three-hitter to engineer a 9-2 non-league triumph over the Martin County West Mavericks in the nightcap.
"After six weeks of being inside (the gymnasium), it was nice to play outside, get 18 guys into the lineup and come away with two wins," said Cardinal mentor Todd Sukalski. "Our starting pitchers (Holm and Levi Becker) did a nice job of getting us back in the dugout quickly in both games.
"Our offense then delivered some quality at-bats, and we were able to jump out to a couple of big leads in the early innings."
Spencer Chirpich and Luke Becker, Fairmont's 1-2 hittters, proved the table-setters for the No. 3 through 6 spots in the batting order during the twinbill.
Chirpich and Luke Becker reached on a bunt hit and a walk, respectively, before Levi Becker lined an RBI single to left to trigger the red-and-white's four-run bottom of the first at JCC's expense in the opener.
Luke Becker, who generated an incredible six runs during the two-game span, and Levi Becker both circled the bases when Pfingsten hammered a two-run triple to deep right field. Pfingsten later crossed the plate on Holm's RBI fielder's choice.
Ruen and Chirpich each singled during the home half of the second before Levi Becker deposited a pivotal two-run single to left with two out to extend the Cardinals' lead to 6-0.
Holm pitched three perfect innings before giving up a leadoff single to Kyle Luhmann in the top of the fourth. Luhmann later scored on Jordan Biehn's RBI single before the Huskies tacked on two unearned runs to trim their deficit in half at 6-3.
With Ellis working three innings of one-hit shutout relief, Pfingsten unleashed an RBI single for a solo run in the fourth before Levi Becker's bases-loaded walk and Pfingsten's sacrifice fly ignited the home team's three-run sixth.
Holm allowed three runs - only one earned - on two hits, struck out three and walked two in four frames to earn the victory. Ellis did not record a strikeout or a walk in giving up just one hit in three scoreless innings of relief.
While Levi Becker faced only the minimum six Maverick batters through two shutout innings, sibling Luke Becker set the table for the hot-hitting Holm in Game 2.
Chirpich walked, Luke Becker singled and Levi Becker was hit by a pitch to load the bases in the bottom of the first inning against MCW. Noll later legged out an RBI infield hit before Holm hammered a two-run double down the right-field line for an early 3-0 edge.
Luke Becker then served as the Cardinals' second-inning catalyst by lining a two-out single before swiping second base. After a walk to Levi Becker, Luke Becker circled the bases on Pfingsten's RBI single up the middle.
Noll and Holm followed with back-to-back RBI singles before Ruen blasted a towering two-run double to deep center to cap a five-run second.
Trason Arens added an RBI single in the third to widen Fairmont's lead to 9-0 before MCW generated solo runs in the fifth and sixth innings off of Voss. Austin Krumwiede produced an RBI single in the fifth, while Alex Biehn supplied a run-scoring hit in the Mavericks' sixth at-bat. Jake Faber added MCW's other hit.
Levi Becker gave up one hit in four shutout innings of work to earn the Game 2 victory. Becker issued two walks and fanned one.
Voss allowed two runs - one earned - on two hits, struck out two and walked one in two relief frames. Christian Petschke walked two and hit one batter in closing the seventh.
Pfingsten went a combined 3-for-6 with five RBIs for the Cardinals, while Holm went 3-for-6 overall with four RBIs. Levi Becker went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and four runs scored, while Luke Becker scored six times behind a 2-for-5 overall performance and two walks.
Krumwiede started on the hill for the Mavericks, giving up eight runs on eight hits in 1 2/3 innings to take the loss. The senior right-hander struck out one, walked two and hit one batter.
Faber delivered a strong relief performance for MCW, giving up only one run on two hits, struck out four, hit one batter and walked two in 4 1/3 innings of work.
Fairmont (2-0) travels to Class AA, No. 18-ranked Luverne on Monday for a key sectional game, while Martin County West (0-3) plays host to St. Clair on Tuesday in Welcome.
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Taylor Christopher (LP), Zach Copley (6) and Mitch Macek. Bryce Holm (WP, 1-0), Jacob Ellis (5) and Mitch Pfingsten.
LOB-FHS 6; JCC 2. 3B-Pfingsten (F). SF-Pfingsten (F).
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Austin Krumwiede (LP), Jake Faber (2) and Toby Haugen. Levi Becker (WP), Jordan Voss (5), Christian Petschke (7) and Ryan Noll.
LOB-FHS 6; MCW 8. 2B-Bryce Holm (F) and Jay Ruen (F).
Fairmont outslugged Jackson County Central, 7-6, during B-squad action on Friday in Fairmont.
Ben Abel went 2-for-3 with two RBIs to top the Cardinals' winning ways, Michael Hawkins went 1-for-1 with one RBI, while Parker Monsen and Matt Lytle each chipped in one hit.
Lytle allowed two earned runs on three hits, struck out two and walked two in 3 2/3 innings to receive no decision.
Monsen gave up two runs on four hits, fanned one and walked three in 3 1/3 innings of relief to net the victory.
Fairmont B-squad (1-0) travels to Luverne on Monday.
Blue Earth Area 5, Martin County West 2 - The Bucs erupted for five runs in the bottom of the fifth frame to eclipse the Mavericks, 5-2, during Game 1 of a split doubleheader on Friday in Blue Earth.
David Franta went 2-for-3 with three RBIs to top Blue Earth Area's winning effort, while Carter Hanson was 2-for-3 at the plate with a pair of RBIs. Quinn Huisman also went 2-for-3 for the Bucs.
Jake Faber went 2-for-4 to top the Mavericks' offensive effort, Alex Saxen doubled, while Alex Biehn and Tyson Schuder each added one hit.
Alec Huber allowed two runs - one earned - on four hits, struck out three and walked one in 5 1/3 innings of work to earn the victory for the Bucs.
Dallas Barslou struck out two and issued one walk in 1 2/3 hitless and scoreless innings of relief to earn the save for BEA.
Schuder and Biehn combined to handle the pitching duties for MCW.
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Blue Earth Area 5, Waseca 1 - Ace right-hander Brandyn Olsen fired a no-hit complete-game gem to power the Bucs to a 5-1 South Central Conference victory over the Bluejays during Game 2 of a split doubleheader on Friday in Blue Earth.
Olsen allowed one unearned run on no hits, struck out six and walked two in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory.
Olsen also assisted his own cause from the batter's box, going 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run scored.
David Franta went 2-for-3 with a double to complement two RBIs and a run scored for BEA, while Seth Anderson, Christian Haugh and Alex Stewart each chipped in hits.
Blue Earth Area (2-3, 1-2 SCC) travels to Sleepy Eye St. Mary's for a 5:30 p.m. game Monday.
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Martin Luther/GHEC/Truman 4, Mountain Lake Area 3 - Alex Weihe delivered the game-winning hit with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning to help the Knights squeeze by the Wolverines, 4-3, during nonconference action Friday in Northrop.
Dylan Petrowiak doubled twice and scored two runs for the Knights, Chandler Greier produced a two-run single, Tyler Wille collected a hit, while Jeremy Smith scored two runs.
Petrowiak pitched a scoreless and hitless top of the seventh inning in relief to earn the victory for MLGHECT via the home team's two-run rally during its last at-bat to overcome a 3-2 deficit.
Trent Stensland gave up three earned runs on one hit, struck out seven, walked five and hit two batters in 3 2/3 innings for the Knights.
Sam Geistfeld allowed one hit and issued one base-on-balls during 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief for the home team.
Martin Luther/GHEC/Truman (2-2, 1-1 Valley) travels to Cleveland on Tuesday.
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Game-winning run scored with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Martin County West 10, Southwestern United 0 - Ace right-hander Rebecca Steen hurled a two-hit shutout to steer the Mavericks to a 10-0, six-inning nonconference triumph over the Wildcats on Friday in Welcome.
Steen recorded five strikeouts and issued only one walk in six innings of work to earn the complete-game victory.
Bailey Tish went 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs to pace the Mavericks' 10-hit performance, while Shawna Dressen also went 3-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs. Jordan Gregory went 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs to round out MCW's potent attack.
Mariah Crowell and Megan Haberman collected SWU's hits on the game.
Ida Rogers-Ferguson allowed seven runs, fanned two and walked one in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss for the Wildcats. Crowell walked four and gave up three runs in 2/3s of an inning of relief.
Martin County West (2-1, 1-1 Valley) plays host to Mankato Loyola on Tuesday in Welcome.
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Winning run scored with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Ida Rogers-Ferguson (LP), Mariah Crowell (5) and Samantha Obermoller. Rebecca Steen (WP) and Shawna Dressen.
St. Clair 3, Madelia/Truman 1 - Bailey Arndt proved an effective multi-tasker by utilizing her pitching arm and bat to twist the Cyclones past the Jayhawks, 3-1, during Valley Conference action on Friday in Madelia.
Arndt allowed one run on four hits, struck out eight and did not issue a walk in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory.
Arndt also went 2-for-3 with a double and one run scored, while Crystal Danks singled and scored a run.
Beth Kotewa produced an RBI double for the Jayhawks, while Savannah Stevens singled and scored M/T's lone run.
Taylor Thomas allowed two runs on two hits, struck out four and walked one in five frames of work to receive the loss for the Jayhawks.
Kotewa gave up one run on two hits and struck out two in one inning of relief.
Madelia/Truman (2-3, 1-2 Valley) plays host to Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial on Monday in Madelia.
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Taylor Thomas (LP), Beth Kotewa (6) and Ciera Drevlow. Bailey Arndt (WP) and Abby Drummer.