FAIRMONT - Class AA, No. 4-ranked Fairmont's baseball bats rumbled like Friday's thunder at Herb Wolf Field.
Ryan Noll boomed a pair of extra-base hits and teammate Spencer Chirpich blasted three hits to help the Cardinals eclipse the Class A, No. 6-ranked Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Knights, 8-0, in a rain-shortened non-league diamond clash in Fairmont.
"I thought we hit the ball very well today, getting nine hits in a little more than three innings," said Fairmont head coach Todd Sukalski, whose lineup improved to 14-1 overall. "Jordan Voss also did a nice job of coming in and pitching three scoreless innings after (starting pitcher) Jake (Ellis) got injured getting the last out of the first inning."
STRETCHED OUT — Fairmont runner Spencer Chirpich (right) beats the low throw to diving Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial first baseman Joe Goskesen for a bunt hit during nonconference baseball action Friday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. Knights’ second baseman Kolten Barker looks on. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Chuck Menne smacked a line-drive comebacker off of Ellis' pitching arm, causing it to swell, tighten up and force the right-hander's early exit.
Voss stepped to the mound to open the top of the second inning and the senior right-hander limited the potent Knights' lumber to only one hit during three shutout frames.
Chirpich, who went 3-for-3, and the Cardinal offense then struck like lightning, plating three quick runs on three hits during the home half of the first.
Chirpich legged out a bunt hit and reached second base when the throw skidded wide at first. Luke Becker dropped a single into right field to move Chirpich to third before Levi Becker's fielder's choice plated the Cardinals' leadoff hitter.
With two outs, Noll put a charge into an offering from Menne, driving the baseball over the LCWM centerfielder's head for an RBI triple. Noll later scored on an error to stake Voss to an early 3-0 lead.
Noll then triggered Fairmont's three-run outburst during the third inning with two outs. Noll drilled a towering double to the left-center gap before Christian Petschke nearly went yard by hammering an RBI double to deep right.
Petschke later wheeled to third on a wild pitch, Bryce Holm walked and Jay Ruen smacked an RBI double down the left-field line. Holm later crossed the plate on another wild pitch to extend the Cardinals' lead to 6-0.
Chirpich singled and advanced 90 feet on Levi Becker's one-out hit before both runners moved into scoring position on a wild delivery. Chirpich then scored on Mitch Pfingsten's RBI groundout before Becker scampered home on yet another wild pitch.
After a lightning flash, the game was delayed for 30 minutes, with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning before drizzling rain dampened the diamond.
Voss allowed one hit in three shutout innings, while recording three strikeouts and one walk to earn the victory for the Cardinals.
Menne gave up eight runs - five earned - on nine hits, struck out two and walked one in 3 2/3 innings to receive the soggy loss.
Kolten Barker and Bryson Yackel produced the Knights' only hits on the game.
Fairmont (14-1, 8-1 South Central) faces Nicollet at 11 a.m. today at the Sibley East Tournament in Gaylord. The Cardinals then play a second game at 1 p.m. against an opponent to be determined in either Arlington or Gaylord.
Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial (13-3) plays host to United South Central on Tuesday.
LCWM 000 0 - 0 2 2
FHS 303 2 - 8 9 1
Game called due to rain and lightning with two out in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Chuck Menne (LP) and Jordan Nelson. Jacob Ellis, Jordan Voss (2, WP) and Mitch Pfingsten.
LOB-Fairmont 4, LCWM 5. 2B-Ryan Noll (F), Christian Petschke (F), Jay Ruen (F). 3B-Noll (F).
Blue Earth Area 11, United South Central 10 (8 innings) - Brandyn Olsen and Seth Anderson combined for six hits and five RBIs to help steer the Bucs to an 11-10, eight-inning victory over the Rebels during nonconference action Friday in Wells.
Anderson went 3-for-3 with a double and a game-leading three RBIs, while Olsen went 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.
David Franta and Carter Hanson each went 2-for-4 and scored two runs apiece for Blue Earth Area, while teammates Alex Stewart and Quinn Huisman each chipped in a hit.
Alec Huber allowed two runs on two hits, struck out one and walked two in pitching the final two frames to net the victory for the Bucs.
Dallas Barslou started on the hill, giving up only one hit in two shutout innings of work for BEA. Huisman allowed seven runs - four earned - on five hits, walked five and struck out one in 2 2/3 innings of relief.
Anderson gave up one earned run on three hits, walked two and fanned one in 1 1/3 innings of relief before giving way to Huber in the seventh.
Walker Linde collected three hits and two RBIs to top USC's effort, while Lucas George produced three hits and scored a pair of runs.
Blue Earth Area (6-10, 3-5 South Central) travels to New Richland on Monday to face New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva in a 5 p.m. nonconference game.
BEA 11 11 3
USC 10 11 3
Dallas Barslou, Quinn Huisman (3), Seth Anderson (5), Alec Huber (7, WP) and Carter Hanson. Shawn Redman (LP) and Trey Allis.