TRUMAN - Josh Wolter opened the prep baseball campaign on Tuesday with the perfect at-bat - a solo home run.
Wolter continued his quest for perfection at the plate by going 4-for-4, including a double and a sacrifice fly, and drove in three runs to help power the Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman Knights to a 14-4, six-inning Valley Conference victory over the visiting Alden-Conger Knights in Truman.
"Josh did a good job of being aggressive at the plate and got us off to a quick start," ML/GHEC/Truman mentor Scott Chirpich said in reference to his No. 3 batter's first-inning round-tripper. "(Starting pitcher) Trent (Stensland) set the tone by throwing strikes, ... and Sam (Geistfeld) later stepped in and closed it out for us.
TAGGED?OUT — Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman third baseman Ethan Hurn (left) tags out Alden-Conger runner Dylan Lein, who was caught in a fifth-inning rundown, during Valley Conference baseball action Tuesday in Truman. ML/GHEC/Truman shortstop Garrett Balcom (14) looks on. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
"It's definitely a nice win for only our second day on the field."
After allowing a leadoff single to Lucas Van Engelenburg, Stensland got a forceout and two of his six strikeouts to exit the top of the first unscathed.
The hometown Knights' 6-foot-4 right-hander then worked around a pair of second-inning walks before striking out the side during the top of the third.
Stensland then assisted his own cause in the bottom of the second as teammate Alex Weihe reached on an error before Stensland replaced Weihe on the bases via a fielder's choice groundout. Stensland later took second on a wild pitch before circling the bases on Colton Greiner's RBI bloop single to center field with two outs for a 2-0 lead.
Despite Ethan Hurn's leadoff double and Wolter's one-out infield hit, Alden-Conger starting right-hander Wyatt Ladwig kept ML/GHEC/Truman off the scoreboard during the home half of the third.
After pitching three shutout innings of one-hit baseball, Stensland turned over the mound duties to left-hander Colton Greiner.
Alden-Conger converted singles from Mike Thorson and Jacob Wallin with three walks and ML/GHEC/Truman's lone error of the game to manufacture four fifth-inning runs against Greiner.
Wolter, however, hammered a leadoff double off the center-field fence to open the home half of the fifth frame and later scored the equalizer when Geistfeld's slow roller along the first base line was thrown away.
After Geistfeld took the hill and struck out the side in the top of the sixth, the hometown Knights erupted for 10 runs on only three hits during the last of the sixth to end the game via the 10-run rule.
Wolter plated Ethan Hurn, who had drawn a leadoff walk, with a sacrifice fly for the go-ahead run, and Derek Shoen later drew a bases-loaded walk for an RBI.
Greiner dropped in a two-run single near the left-field line, Ethan Hurn and Tristan Maday later drew bases-loaded walks, Wolter singled home another run and Geistfeld ended the game with a two-run single up the middle.
Ethan Hurn went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs for the hometown Knights, while Greiner went 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
Geistfeld received the winning decision by striking out all three batters he faced in one inning of relief.
Van Engelenburg allowed four runs - just two earned - in 1 1/3 innings of hitless relief to take the loss. The Alden-Conger reliever issued five walks and walked two.
Ladwig struck out seven, walked one and gave up four runs - two earned - on six hits in four-plus innings to receive no decision.
Stensland struck out six and walked two in three near flawless frames to receive no decision.
Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman (1-0, 1-0 Valley) plays host to St. James at 4:30 p.m. Friday in Truman.
A-C 000 04 0 - 4 3 3
MLGHECT 110 11 (10) - 14 9 1
Winning run scored with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Wyatt Ladwig, Lucas Van Engelenburg (5, LP), Mike Thorson (6), Jacob Wallin (6) and Ty Lerum. Trent Stensland, Colton Greiner (4), Sam Geistfeld (6, WP) and Tristan Maday.
LOB-ML/GHEC/Truman 10; Alden-Conger 4. 2B-Ethan Hurn (MLGHECT), Josh Wolter (MLGHECT). HR-Wolter (MLGHECT). SF-Wolter (MLGHECT).
Blue Earth Area 8, Maple River 6 - The Bucs came back to score three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to slip past the Eagles in an 8-6 nonconference baseball win on Tuesday in Winnebago.
David Franta smacked a triple that produced two RBIs to cap the comeback, while also scoring a pair of runs for the Bucs.
Seth Anderson went 1-for-2, including a triple, and scored two runs for BEA, while teammate Alex Stewart went 3-for-3 with four RBIs in the win.
Mathew Bell hit a double for the Bucs, while Jack Kennedy went 1-for-2 and scored a pair of runs.
Blake Peterson took the mound for the Bucs in the fifth inning, walking four and striking out three to earn the win.
Bell relieved during the second inning for the Bucs, allowing just three hits in 3 1/3 innings of work.
Quinn Huisman solidified the win with one inning of relief for the save.
Josh Moore went 2-for-4 with a double to top the Eagles' offensive efforts, while Dylan Groskreutz smacked a bases-clearing double in the first inning.
Josh Moore pitched the first three innings for the Eagles, allowing four runs - two earned - on five hits, striking out two and walking three.
Derek Moore took the loss on the mound though, pitching 2 1/3 innings and allowing four earned runs on four hits, walking four and striking out two.
Blue Earth Area (2-0) plays host to St. Peter in a South Central Conference game at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in Winnebago.
M. River 510 000 0 - 6 8 3
B.E. Area 004 013 x - 8 10 2
Alex Stewart, Mathew Bell (2), Blake Peterson (5, WP), Quinn Huisman (7, Sv) and Kellen Jacobs. Josh Moore, Derek Moore (4, LP) and Payton See.
Martin County West 8, Nicollet 1 - Tony Payne and Alex Biehn combined for seven innings of two-hit baseball to help the Mavericks beat the Raiders 8-1 during Valley Conference action on Tuesday in Nicollet.
Payne pitched the first four innings for the Mavericks, allowing one run on one hit and walked two batters to earn the win.
Biehn hurled the final three innings, striking out five and walking two during his shutout relief appearance.
In addition to his pitching, Payne also went 2-for-3 from the plate, scoring a pair of runs and drawing a pair of walks for the Mavericks.
Micheal Andrews recorded a pair of hits, including a two-run double for the Mavericks, while Dalton Koenecke collected two hits and scored a pair of runs.
Martin County West (1-0, 1-0 Valley) plays host to Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton in a 4:30 p.m. conference game on Thursday at Fox Lake Area Sports Complex in Welcome.
MCW 101 221 1 - 8 9 1
Nicollet 000 100 0 - 1 2 5