FAIRMONT - A change of scenery for Game 2 due to rain, but the same result as Game 1.
With the sectional playoffs looming, Class AA No. 3-ranked Fairmont cancelled its bus ride to St. Peter and stayed at Herb Wolf Field for Game 2 of its two-game South Central Conference seasonal baseball series with the Saints on Monday.
Jay Ruen generated two RBIs behind a double and a single, while teammate Jack Waletich produced two hits, including a double, and scored two runs to guide the Cardinals to a 9-5 league triumph over the Saints.
TAKING TWO — Fairmont’s Jay Ruen (10) hustles to beat the throw to St. Peter second baseman Ryan Hoehn (11) for a fifth-inning double during South Central Conference baseball action Monday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. St. Peter shortstop Tommy Steidler watches the action. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
"We're very happy that we got a chance to play today despite all of the rain around us, and we didn't have to get on a bus to do it," said Fairmont mentor Todd Sukalski, whose lineup posted a 10-2 victory over St. Peter on April 21 at Wolf Field. "We knew it would be a tough game whether we played here or in St. Peter, and I'm happy to earn the win to keep us in the race for the conference championship."
Fairmont won its incredible 16th consecutive game in 17 outings, and improved to 7-1 in the SCC. Class AA, No. 4-ranked New Ulm closed out its SCC schedule at 9-1 with a 6-0 victory over St. James on Monday.
"Clayton (Maakestad) gave us five innings (on the mound) today, including a big 1-2-3 fifth," said Sukalski. "At this point of the season, our focus is still on winning the conference, while still trying to save some pitching for the upcoming playoffs on Saturday."
Fairmont - the official visitor on the scoreboard - capitalized on one of six St. Peter errors to help build a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning.
Maakestad reached on the fielding miscue before courtesy runner Evan Closs wheeled to third base on Waletich's towering double into right field. Closs then scored on Spencer Chirpich's sacrifice fly before Waletich trotted home on Ruen's RBI single up the middle.
St. Peter, however, turned the tables during the home half by cashing in two of Fairmont's four errors to even the score at 2-all. Ryan Hoehn delivered a two-run triple to account for the Saints' only hit of the third.
The Cardinals quickly regained the upperhand during the fourth. Parker Monsen singled, was erased on Ben Abel's fielder's choice and Abel was awarded home after colliding with the Saints' third baseman while rounding third on Maakestad's single to left.
Sam Wenner and Ben Johnson generated back-to-back singles to lead off St. Peter's fourth at-bat before both runners scored on Bailey Kurth's RBI single and an ensuing Fairmont error. Kurth later crossed the plate on Brendan Reese's RBI single up the middle for a 5-3 lead.
The Cardinals, however, had another comeback left in them, countering with three runs in the top of the fifth to reclaim a 6-5 edge.
Chirpich legged out a bunt hit and Luke Becker drew his second walk of the game before Chirpich scored and Becker advanced to third when Becker swiped second and the throw sailed into center.
Becker later crossed the plate on Ruen's second RBI single of the contest before Ruen scored the go-ahead run on Nathan Gillis' sacrifice fly.
Maakestad then retired the Saints in order during the last of the fifth before Chirpich and Ruen hurled a scoreless sixth and seventh, respectively, to seal the win.
The Cardinals added two insurance runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh.
Abel singled and eventually scored when Waletich singled and his hit skipped away from the Saints' right fielder. Waletich later scored in the sixth when Becker's hard grounder to short was misplayed.
Gillis then walked to open the seventh and eventually crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
Maakestad allowed five runs - three earned - on five hits, struck out one and hit one batter in five frames to earn the victory.
Chirpich struck out three and walked one in hurling one shutout frame, while Ruen fanned one in closing out the seventh to notch the save.
St. Peter starting pitcher Cody Erickson gave up six runs - five earned - on seven hits, struck out one and walked two in five innings to receive the loss.
Ben Johnson went 2-for-3 for the Saints.
Fairmont (16-1, 7-1 SCC) travels to Waseca today for a 5:30 p.m. conference game.
St. Peter (7-8, 5-5) hits the road to Norwood Young America today.
FHS 002 132 1 - 9 9 4
STP 002 300 0 - 5 6 6
Clayton Maakestad (WP), Spencer Chirpich (6), Jay Ruen (7, Sv) and Ben Abel. Cody Erickson (LP), Tommy Steidler (6), Alex Hoehn (7) and Brendan Reese.
LOB-Fairmont 4; St. Peter 4. 2B-Jack Waletich (F), Ruen (F). 3B-Ryan Hoehn (SP). SF-Chirpich (F), Nathan Gillis (F). SAC-Caleb Ebeling (SP), Erickson (SP).
Blue Earth Area 3, Sleepy Eye St. Mary's 2 - With runners on second and third in the bottom of the sixth inning, Mathew Bell got a hit to allow Alan Davids to race home with the game-winning run for the Bucs in a 3-2 nonconference victory over the Knights on Monday in Blue Earth.
Blake Peterson, who came in during the fifth inning in relief of the Bucs' starter Jack Kennedy, pitched 2 1/3 innings and didn't allow a hit or a run, striking out four and walking one to help BEA beat the Class A, No. 6-ranked Knights.
Kennedy pitched the first 4 2/3 innings, allowing just two runs - one earned - on three hits, striking out three and walking one in a no decision.
Austin Gustafson pinch hit for Davids in the sixth inning, leading off with a hit, before Davids re-entered to run the bases.
Quinn Huisman, who went 2-for-2 in the game, smacked his second hit before Jose Rios grounded into a fielder's choice to move Huisman and Davids to second and third.
Bell, who went 2-for-3 then delivered the game-winning hit for his RBI.
Luke Schavey went 1-for-4 from the plate with an RBI double, while Alex Stewart went 2-for-3 in the game.
Kaylan Legred had one hit in the game, and swiped a base in the win.
Mike Hirsch pitched all six innings for the Knights, allowing three earned runs on nine hits, striking out four and walking one to take the loss.
Blue Earth Area (8-10) plays a South Central Conference game at 5:30 p.m. today at St. James.
Sleepy Eye St. Mary's (15-4) plays host to Minneapolis Southwest in a 7 p.m. nonconference game today in Sleepy Eye.
SESM 000 110 0 - 2 3 2
BEA 001 101 x - 3 9 1
Mike Hirsch (LP) and Jay Helget. Jack Kennedy, Blake Peterson (5, WP) and Kaylan Legred.
St. Clair 12, Martin Luther/GHEC/Truman 11 - Dylan Boettcher delivered the game-winning RBI single with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning to propel the Cyclones to a 12-11 Valley Conference victory over the Knights on Monday in St. Clair.
Boettcher produced two hits, including a double, for the Cyclones, while teammate Quinn Seys collected two hits, three RBIs and scored two runs.
Gage Thom cranked a double and a solo home run to complement scoring three times for St. Clair.
Ethan Hurn erupted for four hits, including a pair of doubles, drove in one run and scored three more times to pace the Knights.
Alex Weihe delivered three hits, including a triple, to generate four RBIs to go with two runs scored for MLGHEC/Truman, while Carson Hurn supplied two hits and two RBIs. Trent Stensland added two hits, including a two-run double.
Michael Anderson gave up three runs on five hits, struck out two and walked one in two innings of relief to net the win for St. Clair.
Stensland allowed five runs on four hits and walked one in 1/3 of an inning of relief to receive the loss.
Colton Greiner allowed three runs on three hits, struck out two and walked four in four innings on the mound for the Knights.
Garrett Balcom gave up four runs on five hits and walked two in two innings of relief for MLGHEC/Truman.
Martin Luther/GHEC/ Truman (3-13, 2-5 Valley) travels to Nicollet today.
MLGT 002 062 1 - 11 13 3
STC 011 104 5 - 12 12 2
Winning run scored with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Colton Greiner, Garrett Balcom (5), Trent Stensland (7, LP) and Tristan Maday, Derek Shoen (5). Alex Anderson, Michael Anderson (6, WP) and Dylan Boettcher.
Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 3, Martin Luther/GHEC/Truman 2 - Bryson Yackel connected for the game-winning RBI single with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the hometown Knights to a 3-2 Valley Conference victory on Saturday in Lake Crystal.
Yackel produced a pair of RBI singles, while teammate Bryan Davis was hit by pitch twice, walked twice and scored two runs.
Sam Geistfeld went 2-for-4 with one RBI for MLGHEC/Truman, Josh Wolter doubled and singled, Alex Weihe went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored, while Tristan Maday added an RBI single.
Charles Menne allowed two runs on eight hits, struck out seven and walked two in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory for LCWM.
Geistfeld allowed three runs - two earned - on four hits, struck out five, and walked three in 6 1/3 innings to take the loss.
MLGT 020 000 0 - 2 8 1
LCWM 001 010 1 - 3 4 1
Winning run scored with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Sam Geistfeld (LP) and Tristan Maday. Charles Menne (WP) and Jake Hagge.