Kennedy, Bucs best Cardinals baseball

FORCED AT HOME — Fairmont catcher Zac Ringnell forces out Blue Earth Area runner Joe Schavey at the plate during Big South Conference baseball action Thursday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. Bucs’ on-deck batter Jared Kennedy (19) and home plate umpire Greg Thiesse look on. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

FAIRMONT — The first and last numbers at the end of each baseball team’s line on the scoreboard at Herb Wolf Field told the story of Thursday’s clash of rivals.

The Blue Earth Area Bucs manufactured seven runs by combining five hits with six Fairmont Cardinal errors to capture a 7-1 Big South Conference triumph in Fairmont.

“That many errors are hard to overcome,” said Fairmont head coach Todd Sukalski, whose lineup lowered its overall record to 2-5 with the loss. “We have to start fielding the ball better and making the routine plays, and maybe some that are difficult plays, too.”

“There are two stats that we pay close attention to after the game ends — walks, in terms of how many we issue and how many we receive, and how many errors we commit and how many our opponents make,” said Blue Earth Area head coach Todd Schmidtke, whose team improved to 2-3 with the victory. “If you win those two areas (walks and errors), you usually have a good chance to earn a victory.”

That, and Blue Earth Area junior right-hander Jared Kennedy tossing a three-hit complete-game gem also increased the Bucs’ chances to exit Wolf Field with a six-run decision.

“No doubt, Jared pitched a nice game for us today. He threw a high percentage of strikes, but more importantly, our defense fielded nearly everything,” said Schmidtke.

Kennedy held the Fairmont bats hitless until Sam Schwieger drilled a one-out double in the bottom of the fourth inning. Blue Earth Area’s starting pitcher, however, maintained his shutout bid until the seventh inning before Fairmont’s Collin Steuber and Dylan Gerken delivered back-to-back hits. Steuber singled, took second base on a wild pitch and circled the bases on Gerken’s RBI double to the left-center gap.

Kennedy then worked around the Bucs’ only error of the game on Jordan Wolter’s hard-hit grounder to earn the complete-game victory.

Fairmont starting pitcher Sam Schwieger held Blue Earth Area in check until one of the Cardinals’ fielding miscues opened a window of opportunity for the Bucs in the third inning.

Kaylan Legred reached on a two-out error, swiped second base and motored home with the game’s initial run on Chris Sanders’ RBI single to left for a 1-0 lead.

Trevor Oppedal drew a leadoff walk, Joe Schavey singled and Logan Jahnke’s sacrifice bunt was thrown away at first base to double the Bucs’ margin. Kennedy later assisted his own cause with an RBI infield hit for a three-run edge.

Jesus Quintero’s two-run single on the heels of Legred’s single combined with three Fairmont errors, including the last one on Chris Jenkins’ nubber in front of the plate, manufactured four seventh-inning runs on two hits for Blue Earth Area.

Kennedy allowed one earned run on three hits, struck out five, issued two walks and hit one batter in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory.

Schwieger gave up four runs — only one earned — on three hits, fanned one and issued three walks in 6-plus innings of work to take the loss for the Cardinals. Brady Allen allowed three unearned runs on two hits, struck out two and walked one in pitching the seventh inning.

Fairmont (2-5) travels to St. James Area for a 1 p.m. game on Saturday, while Blue Earth Area (2-3) hits the road to Wells today to face United South Central.

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Jared Kennedy (WP) and Kaylan Legred. Sam Schwieger (LP), Brady Allen (7) and Zac Ringnell.

LOB–B.E. Area 7, Fairmont 6. 2B–Schwieger (F), Dylan Gerken (F). SAC–Logan Jahnke (BEA).

Blue Earth Area edged Fairmont in B-squad action, 4-2 in eight innings, on Thursday in Fairmont.

Nick Eversman produced one hit and one RBI for the Cardinals (5-2), Dalen Keltgen doubled and Mario Maldonado singled.

Keltgen allowed two earned runs on three hits in six innings of work. He struck out two and walked one to receive no decision.

Jeb Green gave up two runs — both unearned — on two hits in two innings of relief to take the loss for Fairmont. Green struck out one.

Fairmont coasted to a 14-0, five-inning rout over Blue Earth Area during C-squad action on Thursday in Fairmont.

Joey Flohrs struck out five and walked one in four shutout innings of one-hit ball to earn the victory for the Cardinals. Wyatt Frank fanned two and walked one in closing out the final scoreless inning.

Blake Buntjer collected three hits, including a pair of doubles, to top Fairmont’s offense, while Zach Soelter belted a pair of doubles.

Caden Baarts doubled and singled, Flohrs and Tyson Geerdes each collected two hits, while Dan Betts, Daniel Brummond, Cale Steuber and Jake Johnson chipped in one hit apiece for the Cardinals (5-0).

Martin Luther/GHEC/Truman 4, Martin County West 0 — Left-hander Paxton Gravlin hurled a three-hit complete-game gem to power the Jaguars to a 4-0 Valley Conference victory over the Mavericks on Thursday at the Fox Lake Sports Complex in Welcome.

Gravlin recorded two strikeouts and issued two walks in seven innings of work to capture the win.

Quintin Greier went 3-for-3 with two RBIs to fuel the Jaguars’ 10-hit offensive attack, while teammate Garrett Balcom supplied two hits and one run scored.

Zach Jahnz collected an RBI single, Carter Wille singled and scored, while Ethan Hurn crossed the plate twice to cap the Jaguars’ winning ways.

Cam Dressen, Colton Leiding and Wyatt Geistfeld each produced hits for the Mavericks.

Dressen allowed four runs on 10 hits, struck out one and issued only one walk in seven innings of work to absorb the loss.

The Jaguars (3-3) compete in the Lyle/Pacelli Tournament at 11 a.m. Saturday in Austin. Martin County West (2-4) plays host to Nicollet next Thursday in Welcome.

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Paxton Gravlin (WP) and Ethan Hurn. Cam Dressen (LP) and Jesse Spear.