B.E. Area baseball outslugs Fairmont, 10-9

SAFE AT HOME — Fairmont runner Zach Soelter safely slides head-first into home plate before an outfield throw reaches Blue Earth Area catcher Karson Legred during Big South Conference baseball action Monday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Finding a way to exit the ballpark with a victory.

The Blue Earth Area Bucs remained perfect on the prep baseball campaign by fending off the Fairmont Cardinals’ seventh-inning comeback, 10-9, during Big South Conference action Monday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont.

The clash of rivals was originally scheduled for Friday, but with a forecast for heavy snowfall and/or rain, the game was alertly moved and played in 70-degree temperatures.

“The good news is that we got an opportunity to play baseball today,” said Fairmont co-head coach Jerry Brooks. “I have to hand it to the two athletic directors (Mat Mahoney and Rob Norman) for having the foresight to switch the game.

“I also appreciate the work that the Fairmont custodial staff did today in getting our field ready to play.”

Ironically, Blue Earth Area nearly duplicated its season-opening 10-9 triumph over Maple River on April 2. The Bucs built a 10-5 lead before allowing two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings, but managed to prevail in the end.

Brayden Barnett’s grand slam home run highlighted Blue Earth Area’s five-run second at-bat, while Caelan Sanders’ fourth hit of the game generated two more RBIs to help the visitors on the scoreboard build a 10-5 margin through five frames.

After being retired in order in the home half of the sixth, Fairmont combined half of its eight hits with two hit batters and one walk to manufacture four runs in the seventh.

Joey Flohrs blooped a one-out single to set the Cardinals’ cardiac comeback and pinch hitter Jacob Tennyson was plunked before Zac Ringnell, Blake Buntjer and Cale Steuber each delivered clutch RBI singles with two out.

Zach Soelter was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game to load the bases before Dalen Keltgen drew an RBI walk to trim the Cardinals’ deficit to one. Buc reliever Hunter Bleess, however, got a groundout to thwart the home team’s threat with the bases loaded.

Bleess delivered an RBI double with two out in the top of the first to stake BEA to an early 1-0 lead before Soelter answered for Fairmont in the home half. Soelter smacked a leadoff double, wheeled to third on Keltgen’s single and crossed the plate on Daniel Reiter’s game-tying sacrifice fly.

The Bucs, however, sent nine to the plate in the top of the second, erupting for five runs on four hits. Keegan O’Brien lined a one-out single, Luke Mertens was hit by a pitch and Luke Carr legged out a bunt hit to load the bases.

Sanders, who went 4-for-5, produced the first of his three RBIs on the game with a sharp single to center. Barnett then hammered an offering over the left-field fence for a grand slam to extend BEA’s lead to 6-1.

Sanders’ two-run single in the third widened the gap to 8-1 before the Cardinals countered with four runs in the home half of the fourth.

Dustin Schultz was hit by a pitch, Ringnell walked and Steuber singled to load the bases with two outs. Soelter drew an RBI walk before Keltgen deposited a check-swing two-run single into shallow left-center. Soelter later scored on the back side of a double-steal out of a first-and-third situation to trim the gap to 8-5.

Anders Fering’s pinch-hit RBI single and Barnett’s sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth increased the Bucs’ advantage to 10-5.

Barnett produced a game-best five RBIs for BEA; Fering, Bleess and O’Brien each generated two hits; while Mertens went 1-for-2 and scored three runs. Bleess doubled for one RBI, while O’Brien crossed the plate twice.

Keltgen went 2-for-4 with three RBIs for the Cardinals, Steuber went 2-for-4 with one RBI, while Soelter and Ringnell each went 1-for-2, drove in one run and scored twice.

O’Brien allowed three runs on two hits, struck out two, hit two batters and walked four in 3 1/3 innings pitched to net the victory.

Fairmont starting pitcher Dan Brummond gave up six runs on six hits, walked two and hit two batters in two innings of work to take the loss.

Fairmont (0-1) travels to Worthington today for a 5:30 p.m. conference clash, while Blue Earth Area (3-0) plays host to New Ulm in a 5:30 p.m. league game that was moved from Johnson Park to Blue Earth.

BEA 152 020 0 — 10 14 2

FHS 100 400 4 — 9 8 1

Keegan O’Brien (WP), Koby Nagel (4), Hunter Bleess (6) and Karson Legred. Dan Brummond (LP), Jack Hested (3), Cale Steuber (6) and Zac Ringnell.

LOB–Blue Earth Area 10; Fairmont 9. 2B–Zach Soelter (FHS), Bleess (BEA). HR–Brayden Barnett (BEA). SF–Barnett (BEA), Daniel Reiter (FHS).

Martin Luther/GHEC/Truman 7, Minnesota Valley Lutheran 2 — The Jaguars collected four hits — all home runs — to overpower the Chargers, 7-2, during a nonconference clash on Monday in Northrop.

Cayden Fischer generated a game-best four RBIs on the strength of two home runs for the Jaguars. Fischer smacked a two-run HR, clouted a solo shot and added another RBI via a groundout.

Paxton Gravlin contributed a two-run HR to the Jaguars’ winning ways, while teammate Jaiden Cook connected for a solo HR.

Gravlin allowed two earned runs on six hits, recorded six strikeouts, issued only one walk and hit two batters in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory for the Jaguars.

Ted Giefer delivered an RBI double for MVL and scored a run, Owen Rich supplied one hit and a sacrifice fly, while Josh Giefer doubled and scored once.

Chargers’ starting pitcher Matt Rieger gave up five runs on two hits, struck out three, walked one and plunked two in three innings of work to take the loss.

The Jaguars (1-0) play host to Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial today in Northrop.

MVL 002 000 0 — 2 6 1

MGT 203 110 x — 7 4 3

Matt Rieger (LP), Owen Rich (4) and Mason Cox. Paxton Gravlin (WP) and Mitchell Prafke.

Prep Softball

St. James Area 1, Blue Earth Area 0 — Addie Bowers fired a two-hit shutout to squeeze the Saints to a narrow 1-0 Big South Conference win over the Bucs on Monday in Blue Earth.

Bowers recorded a game-best 10 strikeouts and issued four walks in seven innings of work to earn the complete-game victory.

Blue Earth Area starting pitcher Lauren Madetzke also hurled a gem, striking out nine without issuing a walk in seven innings of work. Madetzke allowed one unearned run on two hits to absorb the tough loss.

Adrianna Granillo and McKenna Dutton produced the Bucs’ hits, while Torri Mohwinkel and Danielle Chapin accounted for the Saints’ hits.

Blue Earth Area (0-3) plays host to New Ulm today.

SJA 100 000 0 — 1 2 3

BEA 000 000 0 — 0 2 3

Addie Bowers (WP) and Torri Mohwinkel. Lauren Madetzke (LP) and Miya Gustafson.