Fairmont baseball extends winning streak to 6

RUNDOWN FEELING — Fairmont Cardinal third baseman Mario Maldonado (middle) chases St. Peter runner Andy Regner toward the plate during a rundown in Big South Conference baseball action Monday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. The Cardinals went on to retire Regner on the play as St. Peter head coach Kurt Moelter (right) looks on. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

FAIRMONT — Effective emergency relief pitching, efficient hitting, solid defense and yes, a little bit of luck, helped the Fairmont Cardinal baseball team extend its winning streak to six in a row Monday.

Zach Soelter’s slow infield roller was thrown away at first base, allowing Tyson Geerdes and Cale Steuber to score the respective tying and winning runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to propel the hometown Cardinals to a 4-3 Big South Conference victory over the St. Peter Saints at Herb Wolf Field.

“We have been very fortunate to beat a quality team like St. Peter by one run in both of our games this season,” said Fairmont co-head coach Don Waletich, whose lineup edged the Saints by an identical 4-3 decision on April 30 in St. Peter.

Trailing 3-2, Fairmont capitalized on St. Peter ace right-hander Andy Regner’s exit from the mound with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning due to a high pitch count. The hard-throwing Regner had recorded a game-best 11 strikeouts before giving way to reliever Carson Kennedy after plunking the Cardinals’ Jack Hested with a pitch.

Waletich then inserted Geerdes as a pinch runner for Hested, and Geerdes motored to third base when Steuber lined a single into center field that was mishandled to put both Fairmont runners in scoring position.

Kennedy worked the count to Soelter to 2-2 before the Cardinals’ designated hitter tapped a dribbler between the mound and the third base line. St. Peter’s third baseman charged and pegged an off-balanced toss past 6-foot-6 junior first baseman Wyatt Olson, allowing the Cardinals to maintain their winning streak.

Down by one entering the top of the seventh, Fairmont catcher Zac Ringnell and third baseman Mario Maldonado worked a pick-off play to perfection to keep the differential at 3-2.

Regner, who went 2-for-3 with a two-run home run and scored twice, drew a leadoff walk, swiped second base and advanced 90 more feet on Tyson Sowder’s sacrifice bunt. Fairmont’s defense, however, capitalized on the future Minnesota Sate University–Mankato Maverick baseball signee’s aggressive running to record the inning’s second out.

“I signalled in that play to Zac (Ringnell), and he and Mar executed it well,” Waletich said in reference to Ringnell’s initial throw to Maldonado that caught Regner straying too far up the third base line.

Steuber, who earned the pitching victory by hurling three hitless and scoreless innings of relief, notched the only strikeout of his relief appearance to thwart the Saints’ late threat.

“We didn’t expect (starting pitcher) Joey (Flohrs) to leave the game with an injury after only 1 1/3 innings pitched today,” Waletich said in reference to himself and co-head coach Jerry Brooks. “His early exit threw our whole rotation out of synch, but you have to give credit to (Jacob) Tennyson and Cale Steuber for stepping in and giving us five-plus innings of outstanding relief pitching today.

“Those two gave us an opportunity to win, our defense played well behind them and we managed to pull off the comeback win.”

Tennyson allowed one run on four hits in 2 2/3 innings of relief, striking out one, walking one and hitting one batter.

Regner singled and eventually scored the game’s initial run on Joey Baron’s key RBI single with two outs in the top of the first inning before the Cardinals answered with two runs on just one hit in the home half of the first.

Soelter reached on a leadoff error by the Saints before teammate Nick Eversman received a one-out walk. Both Fairmont runners moved into scoring position on a Regner wild pitch before Ringnell deposited a two-run single just inside the left-field line for a 2-1 lead.

Regner’s two-run blast off of Tennyson with two outs in the top of the second inning swung a one-run margin back to St. Peter.

Eversman and Blake Buntjer added singles to the Cardinals’ four-hit effort.

Regner and Baron each went 2-for-3 for the Saints, while Hunter Wilmes and Nick Morgan added two hits.

Fairmont (9-2) hits the road to Waseca today for a rare 6 p.m. game, while St. Peter (9-3) plays host to Blue Earth Area.

St. Peter 120 000 0 — 3 7 3

Fairmont 200 000 2 — 4 4 1

Winning run scored with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Andy Regner, Carson Kennedy (7, LP) and Tyson Sowder. Joey Flohrs, Jacob Tennyson (2), Cale Steuber (5, WP) and Zac Ringnell.

LOB–St. Peter 6, Fairmont 4. HR–Regner (SP). SAC–Sowder (SP).

St. Peter defeated Fairmont in B-squad action, 7-1, Monday.

Eli Anderson singled home the Cardinals’ only run, while teammates Jackson Utermarck and Steven Schrunk added one hit apiece.

Anderson allowed seven runs and struck out three in three innings pitched to take the loss. Jacob Crissinger struck out five in four shutout innings of relief for Fairmont.

St. Peter outslugged Fairmont in C-squad action, 9-6, Monday.

Lincoln Becker collected two hits and walked three times for the Cardinals, while Preston Vaughn collected two hits.

Cooper Steuber, Brendan Schmidtke, Hayden Clabaugh and Aden Welcome each supplied one hit for the Cardinals (6-4).

St. James Area 7, Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman 6 — The Saints used a four-run seventh inning to walk off the Jaguars in nonconference play Monday night in St. James.

The Jaguars entered the bottom of the seventh up 6-3, but St. James came back and ended the game when Jacob Brey scored the winning run off Logan Carlson’s single with two outs.

Wyatt Wescott added a hit and two runs scored for the Saints.

Owen Wolter had two hits and a run scored for the Jaguars, while Mitch Prafke had two hits, two runs and an RBI.

Paxton Gravlin hit a two-run double on his way to a three-RBI day with a run scored, while Ross Balcom had an RBI hit, Clay Gieseke had a hit and a run scored, and Carter Spear added an RBI hit.

Cayden Fischer pitched three innings for the Jaguars, giving up one unearned run on no hits and a walk, while striking out three. Ross Balcom relieved and gave up five runs, three earned, off two hits and four walks, while earning one strikeout, in three innings. Jordan Wiederhoeft pitched the final 2/3s of an inning, allowing one run on one hit, with a walk and two hit batters.

Kobe Mohwinkel pitched 4 1/3 innings and giving up six runs on eight hits. He walked two and struck out five. Brey pitched the final 2 2/3 innings, giving up no runs on no hits and no walks, while striking out five.

The Jaguars (7-3) hosts Hayfield at 4:30 p.m. today in Truman.

MLGHECT 210 030 0 — 6 8 4

St. James 001 002 4 — 7 3 2

Winning run scored with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Amateur Baseball

Fairmont 5, Lakefield 3 — Eli Anderson collected two hits and one RBI to help pace the Martins’ season-opening victory over Horned Frogs on Sunday.

Owen Wolter, Adam Schmidt, Dalen Keltgen and Levi Becker each supplied one hit for the Martins, Jordan Wolter tallied a sacrifice fly and Christian Petschke added an RBI groundout.

Schmidt allowed two runs and struck out 10 batters in six innings pitched to earn the win for Fairmont. Jon Traetow gave up one run and fanned five in three innings of relief to net the save.

The Fairmont Martins (1-0) travel to Blue Earth on Friday, May 17, for a 7:30 p.m. game with the Pirates.