CANBY - Closing out the regular season with six games in eight days is taxing enough for the Canby baseball team. Then in Monday's Camden Conference game against Central Minnesota Christian, the Lancers got a little bit of extra adversity thrown their way, thanks to a manufacturer's error.
Behind the pitching performance of sophomore Bryce Gorder, Canby clinched a share of the conference title with an 8-0 shutout of the Bluejays. Duking out the Camden crown with Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, the Lancers can clinch the conference outright with a win over Tracy-Milroy-Balaton today in Canby.
After losing its first game 11-5 to Pipestone, Canby has been unbeatable, winning 12 straight.
Photo by Joe Brown
Canby’s David Bursack, left, avoids a tag by Central Minnesota Christian’s Zach Zwart to reach third on a wild pitch during Monday’s Camden Conference baseball game in Canby. Bursack scored later in the inning on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch.
"The first game didn't go the way we wanted it to against Pipestone, but we rebounded after that," said Lancers head coach Ryan Arndt. "This year, we got four guys who can throw, which is great, and hitting is no problem now with the new bats."
Well, hitting was a problem on Monday, but it wasn't due to the bats. Instead, the box of game balls had non-regulation baseballs still in the wrapping. The non-regulation balls had smaller laces and were softer, keeping most of the hit balls in the infield as both teams had four hits apiece.
"With the bats the way they are, too, adding a mushy ball to that, you hit them and you could tell they were just floating and not doing anything," said Lancers third baseman Chris Kaddatz.
After leading off the bottom of the first inning with two outs, Tate Citrowske and Kaddatz got the Canby offense rolling, as Citrowske hit for a single. Stephen Huber got on thanks to an infield error before Kaddatz unleashed on an RBI double, putting the Lancers up 2-0. The double was the only multi-base hit of the game.
Normally the team's closer, Gorder took the start for Canby, and forced CMCS into grounders and weak pop-ups. In a complete-game victory, Gorder allowed just four hits and one walk, striking out three and stranding seven Bluejay runners.
"It felt good, I'm not going to lie," Gorder said about pitching all seven innings. "They just told me to throw and I did it. ... I couldn't have done it without (Kaddatz and Citrowske) at third and shortstop. They did a lot of the work."
Arndt added, "Bryce has been really consistent for us. We've had so many games in the last week, so we gave him the chance to start here and he did well."
With offense hard to come by, Canby stayed patient at the plate, getting a pair of runs across in the bottom of the second with bases loaded. David Bursack and Gorder scored on a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and a walk, respectively.
Between the second and fifth innings, Canby was able to get four runs on the board, all without putting up a base hit. It wasn't until Citrowske laced a single through the infield in the bottom of the sixth that the Lancers were able to get another hit.
"It was definitely weird," Kaddatz said of Monday's offensive output.
After today's regular season finale, Canby brings its focus to the Section 3A-North playoffs, where the team is the No. 1 seed in the North sub-section, and will play the winner of Wednesday's play-in game between Dawson-Boyd and Lakeview.
Last year as the No. 1 seed in Section 3A-North, the Lancers were stunned in the first round by the Blackjacks, who knocked Canby out in the single-elimination portion of the tournament.
A year later, the Lancers are ready to avenge that upset in hopes of getting through the section and into the state tournament for the first time.
"Coming into the season, we've all been thinking of last year's playoffs and how that ended," Kaddatz said. "After the first game of this year, we used that as motivation in practice. Now that we're coming close to the end, we're really happy with where we're at."
CMCS000 000 0-0 4 2
Canby220 112 X-8 4 2
CMCS-Sam Ohden, Nick Daugherty (5); CAN-Bryce Gorder. WP-Gorder. LP-Ohden. 2B: CAN-Chris Kaddatz. LOB: CMCS-7; CAN-6.