By David Merrill
Photo by David Merrill
Marshall’s Nate Hoeft slides into home during Marshall’s 6-2 victory over Willmar Tuesday night.
MARSHALL- Connor Winkleman shook off a rough start to earn the pitching win in a 6-2 Mudcats victory over Willmar Tuesday night.
Winkleman finished with six strikeouts in the game while walking four.
He had been away from baseball for about a week while keeping Amateur Athletic Union basketball commitments and needed to get back into pitching form.
"My arm didn't hurt, it was just a matter of getting the kinks out again," Winkleman said.
A sacrifice fly from Derek Rasmussen plated the Mudcats' final run of the game to stretch their lead to 6-2.
Marshall got RBI from Brad Bahlmann and Mason Campion in the fifth inning to go with an RBI from Nate Hoeft in the fourth inning.
Willmar gave up its 2-0 lead in the fourth, allowing Noah Winkleman to score on an overthrow to second before Hoeft recorded his RBI single.
Dylan Criquet Danielson opened the scoring for Marshall in the third inning with an RBI single of his own.
Brandon Christensen and Cole Christensen brought in Willmar's two runs in the opening frame.
Marshall manager Mitch Maxwell has praised his team's complete effort all season long.
"Defensively, I think we were making some key plays," Maxwell said. "We talked afer the game about the fact that this group wins as a team and that's how it's been all summer long."
Marshall was playing in its first game since returning from the Gopher Classic in St. Louis Park, where they faced some stiff competition and Maxwell started to see some positive carry over.
"Scott Buss laid down five sacrifice bunts over the weekend and Brad Bahlmann does a nice job with a bunt down the first baseline tonight to score a run," Maxwell said. "We had contributions up and down the lineup.
"If we're going to win, were going to win as a team. There were some great individual performances, but that's what is getting us wins right now."
Joe Wame took the loss on the mound for Willmar. He started and pitched three innings.
He gave up one run on five hits and struck out one.
Cole Christensen pitched in relief and went two innings for Willmar, giving up four runs on two hits.
Willmar hurt itself defensively, commiting six errors in the contest.
Willmar manager Wade Adamson knew this was an important game, but also saw the bigger picture.
"This game was big as far as seeding, but I also want to have my pitching staff ready for the playoffs," Adamson said. "When I made that pitching change, my second kid didn't have his stuff. That opened the gates a little bit. I told the kids we outhit them, but we didn't outfield them."
Willmar will travel to Alexandria on Monday while Marshall played its last home game of the summer and will head back on the road to the Princeton Classic on Friday.
They will have a first round matchup with River Falls at 3:30 p.m. and will take on the winner of Princeton and Cloquet.
Rogers, St. Francis, Grand Rapids and Lino Lakes are also in the field.