AMATEUR BASEBALL: Lakefield takes down Tracy with strong hitting

Photo by Sam Thiel Tracy’s Jordan Lanoue fields a ground ball during their game against Lakefield on Sunday. The Express fell to Lakefield 11-4.

TRACY – The Tracy amateur baseball team kept up with Lakefield for the majority of their game Sunday afternoon, but ultimately fell to the Frogs 11-4.

The Frogs struck first in the top of the first and later in the third, scoring a pair of runs to take a 2-0 lead.

Tracy had an opportunity to cut their deficit in the bottom of the fourth when Jeremy Hofflock smacked a leadoff double, but the Express couldn’t capitalize on their runner in scoring position, and the lead would remain at 2-0.

Lakefield then added to its advantage in the top of the fifth, using a two-run double to make it 4-0. Tracy would get on the board for the first time in the bottom half of the frame, when Austin Gleis reached on a single and later scored on a RBI triple by Casey Polzine.

The Frogs answered back in a big way in the top of the fifth, scoring five runs to push their lead to 9-1. After back-to-back singles led off the innings, Lakefield drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. The next batter would get an RBI single to get past the infield before a three-run homer from the next man up made it 8-1 to highlight the inning.

Tracy got another run back in the bottom of the inning when Derek Radke got an RBI single of his own to cut it to 9-2. Lakefield would score two more runs in the top of the seventh to make it 11-2, but the Express got its final two runs of the game in the bottom of the inning.

Tanner Deming-Phelps got things started with a single before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Joe Bretschneider then drew a walk before James Fultz brought in a run on a sacrifice. Hofflock then got an RBI single later in the inning to bring it to 11-4, but they couldn’t get any closer.

Tracy first baseman Aaron Ziemer said he liked the competitiveness of his team throughout the game, but felt they gave Lakefield too many extra at bats.

“I thought the effort was pretty good. We were pretty competitive most of the way,” Ziemer said. “It just got away from us a little bit in the sixth and there was a couple of plays we didn’t make. That’s one of those things that’s jumped up and bit us a little bit. We’ve really got to stop giving teams extra outs. If we can get out of that sixth inning, we don’t give up that three-run homer and it’s a much more competitive game.”

Hofflock led the way for the Express with a 3 for 4 day at the plate with an RBI while Polzine went 1 for 2 with a triple and an RBI.

Rusty Swanson took the loss for Tracy, going six innings while allowing 12 hits and nine runs while walking two.

Ziemer said he was pleased with his pitcher’s performance despite the final score.

“Rusty really mixes his pitches well and he’s pounding the zone with strikes right now which is why he is being successful,” Ziemer said. “He gets guys off balance and then he pounds the zone with strikes and that’s what makes him tough to hit. I thought he gave us everything he could and I think he’s had a couple of nice starts in a row.”

Tracy (2-11) will face the Milroy Irish on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

Ziemer said their biggest takeaway will be helping each other with tough plays and limiting mistakes.

“If we take of the things ourselves, we are usually in games. We’ve got to make sure we’re talking on fly balls with the sun and make sure we’re helping each other on ground balls when the shadows are tough,” Ziemer said. “Those are things that make playing on this field tough in the evening. We’re not too used to it yet, but those are some things we are making sure we are doing. If you’re going to make a mistake, limit it. Just make one and move on.”

Lakefield 11, Tracy 4

Lakefield 101 025 2 — 11 12 0

Tracy 000 011 2 — 4 9 3

HITTING: Tracy (Hofflock 3-4, RBI; Polzine 1-2, 3B, RBI).

PITCHING (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO): Tracy (Swanson 6.0-12-9-9-2-0; Polzine 1.0-0-2-2-2-1).