AMATEUR BASEBALL: Mudhens break out bats in doubleheader win

Photo by Sam Thiel Minneota’s Preston Nuy prepares to slide into home plate during their game against Cottonwood. He would be safe.

MINNEOTA – The Minneota Mudhens used a little bit of offensive display at the plate and a little stifling pitching on the mound to concoct a winning recipe during their doubleheader matchup against Cottonwood and Madison on Sunday.

In the opener against Cottonwood, the Mudhens jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first inning thanks to an RBI single by Tyson Sonnenburg. The Cardinals took very little time to answer, getting a walk before marching their way around the basepaths to tie the game at 1-1.

Minneota then struck for a run in the top of the third when Beau Buysse reached on a fielder’s choice before stealing second, advancing to third and later coming home on a wild pitch.

Cottonwood once again countered in the bottom of the third thanks to a two-run blast by Seth Boerboom to take its first lead of the day at 3-2.

But the Mudhens wouldn’t go away, as they scored three more runs in the top of the fourth and another in the top of the fifth to take a 6-3 lead. Minneota plated their runs in the fourth on an error and a pair of RBI doubles by Preston Nuy and Henry Pesch before getting their sixth run of the day on an RBI single by Austin Buysse.

After a scoreless sixth, the Mudhens got another run in the seventh after Adam Durfee reached on an infield single before advancing on a wild pitch. Jesse Drager then stepped and would sacrifice Durfee to third but the throw went over the third baseman’s head, scoring Durfee in the process. Minneota then got two more runs in the top of the eighth on a two-run shot by Mike Luke to go up 9-3.

Cottonwood then countered with two runs of its own in the bottom of the eighth on a bases-loaded walk and a fielder’s choice, but that would be as close as they could get. The Mudhens got their final run of the afternoon in the ninth on an RBI single by Austin Buysse and Minneota would clinch a berth in the regional tournament with the victory.

Danny Hennen earned the win on the hill for Minneota, going seven innings while allowing eight hits and five runs while striking out seven.

Seth Boerboom took the loss for Cottonwood, going six innings while allowing six hits and six runs while striking out five.

Boerboom said he felt they did a good job on the offensive end, but added they needed work defensively after committing seven errors on the game.

“I thought we saw the ball well today, and hit the ball well, we just need to work on fielding,” Boerboom said.

The Mudhens then moved on to their nightcap game against Madison, this time in Minneota after being in Cottonwood to start the day. This matchup went a little tighter, but the Mudhens squeezed by with a 3-2 win Sunday night.

Neither team could find scoring to start, as the first three and a half innings went scoreless. The Mudhens finally kicked off the offense with a run in the bottom of the fourth, when Durfee led off the frame with a triple to left before coming home on a sacrifice by Pesch to give Minneota a 1-0 lead.

Madison then quickly responded with a run of its own in the top of the fifth, scoring on an error on a pickoff attempt before getting another run in the top of the sixth to take a 2-1 lead. The Mudhens answered back as they strung together three consecutive hits, including an RBI single by Austin Buysse to retake the lead before getting another run on an RBI single by Hennen to reclaim the lead at 3-2.

Pesch came on in relief of starter Zach Nuy, who went eight innings. Madison had a threat in the top of the ninth with a runner on third and two out, but Pesch got his third strikeout of the frame to seal the win.

Hennen said he was pleased with the offensive contribution from the whole team throughout the day.

“Everyone was stringing hits together well tonight. Durfee had a really great game at the plate in the second game against Madison,” Hennen said. “We were aggressive on the basepaths, which definitely helps too.”

Both Cottonwood and Minneota will await their playoff matchups this week.