PREP BASEBALL: Knights edge Lancers with late offense, 7-4

Photo by Emily Daniels RTR’s Payton Hess connects for a hit during their game against Canby on Tuesday. The Knights defeated the Lancers 7-4.

CANBY – Strong bats and baserunning in the fifth inning for the Russell-Tyler-Ruthton baseball team led them to a 7-4 win over the Canby Lancers Tuesday afternoon. A big at bat for Parker Wendland was all the Knights needed for them to take the lead away from the Lancers and come out with a win.

Coming off the win RTR coach Josh Fredrickson saw a lot of positive things out on the field from his team and is proud of the way that they worked together as a team in the dugout and on the field.

“One thing that we have done a good job on all year is putting the ball in play well and that’s something that we continued on Tuesday. One through nine always does a good job of making contact and putting the ball into play and that was a big part of it today,” said Fredrickson. “Jared (Baartman) did a phenomenal job of pitching and that was one place that we have struggled in the past. So having him being able to pitch like that was huge.”

There was nothing holding back both of the teams to start off the game, with the Knights scoring two runs followed by the Lancers also bringing in two runs on three hits, tying things up at 2-2 after one. With RTR up to bat, the only action that was found from the Knights’ bats was a single from Cooper Hansen and a single from Carter Hansen. The Lancers couldn’t connect offensively to bring in any runs, leaving runners on second and third to end the second inning.

Canby had a strong defensive start to the third, making it a 1-2-3 inning, bringing them up to bat. The Lancers’ Chantz Engesmoe was the first hit for Canby in the third followed by another single by Zach Ries. With runners on first and second, the Lancers couldn’t find their way to bring the runners home, leaving runners on first and second to end the third inning.

The fourth frame was fast for the Knights, with the only hit coming from Cooper Hansen. The bottom of the fourth was a completely different story for the Lancers. Getting Canby started was Tyler Kack who hit a single with one out before Kack advanced to second from a pop fly from Nolan Harding. Blake Mercer then stepped up and hit one out of the park for the first home run of the night, putting Canby up 4-2 at the end of four innings.

The Knights responded to the Lancers strong fourth inning by bringing the heat at the top of the fifth inning. A Canby error in the infield led to a single for Hunter VanLerberghe followed by a double from Payton Hess. The Knights had runners on second and third when Jacob Fischer came up to bat and Fischer saw his pitch and hit an RBI single, which led to runners on first and third. The Knights were sitting on two outs and when Collin Johnson came up to bat, Canby’s pitcher Parker Viessman threw a wild pitch that led to the Knights stealing home and advancing another runner to second. Wendland then found his pitch at the plate hitting a two-run double that gave the Knights a 6-4 lead. The Lancers then didn’t score any runs on one hit to end the inning with one runner left on base.

The top of the sixth inning saw more success from the Knights with a home run from VanLerberghe that put the Knights up 7-4 to end the top of the sixth. The Lancers were running out of opportunities to score more runs and couldn’t make anything of Harding’s single, leaving him on base to end the sixth.

The seventh inning was fast for both teams, as no significant plays or hits were made in the frame which led to a 7-4 win for the Knights.

The Knights are now 6-4 and the Lancers are 4-7 with less than half of the season to play.

Going into the rest of the season Fredrickson sees a lot of strengths but there are a few things that they can look to improve on as they finish off the year.

“Anytime you can get a win against anyone in our conference is big,” said Fredrickson. “There are some things that we need to work on fielding wise. Sharpen up on a few missed plays here and there but I think that we are real confident right now, especially at the plate and that is going to be big going forward.”

RTR 7, Canby 4

RTR 200 041 0 — 7 14 4

Canby 200 200 x — 4 11 2

HITTING: RTR (VanLerberghe 3-4, HR, RBI, 3 runs; Hess 1-4, 2B, run; Baarman 2-4, 2 RBI, run; Wendland 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI; Co. Hansen 2-3); Canby (Kack 3-4 2B, 2 runs; Mercer 1-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 runs; Engesmoe 3-4, RBI).

PITCHING: RTR (Baartman 7-11-4-3-0-6); Canby (Viessman 7-14-7-7-1-3).