PREP BASEBALL: Lakers drops pair of games with Minneota, KMS

Photo by Jenny Kirk Lakeview’s Noah Jensen winds up a pitch during their game against Minneota on Tuesday. The Lakers fell to the Vikings 11-1 and then to Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg 15-3.

COTTONWOOD — Still looking for its first win of the season, the young Lakeview baseball team competed hard but wasn’t able to stop its losing streak and fell 11-1 and 15-3 to Camden Conference rivals Minneota and Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg on Tuesday in Cottonwood.

Making up a game that was rained out on Monday, the Minneota Vikings wasted no time, putting up six runs on six hits in the first inning. Brant Buysse’s lead-off single was followed up by a single from Thomas Hennen, doubles from Teddy Pesch and Alex Pohlen and a single by Landon Abraham.

Then with two outs, Cole Sanow blasted a two-run home run to cap the scoring rally.

“It felt pretty good,” Sanow said. “I think we hit pretty well. There were times we weren’t hitting as well, but (Tuesday), a lot of guys really stepped up with the bats.”

Hennen got on via a walk to start off the second inning for the Vikings. After Pesch earned a single, Pohlen pounded an RBI-double. Pesch then scored after tagging up on a sacrifice fly hit by Abraham.

“We hit the ball well right away and scored a few each inning,” Minneota coach Keven Larson said. “We kept rolling.”

In the bottom of the second, the Lakers took advantage of a pair of Viking errors in the infield. Grant Sander and Brennen Aguirre got on after forcing the errors. Running as a courtesy for Sander, Brock Kvistad reached home on a single by Aaron Lienemann.

“I thought our young kids competed well,” Lakeview coach Tom Yahnka said. “We put the ball in play — we did not strike out a lot. And we can live with a couple of errors. We started two freshmen, four sophomores, a junior and two seniors. We’re a very young team and each game is a learning experience for us.”

Minneota added two more runs in the fourth and a final run in the fifth

“Minneota is a solid team,” Yahnka said. “They hit the ball like we knew they would. We told our pitcher, Noah Jensen, just throw strikes and try to let the guys make the plays behind you.”

Jensen, a sophomore, took the loss on the mound for Lakeview, going five innings and giving up 11 runs, 12 hits and two walks while striking out two batters.

“I thought Noah did well,” Yahnka said. “He only walked two that I remember. He threw strikes. His pitch count was also good. For five innings, he was at 75 or something, so that was pretty decent.”

Imes finished 2 for 3 at the plate, while Lienemann was 1 for 2 with an RBI. Cody Caron and Sander also went 1 for 2, while Jensen was 1 for 3. Coach Yahnka joked that the “baseball gods” weren’t with them.

“It seemed like the balls they hit, they found the holes,” Yahnka said. “And the balls we hit were right at people. That’s the baseball gods, you know. Sometimes they do favor you and sometimes they don’t.”

While the Lakers (0-12, 0-10 Camden) are winless, Yahnka said he’s noticed definite improvement over the season.

“It’s been up and down, but the last few games, we’ve really improved,” he said. “We lost a heartbreaker in Canby. We led for pretty much the whole game. It was our first time doing that. We were ahead 6-5 and the kid hit a two-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh, so that was tough. But again, it’s another learning experience.”

Jacob Hennen started on the mound and picked up the win for the Vikings (6-3, 5-2 Camden). Hennen went three innings and gave up one run, two hits and no walks while striking out one batter. Pohlen pitched two innings in relief, giving up four hits and earning two strikeouts.

“We mixed up our pitchers a little bit,” Larson said. “On a normal day, we wouldn’t have taken our starting pitcher out that early, but we have (games on) Thursday, Friday, Monday and Wednesday yet. So we had to watch pitch counts a little bit.”

Larson said he wasn’t so much worried about the pitchers having sore arms, but rather not having them available in the rotation.

“If (Jacob) only throws so many pitches, then he can come back on Thursday or Friday versus if he throws a few more, then he has to sit another day and we lose another pitcher in the rotation,” he said.

Minneota has struggled with some shoulder issues all season, but Larson said he’s hopeful that everything is coming together at the right time of the season.

“There are some football injuries that bit us a little this season,” Larson said. “We’re still trying to rehab a little bit. We’ve had a couple other guys come in. Jacob is only a freshman. He’s been a nice surprise. He doesn’t throw super-hard, but he throws a lot of strikes and mixes up pitches and stuff. We’re hoping we can use (the pitchers who have been gradually healing and getting a few innings in) a little more in the playoffs. I would say right now, we’re trying to find that perfect lineup for that first game.”

At the plate, Abraham was 2 for 2 with a double and three RBI. Pohlen finished 2 for 2 with a double and two RBI. Pesch went 2 for 3 with a double and three RBI, while Thomas Hennen was 2 for 3 with an RBI. Buysse finished the game 2 for 4 with a double, while Sanow was 1 for 3 with two RBI.

The Vikings were also aggressive on the bases, collecting seven stolen bases. Abraham led with two.

“We ran the bases pretty well,” Larson said. “We were fairly aggressive and took what they were giving us. It was good.”

Sanow thought there were key areas that made the difference in the contest.

“I think we just handed the ball better and we hit the ball better,” Sanow said.

Sanow added that he believes the team has had a “pretty good” overall season.

“We’ve been pleased,” he said. “With the weather, it’s been a short season, but we’re all eager to get into playoff time.”

In Game 2, KMS started off much the way Minneota did as the state-ranked team tallied five runs on three hits and an error in the first inning.

The Lakers responded with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. The rally was sparked when Jensen reached base on a third-strike dropped ball. Imes and Conner Dopp each earned a single, with Jensen scoring after an interference call was made at third base. Caron drove in the second run to cap off the scoring.

Lakeview’s excitement was short-lived, though, as the Fighting Saints put up seven more runs on five hits in the top of the second to take a 12-2 lead.

“KMS is a very, very good team,” Yahnka said. “(Coach James Cortez) has a powerhouse there. We told our kids we just want them to go out there and compete. We wanted to go seven (innings) with these guys.”

With two outs in the bottom of the second, Lienemann ran out a groundball to keep the inning alive. He scored on a double hit by Jensen.

Lakeview shut down KMS in the next two innings and were primed to add to their scoring total with bases loaded, but the runners ended up being stranded on base.

The Fighting Saints added three more runs in the fifth en route to closing out the game with a 15-3 victory. Ryan Torkelson picked up the win on the mound for KMS.

Lakeview finished with seven hits and were led by Dopp, who went 2 for 2 with an RBI. Imes was 2 for 3 with an RBI. Lienemann took the loss on the mound.

The Lakers will host Central Minnesota Christian School on Thursday and hope to add a non-conference matchup next week.

“We just had five games in six days now,” Yahnka said. “We’re trying to pickup a non-conference game to play the week before playoffs. We had one with Edgerton, but they had to drop us because they have a conference game to makeup.”

Minneota 11, Lakeview 1

Minneota 620 210–11 12 2

Lakeview 010 000–1 6 3

Hitting: Minneota (Landon Abraham 2-2, 2B, 3 RBI; Alex Pohlen 2-2, 2B, 2 RBI; Teddy Pesch 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI; Thomas Hennen 2-3, RBI; Brant Buysse 2-4, 2B; Cole Sanow 1-3, HR, 2 RBI; Jaymes Moon 1-3). Lakeview (Tyler Imes 2-3; Aaron Lienemann 1-2, RBI; Cody Caron 1-2; Grant Sander 1-2; Noah Jensen 1-3).

Pitching (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO): Lakeview (Jensen 5-12-11-10-2-2). Minneota (Jacob Hennen 3-2-1-0-0-1; Pohlen 2-4-0-0-0-2).

KMS 15, Lakeview 3

KMS 570 03x x–15 12 3

Lakeview 210 00x x–3 7 2

Lakeview Hitting (Dopp 2-2, 2B, RBI; Jensen 2-3, 2B, RBI; Brock Kvistad 1-1-2; Lienemann 1-2; Imes 1-3).

Lakeview Pitching (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO): Lienemann 2-8-12-12-2-1; Dopp 3-4-3-3-1-2).