AMATEUR BASEBALL: Lamberton outduels Courtland in home opener
LAMBERTON – A pitcher’s duel broke out in Sunday afternoon’s Tomahawk East League matchup between Lamberton and Courtland with the Long Sox getting the better of the low-scoring affair in a 5-1 victory at home over the Cubs.
Long Sox manager and winning pitcher Derrick Jenniges came away pleased with multiple areas of the team’s performance.
“It’s always interesting to see what you can put together early in May and it seemed like we played good defense and threw the ball over the plate and ran the bases pretty well,” said coach Jenniges. “Those were good pitchers, so it was good to see guys have six-seven-eight pitch at-bats. That’ll benefit them in the next couple of weeks as they kind of get back into playing.”
Jenniges’ seven innings on the mound began with a tone-setting first frame that featured two of his eight total strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning for the Long Sox. In assessing his overall performance, he was quick to credit the work of the fielders behind him as well as catcher Tyler Reiner for quality pitch selection.
“I just try to throw the ball over the plate and let the defense do its (job),” said coach Jenniges. “It’s really soft out here so the ball doesn’t really go anywhere, and the wind was blowing in, so it was pretty good conditions to be a pitcher. Tyler did a good job of calling pitches and defense did a good job fielding.”
At the plate, Lamberton was unable to generate a hit until the fifth inning but benefitted from a Cubs throwing error in the latter half of the first inning that put Neil Eichten on first where he would eventually score to put the Long Sox in front 1-0.
After a pair of scoreless innings, the Cubs knotted the game up at one after leading off with a single and advancing the runner with a sacrifice bunt. Another single two batters later brought the tying run home for the visiting team. The score would remain tied until the latter half of the fifth inning.
The hitless streak for the home team came to an end when it was their turn to step to the plate in the bottom of the fifth as Eichten belted a two-out single before advancing into scoring position with a steal. An RBI single by Josh Altermatt in the next at-bat provided the Long Sox with a 2-1 lead heading into the top of the sixth.
In search of an answer offensively, the Cubs threatened to score when they returned to the batter’s box and lead off with a single. The Courtland baserunner would go on to steal twice to make it to third base but never made it home as Jenniges struck out the final three batters to keep the lead intact.
The Long Sox went on to add insurance runs in the sixth and seventh innings via a sacrifice fly from Jacob Jenniges and a single by Isaac Jenniges to make it 4-1 through six. In the seventh, Lamberton added its final run of the game as Eichten leadoff with a double and later scored on a double steal to make it 5-1.
Lamberton elected to make a pitching change in the eighth inning with Brady Bierl taking over for one inning in which he gave up a hit but zero runs. Johnny Pistulka stepped into close out the game in the ninth and delivered a 1-2-3 inning featuring a pair of strikeouts to seal the victory.
With the victory, the Long Sox move to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in league play. They will be back in action on Friday when they host Gibbon at 7:30 p.m.
Looking ahead, Jenniges simply wants his players to get as much game experience in these early contests as possible so they get back into the rhythm of the long season.
“It’s just important to get guys here and get guys innings and get guys at-bats so that when we get busy then guys are ready and they’re in shape and can do it,” said coach Jenniges. “It’s nice to get a win in the early part of May but it’s most important that guys just get some opportunities to get back into the rhythm of the game.”
Lamberton 5, Courtland 1
Courtland 000 100 000 – 1 6 3
Lamberton 100 012 100 – 5 6 2
HITTING: Lamberton (Eichten 2-5, 2B; Altermatt 1-3, RBI; Pack 1-2, RBI; Pankonin 1-3; I. Jenniges 1-4, RBI).
PITCHING (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO): Lamberton (D. Jenniges 7-5-1-1-0-8; Bierl 1-1-0-0-0-0; Pistulka 1-0-0-0-0-2).