PREP BASEBALL: Cards capitalize

Early start boosts Luverne over Marshall, 9-4

Photo by Jake Przytarski Marshall’s Kaleb Welvaert delivers a pitch during their game against Luverne on Thursday. The Tigers fell to the Cardinals 9-4.

MARSHALL - A five-run first inning for the visiting Luverne baseball team spelled doom for Marshall on Thursday as the Cardinals took full advantage of the fast start to beat the Tigers 9-4. The two teams are scheduled to meet again on Saturday with a Big South Conference title hanging in the balance.

Marshall coach Chace Pollock came away disappointed by the team’s performance on Thursday and is counting on a better showing from his ballclub in the upcoming rematch.

“I wasn’t very happy with (our performance) to be honest with you,” said Pollock. “I thought this wasn’t our best ballgame and we have to be better next time we play these guys.”

Marshall starting pitcher Kaleb Welvaert ran into some trouble early on in his five-inning outing with the Cardinals coming out of the gates red-hot at the plate to record three extra-base hits en route to a five-run frame in the top of the first inning.

Unable to get one back in the bottom of the first, the Tigers instead responded with a one-run second inning that began with a single by Trey Steinbach and a double for Cody Greve. After an out, Jackson Hughes came through with a clutch two-out RBI single to make it 7-1 after the Cardinals added two at the top of the inning.

The response by the Tigers was encouraging for Pollock, though he would’ve liked to have seen the club do a better job of taking advantage of scoring opportunities.

“I thought we did well after (the first inning),” said Pollock. “We got out of the first and it was a tie ball game the rest of the way. We had our opportunities in there (but) we just couldn’t capitalize. They threw some good pitchers (out there). They’re a deep, solid ballclub and we just have to fight a little bit better and minimize our mistakes and we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.”

The Tigers continued to chip away at the deficit in the third inning when Welvaert stepped to the plate and delivered a hard-hit triple to score Andrew Mulso and Isaac Schmitt. With one out and Welvaert on third, the Cardinals elected to make a pitching change with Isaiah Bartels taking over for Derek Lundgren. The change proved to be effective as Bartels got out of the inning without giving up any additional runs.

Both ballclubs went scoreless in the fourth inning, but the Cardinals bounced back in the fifth with another run to make it 9-3. The frame was Welvaert’s last on the hill with Matt Hmielewski taking over one batter into the top of the sixth.

In need of a crooked number in the sixth to catch up, the Tigers scored one run via an RBI single by Alex Thompson but couldn’t capitalize with the bases loaded, leaving the score at 9-4 until the final out was recorded in the seventh.

Marshall will get another crack at beating the Cardinals on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for noon at Legion Field. Pollock acknowledged that it’s going to take a much better performance to beat a Luverne team that has only lost once in 18 games played this season.

“We’re going to have to play better, there’s no sugar coating it,” said Pollock. “(Thursday) wasn’t good enough and hopefully next time we do it’ll be better.”

Luverne 9, Marshall 4

Luverne 521 010 0 — 9 11 2

Marshall 012 001 0 — 4 7 3

HITTING: Marshall (Thompson 1-2, RBI; Welvaert 1-4, 3B, 2 RBI; Hughes 2-2, RBI; Mulso 1-2; Steinbach 1-3; Schmitt 1-2).

PITCHING (IP-R-ER-H-BB-SO): Marshall (Welvaert 5-9-9-10-0-3; Hmielewski 2-0-0-1-1-2).