PREP BASEBALL: Strong pitching helps Rebels cruise by Vikings in five innings
SLAYTON – The Minneota baseball team ran into an offensive buzzsaw in Friday’s matchup with Murray County Central that featured five extra-base hits for the Rebels in a 12-0 drubbing of the visiting Vikings in five innings.
MCC coach Derek Lieser came away pleased with their readiness to compete from the opening pitch despite having to deal with less than ideal weather.
“I thought the kids came ready to play on a day when it’s overcast and cloudy and the guys could’ve easily came and say hey we don’t want to play,” said Lieser. “I thought their mindset was great from the outset. This week we had a nice game on Tuesday as far as swinging the bat and I thought that carried over.”
Minneota coach Keven Larson praised the Rebels for their performance, but admitted their lack of preparedness may have come as a result of carryover from their previous outing in which the Vikings battled back from a seven-run deficit to beat Adrian 8-7.
“(We) just didn’t come out ready to play I guess and that’s my fault,” said Larson. “We had a longer game last night and kind of an emotional game and (today was the) last day of school for our seniors. They hit the ball well and pitched well and we just didn’t come out and make plays so hats off to them.”
While the MCC offense played a key role in the victory, starting pitcher Kyler Deacon was able to set the tone early for the Rebels by delivering a pair of scoreless frames on the bump, including a 1-2-3 second inning. The junior went on to pitch two more scoreless frames while giving up only three hits and recording three strikeouts in a winning start.
The Rebels fed off of the impressive display on the mound by breaking through in the second inning when Justin Benda leadoff with a triple and was later waved home on a wild pitch to give MCC a 1-0 lead. The one run would be the extent of the damage in the second, but the Rebels went back to work in the third with their best frame of the game at the plate.
In what would end up being a seven-run rally began with a Trevor Ackerman walk and a Spencer Wajer bunt single to put runners on base for Danny Blankenship to drive them both home with a single. Far from finished, Deacon, Cameron Kresko and Ackerman in his second at the plate recorded run-scoring hits to extend the lead to 8-0.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Rebels drove in four more runs with Blankenship delivering another RBI single, while Deacon, Woldt and Blake Schmitz all registered extra-base hits to make it 12-0.
The Vikings needed three runs to extend the contest in the top of the fifth but were unable to get on the board as Drew Coulter took over on the mound for the Rebels and sealed the 12-0 victory.
MCC will be back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Luverne to take on the Cardinals at 4:30 p.m. With playoffs just around the corner, Lieser is hoping that the victory will be something that the team can build upon the rest of the way.
“Baseball’s that season where you want to kind of build and build and get to that peak where you’re playing your best baseball at the end of the season,” said Lieser. “That’s the nice thing, we haven’t always played our best baseball all year and I think we’re starting to see ourselves put those pieces together and kind of build towards playoffs.”
The Minneota Vikings will conclude their regular season schedule on Monday when they return home to take on Springfield at 5 p.m. Looking ahead, Larson is focused on having his team prepared for the start of the postseason.
“We have a week before playoffs and seedings come out on Monday and we’ll see where we end up,” said Larson. “I guess it’s just making sure that we’re ready to go next Saturday as far as playoffs are concerned.”
Murray County Central 12, Minneota 0
Minneota 000 00 — 0 3 1
MCC 017 4x — 12 11 2
HITTING: MCC (Wajer 2-3; Blankenship 2-3, 3 RBI; Benda 1-2; Deacon 2-3, RBI; Woldt 1-1 2 RBI; Kresko 1-3, RBI; Ackerman 1-1, 2 RBI; Schmitz 1-1, RBI); Minneota (Buysse 1-2; Pesch 1-3; Sorensen 1-1).
PITCHING (IP-R-ER-H-BB-SO): MCC (Deacon 4-0-0-3-3-3; Coulter 1-0-0-0-0-1); Minneota (Pesch 2.1-3-3-3-3-3; Sanow 1.2-9-9-8-1-2).