PREP BASEBALL: TMB uses strong start to take out Lakeview 13-0
TRACY - After seeing their five-game winning streak come to an end on Friday in a road loss to Minneota, the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton baseball team had its sights set on a new streak and went on to complete the first step with a decisive 13-0 win over Lakeview in five innings.
TMB coach Bill Tauer said the team’s focus heading into Saturday’s contest was to get back on track after not playing up to their potential on Friday.
“We talked about bouncing back after Friday’s game. We had a disappointing loss up at Minneota,” said Tauer. “We knew we didn’t play our best game and didn’t get the timely hits and didn’t play as sharp as we had been, so we needed to get back on track. We hit the ball well (Saturday) and got some timely hits. Luc (Gervais) threw well on the mound and our defense played well so it was good to see the guys bounce back from a tough loss.”
For Lakeview coach Tom Yahnka, the team’s overall lack of experience has created some challenges throughout the season, but he is still hopeful that they can improve if they remain positive.
“We’re young and still learning,” said Yahnka. “(We) just haven’t played up to our potential yet this year so we’re hoping we can start putting some games together. We’re struggling right now that’s the bottom line. Kids have to keep their chins up and keep working hard I guess and see what we can do.”
It was all systems go right from the start for TMB’s talented group of hitters as they put up four runs in the first inning including a solo home run for Griffin Radke. Jake Byrne, Sawyer Otto and Gervais also chipped in hits in what was a tone-setting frame for the home team.
The offensive surge for the Panthers was not limited to the first inning, however, as the team would go on to post crooked numbers in all four innings at the plate, including a three-run second inning highlighted by a pair of RBI singles from Caleb Nordsiden and Konnor Zick.
Zick would strike again in the third inning with another RBI single for the first of two runs scored for TMB. Finally, in the fourth, the Panthers put the game away for good with four more runs that came as a result of a Laker error in the field and a two-RBI double by Byrne.
The offensive performance by the Panthers was matched only by the pitching display by Gervais, who delivered a dominant five inning shutout complete with six strikeouts and a pair of hits to Lakeview’s Zach Mueller and Cody Caron.
According to Tauer, the strong outing was especially impressive given the time he’s had to wait between starts due to rainouts.
“It was good to see because he hasn’t thrown a lot lately because of all the rainouts and the way the schedule it’s messed up our pitching rotation,” said Tauer. “Every time he was scheduled to pitch it has rained so he’s been pushed around a little bit, so it was good to get some innings back on the mound for him. He came in and threw really well for not pitching in over a week.”
The victory for the Panthers moves them to 9-3 on the year with six games remaining on the regular season schedule. The team will be back in action on Tuesday when they take on Lac qui Parle Valley on the road at 5 p.m. Looking ahead, Tauer is hopeful that his team can continue to play with the same level of consistency.
“(We need to stay) consistent. If we play good defense, throw well and hit the ball and get timely hits we’re a pretty decent team,” said Tauer. “We just want to be consistent like we had been up to yesterday. We’d played pretty consistent and we need to get back to that.”
The Lakers will also return to the field on Tuesday when they take on Central Minnesota Christian on the road at 4 p.m. Yahnka plans to make some adjustments to the team’s approach at the plate going forward in addition to striving for better play in the infield.
“(We’re going to focus on) fielding (and) making the proper throws,” said Yahnka. “We’re going to go up to the batter’s box hoping that they’ll go ahead and swing right away. We have been having them take a pitch just to look things over. We’re going to say just take that pressure off and just go out there, have some fun, swing the bat (and) let the chips fall where they may.”