AMATEUR BASEBALL: Happy to be home
Hadley breaks out the bats to pick up first home victory
HADLEY — The Hadley amateur baseball team and its fans saw just about everything during its game against Tracy on Saturday: its first home win of the season, a breakout performance from the offense and a wedding.
With a 17-hit outing leading the charge, the Buttermakers rolled past the Engineers 10-0 in eight innings at Laurie Mahon Memorial Field.
Hadley manager Myron Bennett said he was pleased with the way his team swung the bat throughout the afternoon.
“I thought we hit the ball really well,” Bennett said. “Nick (Bruning) and Kellan (Johnson) both hit home runs and a lot of the guys were swinging well; we haven’t played a lot, but it’s always nice to play at home.”
The Buttermakers jumped right out of the gates in their first at-bat and did so with a little flash of power. Bruning and Johnson would connect on home runs to help give Hadley an early 4-0 lead. Hadley then pushed its lead to 5-0 in the next inning when Joe Larson reached on an error.
The third inning was the lone frame where the Buttermakers didn’t come away with a run, but they answered right back in the fourth with an infield single from Justin Benda before Bruning smacked an RBI double to make it 6-0. In the fifth, Hadley loaded the bases thanks to walks from Alex Petersen and Denver Decker and a single from Garrett Johnson before Larson lined an RBI single to extend it to 7-0.
Tracy would get a leadoff single from Jake Tauer in the top half of the sixth, but a double play on the next at-bat quickly erased the threat by the Engineers. The bottom of the frame saw the Buttermakers bring back the power they had at the start, as Bruning drilled a solo shot to left for his second home run of the day and make it 8-0.
Hadley later added two more runs — an RBI single from Jacob VanDam in the seventh and the game-ending RBI from Jeremy Steinle — to bring it to the 10-0 final.
Tauer credited Hadley for taking advantage of their plate appearances and added their side of the dugout just couldn’t get anything going when they were at the plate.
“We just couldn’t get the bats going. Hadley destroyed the ball, they’re a good hitting team and hit well and we just couldn’t get the bats going,” Tauer said. “You can’t win if you can’t score runs.”
The Engineers struggled to find their offensive groove, recording only five hits on the afternoon. Shane Erickson led the way for Tracy with a pair of hits while Lucas Gervais and Tauer each added one of their own.
Gervais took the loss on the mound, going five innings while allowing seven runs on 10 hits and striking out three.
Hadley was led by Garrett Johnson, Kellan Johnson and Bruning, who all had three hits each, while Kellan Johnson and Bruning combined for six RBI.
Sam Erickson earned the victory on the mound for Hadley, going six innings while allowing no runs on four hits and striking out two.
Bennett said Erickson did a good job of attacking the strike zone and mixing up his pitches.
“He was getting ahead of the hitters right away and threw strikes,” Bennett said. “He mixed it up and did a good job and kept them off-balance. I thought he pitched well.”
On Sunday, the Engineers returned home to face Luverne. Unfortunately for Tracy, it couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end again, as it fell 12-0 to the Redbirds in seven innings. The Buttermakers also had a game Sunday and looked to close out its weekend with a perfect homestand. Hadley held an 8-1 lead going into the ninth against Pipestone, but the A’s weren’t done yet, getting a run across before a grand slam cut the deficit to 8-6. The Buttermakers were able to limit any further damage, however, and hold on for the tight victory.
A warm reception
Despite temperatures reaching into the 90s over the weekend, the warm weather wasn’t going to stop Mark Benda and Amy Jo VanEck from celebrating a special occasion. The two Buttermaker fans got married on Saturday morning before holding their reception at the ballpark.
Bennett said it was just a special day all-around for their family and it was a great way to end the day on Saturday.
“That’s really special because their son Carter got his first hit and their other one Justin plays well all-around for us in centerfield,” Bennett said. “It meant a lot to them; we did the 4 o’clock start for them so it would be a later game and we could go right into the celebration of their wedding. They’re real loyal supporters of Hadley baseball.”
Hadley will face Jackson next Sunday at 5 p.m. while Tracy will face Ruthton on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.