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AMATEUR BASEBALL: Heating up

Mudhens use hot-hitting night to take down Marshall

Photo by Sam Thiel Minneota’s Jake Leighton connects for a base hit during their game against Marshall on Thursday. The Mudhens defeated the A’s 12-2 in seven innings.

MINNEOTA — Things got heated between the Marshall and Minneota amateur baseball teams on Thursday night. Not between the players, but from their play on the field. While temperatures reached near triple digits, that didn’t stop the A’s and Mudhens from providing some pre-Fourth of July fireworks.

In the end, Minneota put on the more explosive display, pounding 17 hits en route to a 12-2 non-league victory over Marshall in seven innings.

Minneota manager Tyson Sonnenburg said he was pleased with their overall performance on both sides of the field and felt everybody did a nice job of making an impact on the game.

“Overall as a team we hit the ball pretty well. Marshall’s always a good team, so it’s good to get in a game with them; we know their whole team wasn’t here, but we had to play our own game,” Sonnenburg said. “Guys hit the ball well, Danny (Hennen) threw well, Zach (Nuy) came in and pitched well too. Overall it was nice to see us all one through nine contributing.”

It would be the A’s early on that found a groove on offense, as Alex Thompson and Zach Olsen each connected on a single before Logan Terfehr smacked an RBI single. Matt Hmielewski then got an RBI single of his own to give Marshall a 2-0 lead.

After struggling to get their offense going in the first couple of innings, the Mudhens quickly found their rhythm in the third. Beau Buysse would get a leadoff single before Jake Leighton lined a ground-rule double to put runners in scoring position. After Sonnenburg drew a walk to load the bases with no outs, Adam Durfee drove in a pair of runs with a single. Minneota then brought in two more runs on a sacrifice fly from Alex Pohlen and an RBI single from Austin DeVlaeminck to give the Mudhens a 4-2 lead.

That was just the beginning for Minneota, who continued its hot-hitting in the next frame. The Mudhens started off the bottom of the fourth with six straight hits, highlighted by RBI singles from Sonnenburg, Durfee and Austin Buysse before Hennen got an RBI single of his own to help push their lead to 9-2.

The Mudhens kept things going in the next frame, as Sonnenburg and Durfee both got one-out hits before Austin Buysse and Pohlen connected on back-to-back RBI singles. Hennen later added another RBI base hit to make it 12-2 after five.

Sonnenburg said they’re still getting adjusted to playing the game on a consistent basis, but knows if they can get in a groove offensively, they’re tough to stop.

“We were able to start seeing the ball a little bit,” Sonnenburg said. “Even though it’s July, it’s still early for us, so we’re still getting our at-bats in but hitting is contagious and once one guy can start something, usually other guys will follow.”

Marshall had an opportunity to cut into the deficit in the next half-inning, with Zach Thompson and Olsen reaching on singles and Alex Thompson getting aboard on an error to load the bases with one out. But the Mudhens starter Hennen quickly extinguished the threat with a strikeout and a groundout to keep the A’s off the board. Nuy then came on in the seventh and put the game away with three strikeouts to earn the save.

Despite the final outcome, Marshall’s Zach Olson said it was important to get their younger players in and get them some reps before they head back into the second part of their schedule.

“It was an exhibition, but one of the big things was getting our young guys in,” Olson said. “Getting them at-bats, some innings, ground balls, fly balls and that went well. 10 runs is 10 runs, but we got our young guys in and now it’s time to focus, with league starting back up again.”

Olsen led the way for the A’s with a pair of hits while Hmielewski and Terfehr each added a hit and an RBI and Wes Sarsland, Tanner Strommen, Zach Thompson, Alex Thompson and Dillon Loft also had a hit for Marshall.

Olson added they did a nice job of attacking pitches early in the game but said they just weren’t able to maintain a consistent approach at the plate.

“We just swung. We saw our pitches early and we attacked. The bottom of our lineup got on and got in, but things just kind of fell through after that,” Olson said. “But it was fun to get those young guys in there, they show up every game and you want to get them in.”

Alex Thompson took the loss on the mound, going two innings while allowing four runs on six hits and striking out one.

Leighton led the strong hitting outing by the Mudhens with a 3 for 4 day at the plate while Durfee added two hits and three RBI and Pohlen, DeVlaeminck and Hennen each had two hits of their own and two RBI.

Hennen earned the victory on the mound for Minneota, going six innings while allowing just two runs on nine hits and striking out five. Nuy picked up the save, tossing a scoreless final frame with three strikeouts.

Up next

Marshall will face Willmar next Friday at 7:30 p.m. while Minneota will face Dawson on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

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