VFW BASEBALL: Key inning propels Marshall 15U Orange to 11-2 victory against Lamberton
MARSHALL — The Marshall 15U Orange baseball team looked to continue its red-hot offense to close the month of June after scoring 15 runs in Tuesday’s victory against Redwood Valley. Their matchup against Lamberton on Thursday, however, appeared to be headed to a close battle, but a six-run fourth by Marshall created enough separation to help them earn an 11-2 victory at Legion Field.
Marshall coach Peyton Grant said they played solid defense and pitched well early but it took them a couple of innings to get into a rhythm offensively before they capitalized.
“Right away, we were pitching well and playing good defense and our hitting was on and off,” Grant said. “We didn’t hit too well in the early innings, especially with runners in scoring position, but we finally brought things together in the fourth. They had a couple of errors that we took advantage of and we brought around six runs in the fourth which is nice to see.”
It was back and forth to start, with Lamberton getting a run on a single and an RBI double before Marshall used a walk from Liam Kruse and an RBI single from Josh Kraft to tie things up at 1-1 after one. Marshall wasn’t done there, as Brody Wixon and Cooper Mensink connected on a single and a double, respectively, before Logan Miller brought in a run on an RBI groundout to give Marshall a 2-1 lead after two.
After a scoreless third, Marshall got back on the board in the fourth, with Owen Kesteloot reaching on an infield single and Wixon getting a single before Mensink and Miller lined back-to-back RBI base hits to make it 5-1. Marshall continued to attack, loading the bases with no outs before Kruse got hit by a pitch, Kraft got aboard on a fielder’s choice and Kesteloot recorded a sacrifice fly to extend their lead to 8-1 after four.
Lamberton would get a run in the next half-inning, but Marshall had an answer. Sam Thor reached on an error before using a pair of stolen bases and an error to score before Kruse smacked an RBI double and Kraft reached on an error to make it 11-2.
Lamberton had an opportunity to get on the board again in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with one out, but Kruse was able to get a pair of strikeouts to escape the jam before Marshall ultimately earned the 11-2 win.
Mensink led Marshall with three hits and an RBI while Wixon added three hits and Kraft had two hits and an RBI. Grant said offensively, they were able to put the ball in play and were smart on the basepaths, especially in the fourth inning.
“In the fourth inning we really utilized just putting the ball in play,” Grant said. “Before we were striking out too much and just watching pitches and at this age and where we’re at with this team, we put the ball in play and we’re going to run the bases well and we’re going to score runs, so putting the ball in play really changed it for us in that inning.”
Kruse earned the win on the mound, going six innings while allowing two runs on seven hits and struck out seven. Grant said Kruse did a good job of mixing his pitches and keeping the opposing batters off-balance.
“He really mixed his pitches well and hit spots and kept the batters on their heels,” Grant said. “He doesn’t give up a ton of hits usually and he strikes guys out left and right.”
Marshall will face Minneota at home next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Going into their next matchups, Grant said they need to continue to take advantage of their opponents’ mistakes and be consistent with putting the ball in play.
“We can’t strike out as much. We’ve got to put balls in play, take advantage of what they give us and score when we have runners in scoring position,” Grant said. “We did that in a couple of innings, but we’ve got to do that the entire game.”
Marshall 11, Lamberton 2
Lamberton 100 010 0 – 2 7 1
Marshall 110 630 X – 11 15 1
Hitting: Marshall (Bly 1H; Kruse 1H, 2 RBI; Kraft 2H, RBI; Schaefer 1H, Kesteloot 1H, RBI; Wixon 3H; Mensink 3H, RBI; Miller 1H, 2 RBI; Thor 2H).
Pitching (IP-R-ER-H-BB-SO): Marshall (Kruse 6-2-2-7-2-7).