The Blue Earth Pirates suffered their third loss of the season on Monday night at the hands of the Austin Blue Sox.
"They are really a quality team," Pirates manager Todd Schmidtke says. "They have mainly college players and are a Class B team. We like playing them to see how we can do against them."
The Pirates lost to the Blue Sox 8-4 in the game played in Blue Earth.
The local team got on the board first when Pirate Kane Malo slugged a solo home run over the left field fence in the second inning.
Both batters before him, Aaron Wendt and Lee Hodges, hit long balls that went all the way to the fence but were caught by the speedy Austin outfielders.
Unfortunately, Malo's homer was the only scoring for the Pirates until the ninth inning.
Meanwhile, the Blue Sox scored three runs in the third and added three more in the fourth.
They had one more run in both the sixth and eighth innings to take a commanding 8-1 lead.
Blue Earth tried to mount their comeback in the ninth.
T.J. Stallman started the inning off with a solo home run.
After two batters struck out, Malo reached first on a walk. Trent Sonnickson reached on a base hit and Garret Anderson got a walk to load the bases.
A base hit by Cody Sukalski brought in two runs to make the score 8-4.
That became the final tally when the next Pirate batter was out on a fly ball.
Hodges took the loss, pitching for five innings and giving up six runs on nine hits. He struck out two and walked three.
Anderson came in for four innings and allowed two runs on only one hit. He struck out eight and walked seven.
The Pirates came up with eight hits by eight different batters.
The loss put the Blue Earth team's season record at 20-3.
The Pirates played at Waterville on Sunday, July 8.
This week they host the Cleveland Condors on Tuesday, travel to Fairmont on Friday, then to Minnesota Lake on Saturday for the regular season finale.
Playoffs will begin on Saturday, July 21.
Blue Earth 12,
Lake Crystal 11
It was an all-out slugfest on Sunday, July 1, when the Blue Earth Pirates traveled to Lake Crystal.
The two teams combined for 34 hits in the game.
When the dust cleared, the Pirates would come home with a hard-fought 12-11 victory.
"Lake Crystal is a very, very good team," Manager Todd Schmidtke says. "This was only their second league loss of the season."
Both of those losses came at the hands of the Pirates, which now gives the Blue Earth team the edge in any tie-breaker for seedings in the post-season.
Sunday's game started off slow, scoring-wise.
The Pirates took an early 1-0 lead after the first inning.
Lake Crystal took a 3-2 lead after three innings, and Blue Earth tied it up 3-3 after four innings.
The bats on both teams exploded in the sixth inning. Blue Earth knocked in three runs in the top half, while Lake Crystal had six scores in the bottom.
That put the home team up 10-6 over the visitors from Blue Earth.
Lake Crystal added a run in the seventh to go up by a formidable 11-6 score.
Then came the eighth inning.
The Pirates plated six runners on a series of three base hits and two walks and one error.
That put Blue Earth up by one, 12-11. With neither team scoring in the ninth, that would be the final tally.
Aaron Wendt started the game on the mound for the Pirates, pitching 5 1/3 innings. He gave up 10 runs on 12 hits, struck out four and walked two.
Cody Sukalski pitched 3 2/3 innings and got the win. He allowed one run on four hits and struck out three and walked one.
The Pirates out hit Lake Crystal 18-16.
Leading the way at the plate for Blue Earth was T.J. Stallman who was 4 for 5 with three RBI.
Wendt and T.J. Schmidtke were both 3 for 6 with three RBI for Wendt and two for Schmidtke.
Sukalski was 2 for 5 and Domitri Beck was 2 for 6.
"The hitting was as hot as the temperature," Schmidtke says.
Mankato 8, Blue Earth 5
The Blue Earth Pirates suffered their second loss of the season at the hands of the Kato Mets on Saturday, June 30.
Final score was 8-5.
After the Mets scored two runs in the first inning, the Pirates came right back with two of their own in the bottom of the inning to tie up the game.
A double by T.J. Stallman brought in T.J. Schmidtke and Aaron Wendt.
Mankato added one more run in the second.
But, it was the third inning that spelled disaster for the home team. Kato came in with five runs to take an 8-3 lead.
Blue Earth came back with one run in their half of the fourth to cut the lead to 8-4.
The Pirates were able to shut down the Mets' batters for the rest of the game. However, they were only able to plate one more run of their own, in the fifth inning.
Garrett Anderson took the loss, going three innings and giving up eight runs on eight hits. He struck out four and walked six.
Cody Sukalski came in for six innings and allowed no runs, gave up three hits, struck out three and walked one.
Schmidtke led the batters going 3 for 5 including a double. Five other Pirates had one hit each, including Stallman's double.