Pirates win 8-0, advance
Aaron Wendt and Lee Hodges combined to pitch a five-hit shutout and the Pirates scored eight runs to defeat Lake Crystal in 13-60 League playoff action on Aug. 1 in Blue Earth.
Lake Crystal’s pitcher, Drew Madsen, faced the minimum number of batters through the first three innings.
However, that streak didn’t last. The Pirates broke through for three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring all the runs they would need.
In the fourth, Cody Sukalski reached first base on an error and advanced to second on a errant pick-off attempt.
Trent Sonnicksen laid down a bunt single which put runners on the corners with nobody out.
T.J. Schmidtke connected for a single to plate Sukalski with the Pirates’ first run and advance Sonnicksen to third.
Aaron Wendt’s RBI single made it 2-0 with Schmidtke taking third.
Kane Malo hit a sacrifice fly to bring Schmidtke home and make it 3-0.
Wendt pitched the first five innings in the sweltering heat with temperatures in the upper 80s and high humidity.
He gave up one hit, while recording four strike outs and two walks.
Wendt was aided in the field by some stellar defensive plays – most notably two diving catches by the right fielder, Sukalski.
Sukalski raced to his left to track down one hard-hit liner. Later he would charge in from his right field position to make a diving catch on a ball that got lost in the sun by the second baseman.
Wendt also helped himself in the top of the fifth inning. The lefty got off the mound in a hurry to field a well-placed bunt towards the third base line and fired the ball to first to get the out.
Hodges pitched the final four innings and yielded four hits and one walk, while striking out two batters.
The Pirates other big inning came in the bottom of the seventh, scoring five runs while sending nine men to the plate.
Malo started the inning by drawing a walk. Hodges singled to move Malo to third. Garrett Anderson hit into a fielder’s choice, forcing Hodges at second base and scoring Malo.
John Franta gained first base when he was hit by a pitch. Mat Willner followed with a double to the right center gap, driving in Anderson with Franta taking third.
Sonnicksen followed with another double to score both Franta and Willner. Schmidtke got his second hit of the day to drive in Sonnicksen and make it 8-0 and close out the scoring for the afternoon.
The victory gives the Pirates a 21-6 record overall and the regular season and league playoff titles.
They now advanced to play in the Region 4C playoffs at Waterville. The first game was set for Aug. 7 against New Richland at 1 p.m.
If they won the Saturday game, they were scheduled to play at 4 p.m. on Sunday. A loss put their next game at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The results of these games will appear in next week’s Faribault County Register.