Pirates claim 9th state bid
For the ninth consecutive year, the Blue Earth Pirates are heading to the amateur state baseball tournament.
Wins over Lonsdale and New Prague catapulted Blue Earth to the Region 4C championship title and their typical state tournament birth.
New Prague 0
Aaron Wendt threw eight innings of shutout baseball to lead the Pirates to the Region 4C title. The hard throwing left-hander struck out nine New Prague batters while surrendering four hits and one walk.
In the first inning, Cody Sukalski set the tone for the Pirates doubling to leadoff the game. The center fielder later scored on a Bobby Olson groundout to second.
In the second inning, the Pirates took advantage of a Kane Malo walk to score run number two.
After reaching on the free pass, Kane Malo, stole second base arriving in scoring position. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Justin Schaible set up a Trent Sonnicksen RBI bunt single, bringing in Malo.
After scoring single runs in the first two innings, the Pirate bats remained dormant until a two run fifth. Two costly New Prague errors set up Blue Earth for the multiple run frame. Sonnicksen reached base on an error from the second baseman and Sukalski reached after an error by the shortstop that eventually scored Sonnicksen. T.J. Schmidtke singled next to drive in Sukalski.
The Pirates were scoreless in the sixth inning, but exploded for a four-run seventh.
Sukalski got things started with a solo home run. Schmidtke doubled after the home run and was later driven in by a Lee Hodges single. Hodges eventually scored on a Schaible sacrifice.
With the victory, the Pirates improved their record to 27-8 overall.
Pirates 10, Lonsdale 5
Two home runs during a five-run fifth inning propelled the Pirates to a 10-5 victory over Lonsdale last Saturday.
Hodges and Malo went deep in the Pirates big inning after a slow start for the team in blue and silver.
Lonsdale took advantage of a two-run first inning to capture an early lead. Hodges struggled early from the mound surrendering two singles and a double.
The Pirates earned a run back in the second when Jon Traetow hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Malo who reached base earlier on a single.
Sukalski led off the third inning with a double and was later driven in by teammate Bobby Olson on a double of his own to tie the score at two runs apiece.
The tie ball game was shortlived when in the next half inning, Lonsdale plated another run to go up 3-2. The Aces scored on a Kevin Kalina RBI double.
The Pirates made their move in the fifth inning scoring five runs on five hits.
Sonnicksen got things underway for the Pirates with a single. Sukalski followed with a ground out to second moving up the Pirate runner. With Sonnicksen in scoring position, the first of five runs was brought in on a Schmidtke single. Olson then hammered an RBI double and set up the major blow of the inning.
Hodges stepped up to the batters box and cleared the fence for a decisive two-run homer. After a fly-out by T.J. Stallman, Malo hit a solo home run for Blue Earth’s final run of the inning.
After the outburst in the fifth, Blue Earth and Lonsdale traded runs to reach the final score of 10-5.
Blue Earth scored two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh and Lonsdale scored two in the eighth to round out the scoring. The Pirates final run in the seventh came off of a Traetow homer.
Hodges went the distance for the Pirates, despite allowing five earned runs and eleven hits. The pitcher was able to work out of jams by striking out 10 Lonsdale batters while only walking two.
The Pirates will now focus their attention on the Class C State Tournament. The Pirates’ first round showdown against Nisswa took place Saturday after the Register’s deadline. The game was played in Brownton with the winner advancing to the second round on Aug. 26.