A Worthington walk-off
Just over a week after a near-complete-game effort from senior ace Logan Jahnke was upended by a seventh-inning rally from opposing bats at Fairgrounds Baseball Field, Blue Earth Area ensured on May 2 that it would get the hard-fought victory it deserved.
Even if it meant playing a little longer than usual.
Looking to avenge a 13-3 loss to Section 2AAA’s Worthington (8-3) from April 6, the Buccaneers got eight innings of two-run ball from Jahnke and three straight hits in Tuesday’s lone extra inning, including a walk-off single from junior outfielder Joe Schavey, to sneak past Worthington, 3-2.
“I’m so proud of them,” BEA coach Todd Schmidtke said of the maroon and gold. “That was a team win.”
The Bucs’ bottom-of-the-eighth surge, which arrived with fanfare from the home dugout and at a time when the Tuesday night clash crept closer to a third hour of play, began with a leadoff single from senior second baseman Chris Sanders.
A follow-up double from senior third baseman Jesus Quintero sent Sanders all the way home, where the latter’s dive at the plate just missed a Worthington tag and knotted the contest at 2-2.
And after a sacrifice bunt from junior shortstop Bobby Lindsey, it was Schavey whose base hit into the outfield brought Quintero home and the Bucs onto the diamond to celebrate.
“Everybody played a part,” Schmidtke said. “Somebody had to get on, somebody had to move them over Joe came through, Jesus came through, Chris Sanders got it started.”
BEA’s extra-inning rally capped an eight-hit evening for the team, which allowed just one earned run thanks to Jahnke’s work on the hill.
The Bucs’ senior hurler kept Worthington off the scoreboard until the seventh frame with eight strikeouts and a run-saving tag at the plate, when senior catcher Kaylan Legred underhanded a passed ball to stop a Worthington runner from stealing home.
A pair of doubles from the Trojans’ Tucker Sorenson and an error on BEA’s outfield scoop of a separate Worthington base hit gave the Bucs’ favored opponents a seventh-inning run, their first score of the day, and tied the game at 1-1.
But BEA’s bats came alive in the following inning to secure the win, its first against Worthington in more than a year and first in three games.
Contributing to the Bucs’ 3-2 decision were a pair of hits from both Legred and senior Zac Schonrock, who started at first base for the team on Tuesday. Junior designated hitter Trevor Oppedal also logged a single for BEA.
Shooting to get back to .500 with a Friday, May 5, matchup against St. James (4-6), the Buccaneers were next slated to partake in a varsity invitational at Windom’s Island Park, then return home for a 5:30 p.m. showdown with the Waseca Bluejays (1-8), rescheduled from a previous date to Monday, May 8.
A road trip to St. Peter was scheduled for the following day at 5:30 p.m.
New Ulm 8, BEA 1
Three multi-run innings from New Ulm (8-0) handed the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers (3-5) their second straight loss in an 8-1 decision on April 28, spoiling the return of senior Zac Schonrock to the mound and keeping the maroon and gold under two runs for the second time this season.
Center fielder Joe Schavey scored in the third frame of Friday night’s showdown, singling and then coming home after follow-up base knocks from Jared Kennedy and Kaylan Legred, but that was the only time the Bucs mustered a score vs. the Eagles.
Back-to-back one-two-three innings to start the game foreshadowed a quiet day for the Buc bats. Schavey ultimately went 3-for-3 from the seven hole, and five other BEA starters had base hits, but the run production was lacking in contrast to New Ulm’s offensive outing.
A leadoff walk from the Eagles’ Cooper Yackley set the tone for New Ulm, which led 2-0 by the end of the first and plated five more runs by the end of the fifth inning.
Schonrock, who had been unavailable to play for the Bucs the week before, lasted 1 1/3 innings as BEA’s starter on the hill, surrendering six hits, six earned runs and another unearned to go along with five walks.
Kennedy, a junior for the maroon and gold who has also started in the outfield, came on in relief of Schonrock to throw 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball. But by the time he slowed New Ulm’s offensive outpouring, the damage had been done.
Senior second baseman Chris Sanders, third baseman Jesus Quintero and designated hitter Trevor Oppedal were among those who logged hits for the Bucs, who had their April 25 game against Waseca postponed due to inclement weather.