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Bucs start season with 9-8 loss

By Staff | Apr 29, 2018

Right-hander Hunter Bleess in action during Blue Earth Area’s 2018 season opener on Tuesday, April 24.

After an extended winter season with plenty of snowfall, the Blue Earth Area baseball team finally got a chance to play their first game of the 2018 season against the Waseca Bluejays on Tuesday, April 24.

Playing the ballgame in Winnebago, the Buccaneers unfortunately came up just one run short as they fell to the Bluejays by a final score of 9-8.

The Bucs were able to capitalize offensively with nine hits and 11 base on balls on their way to scoring nine runs. However, BEA was unable to overcome their miscues on defense. Their six errors in the field resulted in five unearned runs for Waseca. By comparison, the Bluejays committed just one error in the contest.

Despite the defensive struggles, Blue Earth Area enjoyed a prolific outing at the plate. Their most productive inning came in the fifth as 11 BEA batters stepped to the plate.

In that frame, senior first baseman Trevor Oppedal drove in a pair of runners on the strength of an RBI double. The three sport standout went 1-for-4 on the afternoon.

For the game, the Buccaneers’ consistency on offense resulted in seven BEA batters registering at least one hit. All ten players who recorded an at-bat reached base.

Like Oppedal, second baseman Bradyn Barnett also contributed on offense for Blue Earth Area. He was the lone BEA position player who recorded a multi-hit ballgame, going 2-for-4 which included two runs batted in.

Meanwhile, Buccaneer pitcher Hunter Bleess also went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. On the hill, Bleess pitched two innings, did not surrender an earned run, allowed one hit and struck out two Bluejay batters.

Other Buc offensive producers included catcher Karson Legred, who went 1-for-3 and drove in a pair of runs while hitting third in the Buccaneer lineup. This year, Legred will be tasked with the assignment of taking over catching duties this season, replacing older brother Kaylan, who now plays for the University of Minnesota in Duluth.

Shortstop and pitcher Bobby Lindsey tossed three innings for Blue Earth Area and recorded a strikeout. On offense, Lindsey went 0-for-3 in his first three plate appearances of the ballgame, but finally joined the Bucs hit parade with a single in the sixth inning.

Cleanup hitter and left field Jordan Huse was unable to record a hit in the contest, but contributed to BEA’s cause as his good eye at the plate drew three walks against Waseca pitching. Third baseman Koby Nagel also registered three base on balls, while pinch hitter Kyle Hagedorn recorded two for the maroon and gold.

Center fielder Joe Schavey singled in the sixth and also scored a run for the Buccaneers. Right fielder and pitcher Jared Kennedy singled in the third inning and also scored a run. Unfortunately for the Bucs, he also recorded the loss on the mound.

The performance was reminiscent of 2017 as four of the Buccaneers 13 losses last year were decided by a single run. During that campaign, Blue Earth Area finished with a regular season record of 9-13.

Despite the loss, BEA head coach Todd Schmidtke was encouraged with the competitiveness his team continues to show.

“These kids are good teammates and they love baseball, so they’re going to work hard and be very coachable,” Schmidtke says. “That’s the main thing for high school baseball.”

Early in the season, the 26-year Buc skipper believes his team has the necessary pieces to continue competing at a high level.

“Jordan Huse is a good hitter and Joe Schavey is really good for us in center field,” Schmidtke says. “We’ve got good players coming back, it’s just a matter of whether or not we can gel and play well together.”

For Waseca, three batters enjoyed multi-hit games. Among them, right fielder Alex Feeney went 3-for-4 and scored a total of three runs against Blue Earth Area.

On Friday, April 27, the Bucs were in Winnebago for their showdown against New Ulm. Results of this game will be available in next week’s edition of the Faribault County Register.