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Bucs open season with win

By Staff | Apr 7, 2019

Caelan Sanders raises a cloud of dust as he slides safely into third base. He would later cross home plate with the Buc’s first run of the game. Three pitchers, Keegan O’Brien, Koby Nagel and Hunter Bleess combined to hurl BEA to victory in their opening contest of the season.

Blue Earth Area opened the baseball season with a 10-9 victory over the Maple River Eagles in a game played at Minnesota Lake on April 2.

The Eagles had the tying run on third base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning but BEA pitcher Hunter Bleess put an end to the threat by recording a strikeout to end the game.

Three walks, three Maple River errors and a single by Koby Nagel enabled the Bucs to take a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning.

Two singles gave the Eagles runners at the corners to open their half of the first inning. They pushed one run across the plate on a ground ball out to make it 4-1 in favor of the Bucs after one inning of play.

Gavin Storbeck walked, Keegan O’Brien reached on an error and Luke Mertens had an infield hit to load the bases for the Bucs in the top of the third inning. Luke Carr delivered an RBI single to plate Storbeck. Following a force out of O’Brien at home, Braden Barnett hit a grounder resulting in an out at second base but allowing Mertens to score from third to put BEA on top 6-1.

The Eagles scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning and were threatening to add more before Nagel relieved O’Brien on the pitchers mound and recorded two strikeouts to end the inning.

BEA picked up another run in the top of the fourth inning. Nagel had a lead-off single and advanced to second on an errant pick-off attempt. Nagel moved to third on a groundout to the shortstop and scored on a wild pitch. The Bucs lead was now 7-4.

Maple River got one run back in the bottom of the fourth on a bases-loaded walk to make the score 7-5 with the Bucs on top.

Mertens led off the top of the fifth with a double over the left-fielder’s head. Carr walked and Caelan Sanders hit a bunt single to load the bases. Barnett delivered a sacrifice fly to score Mertens. Carr was thrown out at home but the Bucs scored another run when Bleess delivered a single to score Sanders and give the Bucs a 9-5 lead.

BEA added their final run in the top of the sixth inning. Storbeck walked, stole second and scored when Mertens hit a grounder to the second baseman who misplayed the ball into right field.

Two walks and a bases-clearing double gave the Eagles two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to make it a 10-7 ballgame in favor of the Bucs.

The bottom of the seventh inning started with the Bucs recording two consecutive outs. Two errors and a double allowed the Eagles to score two runs before Bleess recorded the final strikeout to end the game.

“It was the first game of the season and both teams had some problems,” Buc’s coach Todd Schmidtke observed. “I was happy the way our guys stuck together as a team and were able to get the win.”

Although it was a non-conference game, it was an important win as Maple River and the Buccaneers are in the same section.

The Bucs scored 10 runs on eight hits and had three errors. The Eagles had nine runs on seven hits and recorded six errors.

Nagel gets the win for the Bucs while Bleess picks up the save.