Defense was the difference in a Cannon Falls Bombers 8-3 win over Kenyon-Wanamingo on Tuesday night.

The game in Wanamingo was played in blustery conditions.

Knights pitchers issued six walks in the game and five of them scored. Four Kenyon-Wanamingo errors were also a factor in the Hiawatha Valley League Blue Division showdown.

Seniors Andrew Egge for Cannon Falls and Matthew Houglum for Kenyon-Wanamingo were the starting pitchers and both threw 104 pitches in the game. Egge got the win and worked six innings and Houglum took the loss going 5 2/3 innings.

Egge walked two and struck out four while scattering four hits. Houglum fanned six batters and walked five. He also hit two batters and gave up four hits.

The Knights started the bottom of the seventh with a lead-off single by senior left fielder Carter Leninger. Leninger advanced to second on a hit and run ground ball hit to third off the bat of senior catcher Dylan Craig.

Houglum smacked the ball to third base and junior Cody Miller bobbled the ball not once but twice. Leninger hesitated in heading to third and went too far initially, but on the second bobble looked like he could make it back to second but saw Houglum heading there and tried to get to third but was out for the second out of the inning. So instead of runners at first and second with one out there was a runner at second with two outs and the inning ended in a strikeout.

Kenyon-Wanamingo took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second when speedy senior centerfielder Calvin Steberg got on base after being hit by a pitch with one out. He was wild pitched to second base and scored on a single by No. 8 hitter senior Mitch Boyum.

No. 9 batter sophomore Micah Johnson crushed an elevated fast ball to the left center gap, and it looked it would be for extra bases and score another run, but Bomber senior Elliott Boman made an outstanding catch to end the inning.

In the bottom of the third, the Knights had another rally going with a one-out error getting senior catcher Dylan Craig on base.

Houglum hit a single and then there was a balk, advancing the runners to second and third with one out.

Sophomore Tyler Ryan hit a ball to short, who flipped to second, but the out was not recorded, resulting in bases loaded.

Junior second baseman Jack Beulke hammered a ball that looked like it was going to make through the infield and give Kenyon-Wanamingo the lead but Bomber shortstop Chase Reber lunged forward to catch the grounder, step on second base and relay to first for an inning-ending double play.

In the top of the fourth, Egge was walked with one out and junior Isaac Banks went in to run for him at first base. After a pop out, junior Cody Miller connected for a single.

A ball hit to the pitcher off the bat of Bomber sophomore shortstop Chase Reber ended up an error, tying the game. Two more unearned runs would score on a two-RBI single by No. 9 hitter junior Gage Hildebrandt.

In the bottom of the fourth, Calvin Steberg and Peyton Hilke coaxed back-to-back walks to start the Knights' half of the inning.

After back-to-back strikeouts, Leninger cranked a two-RBI double and the game was tied at three.

In the top of the fifth, Bomber second baseman Liam Franken started the inning with a single and would score to get the lead back for Cannon Falls. The Bombers would add four runs in the sixth thanks to four walks and an error.

After back-to-back walks in the bottom of the fourth, Egge had a visit from Cannon Falls pitching coach Keith Meyers. He told me after the game he simply told the senior to throw strikes and not try to toss the perfect pitch. It must've worked because he struck out the next two batters before Leninger's two-out single would be the last hit of the game for the Knights.

Egge recorded his only up and down in order inning in the fifth on six pitches. Reber pitched the seventh for Cannon Falls.

After Houglum, Ryan pitched to five batters in the 10-batter sixth inning and senior Peyton Hilke recorded the final three outs in the seventh.

It's interesting to point out that of the Bombers' eight runs, five of them were scored by guys who had walks to get on base and three of the Knights' four errors resulted directly in scoring runs.

Cannon Falls had two errors in my scorebook and no runs scored as a result.

The three runs scored by Kenyon-Wanamingo however were a hit batsman and two walks.

Our Sviggum Insurance Agency Knights of the game were Leninger and Steberg. Leninger had the great catch in left field, collected two hits and two RBI and Steberg scored two of the Knights' three runs.

The Held Bus Service of Kenyon play of the game was a tie of a couple of defensive gems -- the Leninger catch for the Knights and the Reber play to end the third with no runs scored.

Cannon Falls is now 4-1 overall and 4-1 in the conference and Kenyon-Wanamingo dropped their second straight to fall to 1-2 in the HVL and 3-2 overall.

My View from Media Box in Wanamingo-photo by Gordy Kosfeld