The United South Central Rebels remain unbeaten in the Gopher Conference after an 8-2 win over Faribault Bethlehem Academy on Monday night at Bell Field.

Sophomore lefty Kyle Kohl allowed just one run heading into the top of the sixth inning and had no run support until that point.

The only run for the Rebels in the top of the fourth inning came when the lead-off man in the inning was hit by a pitch and would later score on an error by Kohl. The runner was at third base and a pitch was hit back to Kohl. It looked to be a routine ground ball and appeared the runner broke from third on contact and would have easily been thrown out with a good throw home. However, Kohl could not handle the ball cleanly and the Rebels were up 1-0.

The inning could have resulted in more runs for United South Central but ended with a bunt landing right in front of home plate. Cardinal catcher Zach Van Thomme pounced on it and threw the batter out at first and first baseman Dusty Dienst quickly threw the ball back home and got the runner trying to score.

The Cardinals should have had the lead in the first inning.

Dienst opened the bottom of the inning with a double and stole third base. With one out, No. 3 hitter Josh Oathoudt hit a lazy fly ball into foul territory down the left field line that was easily caught. I didn't think it was hit deep enough to score Dienst, but he tried scoring and was thrown out by at least three feet to end the inning.

The Rebels opened the sixth inning with back-to-back singles and, after a strikeout, the No. 7 hitter was walked.

The next batter hit the ball back to the pitcher and again the Rebels evidently had the contact play on with the runner at third flying home and being easily thrown out by Kohl for the second out.

A sharply hit ball to third base was fielded and instead of stepping on the third base bag to end the inning, he elected to throw to first and the ball was thrown wide, allowing two runs to score.

Kohl gave way to Dienst on the mound for the final two batters of the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, Bethlehem Academy halved the lead.

Dienst cracked his third hit of the game to lead off the inning. Catcher Van Thomme also cracked a single.

During the No. 3 hitter Josh Oathoudt's at-bat, the Cardinals took everyone by surprise when they had a double steal down 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning. It was executed and put two runners in scoring position.

The first run scored on a hard hit ball off the bat of Brendan Trump.

United South Central freshman shortstop AJ Kloos did a great job knocking the ball down, allowing just one run to score. A second run would have scored for sure had the freshman not fielded the ball.

Kyle Kohl hit a single, scoring Van Thomme, which cut the lead to 4-2.

In the top of the seventh, Dienst opened the inning with a walk of the Rebels' No. 2 hitter, who had not been on base at all during the game. That hitter was freshman catcher Zach Niebuhr. He then stole second base and scored on a Mitch Harpestad single.

Cleanup hitter Jacob Stevermer laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, advancing Harpestad into scoring position.

An error allowed one run to score and, after a single to load the bases, a balk was ruled to give the Rebels an 8-2 lead.

The Cardinals started the bottom of the seventh with a ground out and eighth-grader JJ Malecha was brought in to hit for Jack Clark. Clark had been 0-2, with the only strikeout against United South Central starting pitcher Ryan Kloos.

Malecha coaxed a walk and Clark went to first base to run for himself. With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Clark was thrown out trying to steal second base.

Dienst was walked and was erased from the bases for the third and final out of the inning and game on a force-out at second base.

United South Central scored eight runs on eight hits and did not commit an error while stranding nine guys on base, six in scoring position.

Bethlehem Academy scored two runs on eight hits, committed four errors and left six runners, two in scoring position.

Kohl threw 76 pitches in 5-1/3 innings, 52 for strikes, while striking out four batters and walking two. He also hit two batters and had two balks called.

Dienst ended the game with 48 pitches thrown, 28 strikes in an inning and two thirds work. He fanned two batters, walked three and was called for a balk with the bases loaded.

Rebels winning pitcher Ryan Kloos threw 98 pitches, 71 for strikes, and struck out one batter while walking two. He appeared to tire a bit in the sixth and seventh.

Going into the bottom of the sixth, he had 11 first-pitch strikes of the 14 batters he faced. In the sixth and seventh, Kloos threw to 11 batters and six first-pitch strikes were thrown.

In my opinion, that was one of the key stats in the game for Bethlehem Academy pitchers.

Kohl threw to 26 batters with only 13 first-pitch strikes and Dienst finished the game by throwing four of 12 first-pitch strikes.

Our Faribault State Farm Insurance agents Faribault players of the game were Dienst, Kohl and Luke Donkers. Kohl pitched much better than the score would indicate and had an RBI single. Dienst was on base all four times he was up, including three hits, a double and a run scored, and Donkers had two hits in the game.

The Cardinals are now 2-4 overall and 2-2 in the Gopher Conference while United South Central has a 4-1 overall record and is 3-0 in league play.

The Cardinals' next action is Saturday when Maple River comes to Bell Field for a doubleheader that starts at 10AM.

My view from Bell Field media box-photo by Gordy Kosfeld
My view from Bell Field media box-photo by Gordy Kosfeld




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