The Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms led nearly the entire game but it's the final score that counts.

The Bethlehem Academy Cardinals scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh to finish a 7-6 walk-off win at Bell Field in Faribault on Monday night.

Senior Hunter Dienst started the game on the hill for the Cardinals and went the first four innings. He threw 89 pitches, 48 were strikes. Dienst struck out five batters, walked four and allowed five hits. He gave up four runs, three were earned.

The game did not start well for Bethlehem Academy. Junior left fielder Max Romeo smacked a 1-0 pitch to left center field for a double and took third base when the relay was thrown well toward the outfield side of third.

After a ground out, the Cardinals had a throwing error followed by a fielding error and it was 1-0 Blooming Prairie. Dienst struck out the last two batters he faced in the first inning, one swinging and one looking.

In the bottom of the first, the Cardinals got lead-off batter Deinst on base thanks to an error but could not get a timely hit and left him at third base to end the inning.

In the top of the second after a groundout, junior Blooming Prairie second baseman Ethan Arett stroked a double to left center. After a walk and a fielder's choice, junior shortstop Seth Peterson walked to load the bases. Cleanup hitter and starting pitcher for the Awesome Blossoms Brad Staska knocked two runs in and sophomore third baseman Payton Simon had an RBI single. Blooming Praire was up 4-0 after two innings on the Faribault Interiors scoreboard.

The Cardinals had the next scoring in the bottom of the third when No. 9 hitter, catcher Josh Oathoudt, smacked a double. He would eventually score the first run of the game on a wild pitch.

Bethlehem Academy scored a run in the fifth when Avery Hunt led off the inning with a single and stole second base. He would go to third on an error and scored on a sacrifice fly by Dienst.

In the top of the sixth inning, the Awesome Blossoms got the lead-off man on with a single. It was Staska's third hit of the game. Staska went the first six innings and threw 101 pitches, 58 strikes, allowing five hits and three runs. He struck out four batters and walked two.

Sophomore Colin Lerum was Staska's courtesy runner and he went to second on a passed ball, then went to third on a wild pitch. Lerum scored on a throwing error. After a pop out to the catcher, senior right fielder Camden Heimerman was walked and he would eventually score on another Cardinal error.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Luke Donkers quickly turned on a fastball and smacked it high off the elevated fence in left field for a standup double.

Jack Clark followed with a single to put runners on the corners and Donkers would score on a fielder's choice to make it 6-3 going into the seventh.

The top of the seventh was the easiest for the Cardinals in the field with just one walk issued and four batters facing Zach Van Thomme. Van Thomme came in the fifth inning and ended up with the win on the mound for Bethlehem Academy. He struck out three, walked five and allowed just one hit. Van Thomme threw 75 pitches in his three innings of work, 30 for strikes.

Staska had 101 pitches through six innings, so he did not go back to the mound in the bottom of the seventh. Staska threw 58 strikes and fanned four batters while walking two. He allowed five hits.

Senior Connor Getchell started the inning and could not throw a strike. He walked a batter and then hit the next two batters to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Dienst to score the Cardinals' fourth run.

Blooming Prairie head coach Matt Kittelson then lifted Getchell, bringing in sophomore shortstop Seth Peterson. Getchell started the game in center field and took over at short.

Donkers was the first batter Peterson faced and he crushed his second double to knock in two runs and tie the game. Both of his doubles came on 1-2 counts.

After a strikeout, another walk was issued and freshman Jack Jandro hit a fly ball to center, but not deep enough to score Donkers from third.

Avery Hunt hit the ball to short and an error ended the game with the Cardinals winning in walk-off fashion. It was their only lead of the game.

Our Faribault State Farm Insurance agents Faribault players of the game were Donkers, Van Thomme and freshman catcher Josh Oathoudt, who blocked a number of balls and saved some runs in the game. Oathoudt also had a lead-off double in the third inning and scored on a wild pitch.

Blooming Prairie left 14 runners on base, 10 in scoring position. In fact, they had the bases loaded in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and did not score.

Bethlehem Academy is now 3-6 overall and 3-4 in the Gopher Conference and Blooming Prairie fell to 1-5 overall and 1-4 in the league.

The Awesome Blossoms play Lyle/Pacelli in Austin on Saturday morning at 10 and the Cardinals travel to New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva on Thursday.

Cardinals Taking Infield at Bell Field April 24, 2017- photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Cardinals Taking Infield at Bell Field April 24, 2017- photo by Gordy Kosfeld



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