Faribault Lakers End Stewartville-Racine Season
Faribault Lakers ace Matt Lane allowed three hits and struck out nine in a 2-0 win over the Stewartville-Racine Sharks to open the Class C State Amateur Baseball Tournament Sunday. The game took just an hour and 46 minutes at Joe Schleper Stadium in Shakopee. The Lakers left 9 runners on base, 7 in scoring position but the Sharks couldn't figure out Lane.
Lane walked the first batter to start the game but after he stole second the veteran right handed pitcher locked in to retire the next three batters. He was also assisted by two 6-4-3 double plays after a lead-off single in the fourth and lead-off walk in the sixth inning. Lane threw 98 total pitches, 71 strikes and was 22 of 31 first pitch strikes. He improved his record to 6-2 this season.
The Lakers had a chance to score in the bottom of the first inning. Blake Langerud started the game with a single to left field. He was sacrificed to second by designated hitter Mitch Johnson. With two outs Lane crushed the ball toward the second base hole and the first baseman got a glove on it but it hit off his glove to shallow right field and the official scorer gave Lane a hit on the play. During the Ryan Archambault at bat Lane jogged to second base because Sharks pitcher Tyler Schmitz wasn't paying any attention to him.
Unfortunately the Lakers couldn't make them pay and Lane and Langerud were stranded at second and third base.
In the second inning Jack Helgeson poked an outside corner pitch to right field to open the inning. With one out Dylan Valentyn smacked a single to right field and Helgeson gained third base. Number nine hitter Porter Sartor had a swinging bunt that was fielded by the pitcher who threw to first and hit Sartor in the back. Helgeson scored on the error. Sartor was at second base and Valentyn at third with one out. A pop out and ground out ended the Faribault threat.
The Lakers other run came in the fifth inning. With one out Mitch Johnson stroked a single, Joey Grote was hit by a pitch. Lane hit a tailor made double play ball to shortstop and he juggled the ball the entire way to the second base bag and dropped it. The umpire called Grote out at second. It appeared to me and everybody I talked to after the game that bases should have been loaded with one out.
After Faribault Manager Charlie Lechtenberg went out to ask the umpire how he could call Grote out when the shortstop bobbled the ball the entire time, Archambault jumped on the first pitch he saw and laced a single to right center scoring Johnson.
Those were all the runs the Lakers would need.
Faribault had 9 hits and no errors in the game. Stewartville-Racine left 4 runners on base, 3 in scoring position.
Our Faribault State Farm Insurance agents Faribault players of the game were Lane, Johnson with two hits and a run scored, Jack Helgeson with a single and run scored and Valentyn with a pair of hits.
Stewartville-Racine ended their season 17-9. Schmitz fell to 8-3 while striking out 7 and walking none. He hit a batter and threw 112 pitches, 80 strikes.
The Lakers, now 20-15 play Mora next Sunday at 5:00 p.m. in New Prague. The game will be on POWER 96 Radio, 95.9 FM. The Blue Devils are the Section 1 Champion with a record of 22-7.