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May 26, 2019

4/26/2019 10:20:00 AM
Clutch hitting and base running breaks propel Wildcats to victory

Chisago Lakes 4, Big Lake 3
With a combination of timely hitting, solid pitching and couple of lucky breaks on the basepaths, the Wildcat baseball team cobbled together a 4-3 win over the Big Lake Hornets Tuesday, April 16 at Big Lake.

With one out in the top of the first Augie Brown singled and stole second.  After Logan Bjorkman popped out, Zach Mueller singled to center to drive in Brown.  Owen Dresel was hit by a pitch to move Mueller to second.  Connor Bleymeyer singled to right to score Mueller and the Wildcats led 2-0.  The Hornets scratched out a run in the bottom of the inning to pull within one.

Bjorkman was hit by a pitch to lead off the top of the third.  Mueller singled to right and Bjorkman hustled all the way to third.  With an 0-1 count on Dresel, Mueller took off for second as the ball was delivered to the plate.  The catcher threw the ball back to the pitcher, so Big Lake was essentially letting Mueller take second.  But Mueller stopped three-fourths of the way to second for some reason.  The Hornet pitcher threw the ball to the shortstop, setting up a rundown.  Mueller headed to first and, as the shortstop threw the ball to the first baseman, Bjorkman took off from third and beat the throw home to score a run.  Wildcat head coach Jay Brown admitted that this was not a planned play.  “We just got lucky,” he said.

More baserunning luck followed the Wildcats in the top of the fifth.  Dylan Tashjian walked to lead off the inning and Brown sacrificed him to second.  The Wildcats had noticed that the Big Lake catcher sometimes lobbed the ball back to the pitcher and that might allow them to sneak an extra base now and then.  So, after the Hornet pitcher threw a first pitch strike to Bjorkman, Tashjian took off from second, anticipating the lob from the catcher.  Unfortunately, the catcher hung on to the ball as Tashjian raced toward third and it looked like Tashjian would be thrown out easily.  But the catcher’s inaccurate throw skipped past the third baseman into left field and Tashjian scored to put the Wildcats up 4-2.  Jay Brown said, “We got lucky again and everything worked out.”
It turns out that the run was critical for the Wildcats, as Big Lake scored in the bottom of the inning to cut the Wildcat lead to 4-3.  But relief pitcher Nathan Wasko and the Wildcat defense shut down the Hornets the last two innings and the Wildcats won 4-3.

Jacob Vangstad started for the Wildcats and picked up the win.  In four innings of worked, he allowed two earned runs on two hits, walked two, hit one and struck out one.  And in three innings of relief, Wasko allowed one earned run on two hits, walked one and struck out one to earn the save.  Jay Brown said “The recipe to succeed in high school baseball is to limit walks, play good, solid defense and get some timely hitting and we did all three of those in this game.  And our two lefties, Jake and Nate, threw strikes and when they did walk or plunk a guy, they got right back after it and limited the damage.”
Baseball Banter
The Wildcats (2-1) have had seven games postponed so far this season, including one game twice.  They will play five games in a five day stretch this week, starting with games played Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tonight, the Wildcats will host the Rogers Royals at Chisago Lakes High School at 4:30 p.m.  On Saturday, the Wildcats will welcome two visitors from the north.  The will play Cloquet at noon, followed by a game with Hermantown at 2:30 p.m.  And next Tuesday, April 30 the Wildcats will head to Monticello for a 4:30 p.m. clash with the Magic.

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