|8/7/2020 12:49:00 PM|
Bulldogs drop first game in playoffs, do or die on Saturday
Hinckley 4, Chisago Lakes 3
Aggressive baserunning by starting pitcher Hunter Lindstrom enabled the Bulldogs to tie their Region1C playoff game with the Hinckley Knights 3-3 in the top of the eighth inning. But a double into the left field corner by Hinckley’s TJ Johnson drove in a runner from first to give the Knights a 4-3 walkoff win. The win put Hinckley in the winner’s bracket and sent the Bulldogs to the loser’s bracket. The Bulldogs will face the Ramsey Renegades this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Hinckley in the double-elimination tournament, and the loser will be eliminated from the playoffs. The winner will go on to play Sunday at 11 a.m. All games in the Region 1C tournament will be played at Brennan Field in Hinckley this season.
The Knights jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and looked like they might break open the game with the bases still loaded and two outs. But the next batter popped out, keeping the score at 2-0. The Bulldogs cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the sixth. Tyler Stilp and Dusty Rhodes each walked with one out. Lindstrom followed with the Bulldogs’ first hit of the game, a single just inside the first base bag, scoring Stilp and sending Rhodes to third. But the Knights’ Johnson snuffed out the rally by striking out the next two batters to end the inning. The Knights got the run back in the bottom of the inning. With a runner on second and two outs, the Knights’ batter hit a routine grounder to short. But the ball got under the glove of shortstop Dusty Rhodes and trickled into left field, scoring the runner all the way from second to make the score 3-1. Lindstrom struck out the next batter to end the inning.
With two outs in the top of the eighth, Johnson walked Rhodes, Lindstrom, and Magnuson to load the bases. Hinckley brought in a relief pitcher. With a 1-1 count on Jeremy Knutson, the relief pitcher bounced a pitch in the dirt. It ticked the catcher’s glove and rolled about 40 feet to the right. Rhodes scored standing up from third. Lindstrom rounded third and stood halfway down the third base line, unnoticed. When the Hinckley catcher flipped the ball to the relief pitcher, who was by this point standing about 30 feet from home plate, Lindstrom took off for home. The pitcher quickly threw the ball back to the catcher, but Lindstrom slid under the tag and was called safe, tying the game at 3-3. Magnuson moved to third on the play. On the next pitch, Knutson popped out to end the inning. In the top of the ninth, after the first two batters struck out, Tanner Marquardt’s gave the Bulldogs some life with a bunt single. But Derrick Kluge struck out to end the inning. In the bottom of the ninth, after a one-out walk, an 0-2 pitch by Lindstrom caught a bit too much of the plate and Johnson laced the ball into the left field corner, scoring the runner from first standing up with the game-winning run.
Lindstrom threw his fourth straight complete game for the Bulldogs. In a great performance, he allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits, walked four, hit one batter and struck out nine. Johnson was dominant on the mound for the Knights. In 7 2/3 innings, he allowed just one hit – Lindstrom’s run-scoring single in the sixth – and struck out 17 batters. What knocked him out of the game in the eighth was his wildness – he walked seven batters, and hit one, in the game. In all, Hinckley pitchers struck out 20 Bulldogs on the day.