May 31, 2007 at 8:01 a.m.
Dan Kaiser pitched a complete game, allowing just five hits and one unearned run, as the Wildcats beat section rival Forest Lake 6-1 at Forest Lake Tuesday, May 22.
The Wildcats got on the board in the third inning. Tommy Fitzer's bunt went about 10 feet down the third base line and the speedy Fitzer beat it out for a single. Fitzer took second on a wild pitch and, one out later, Jeff Hollister reached on an error. Dan Kaiser then hit a one-hopper back to the pitcher. The pitcher threw to second to force Hollister. But, Hollister's take-out slide prevented the shortstop from completing what looked like an easy double play and Fitzer scored to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
The Rangers threatened in the bottom of the third, but the Wildcat defense came up with some big plays. A double and a sacrifice bunt put a Ranger at third with one out. The next batter hit a hard grounder to first. Wildcat first baseman Adam Gemuenden threw home to nail the runner and keep the Rangers off the board. A wild pitch allowed the Ranger baserunner to reach second. The next batter singled to left. Left fielder Hollister scooped up the ball and fired a strike to catcher Eric Reed, easily beating the Forest Lake runner trying to score from second. The runner came in standing up and ran into Reed. Reed held firm, the runner was called out and was tossed out of the game for not sliding.
The Wildcats added two more runs in the fifth. Andy Slagle and Bob LeVasseur singled and Adam Gemuenden got hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Hollister then hit what looked like a double play ball to second. The Rangers got the force at second, but the shortstop's throw sailed wide of first, allowing Slagle and LeVasseur to score and put the Wildcats up 3-0.
In the sixth, Eric Reed walked, went to second on Mike Welle's groundout to the right side and scored on Ryan Rivard's single to right to make it 4-0.
The Rangers nearly got on the board in the fifth. With the bases loaded and two out, the 2-0 pitch got by Reed and rolled to the backstop. The runner tried to score from third. Reed quickly chased down the ball, turned and fired a low strike to Kaiser, covering home. Kaiser put the tag on the Ranger runner to end the inning.
The Rangers' biggest threat came in the bottom of the sixth. A single, an error and a walk loaded the bases with one out. The next batter ripped a line drive right at center fielder David Willhite for the second out. A walk forced in a run, but Kaiser got the next batter to fly harmlessly to center field to end the Ranger threat.
The Wildcats added two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh. Hollister walked, stole second and went to third on Kaiser's groundout to the right side. Reed walked and stole second. Both runners scored on Mike Welle's single to left to put the Wildcats up 6-1. The Rangers led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, but a strikeout and two fly outs ended the game, leaving the final score at Chisago Lakes 6, Forest Lake 1.
Willhite had a busy day out in center, recording six putouts including a running, over-the-shoulder catch in the deepest part of center field in the fourth inning.
"I'm proud of our guys for doing the little things right today," said Wildcat head coach Pat Collins. "They played well and intelligently. Throwing three guys out at the plate certainly helped. And we got a very nice game from Danny Kaiser on the mound."