May 7, 2009 at 8:21 a.m.
The Wildcat baseball team left 14 runners on base, allowing Totino Grace to take advantage of two unearned runs and a two-run homer to beat the de-fanged felines 4-2 last Wednesday, April 2 at Chisago Lakes. The Wildcats loaded the bases in the first, second and fifth innings but came up empty-handed each time. Quinn Collins and Tyler Henderson drove in the runs for the Wildcats in a two-run fourth inning.
The Wildcats handed the game's first run to the Eagles on a silver platter. The second batter of the game reached on a one-out error and went to second on an errant pickoff attempt. The next batter singled to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. After a leadoff single in the third, the Wildcats got the next two outs. But an 0-2 pitch to the number seven hitter caught a little too much of the plate, and he blasted it over the left field fence to put the Wildcats in a 3-0 hole.
The Wildcats finally got on the scoreboard in the fourth. Andy Willhite doubled with two outs, stole third and scored on a single by Collins. Reed walked and Tyler Henderson followed with a single to score Collins and cut the Eagle lead to 3-2.
The Eagles added an insurance run in the sixth without the benefit of a hit. A walk, a sacrifice bunt and another walk put runners on first and second with one out. The next batter hit what looked like an inning ending double-play ball, but an error allowed the batter to reach safely. The lead runner scored all the way from second on the play. The Wildcats stranded three runners in the last two innings to complete a frustrating 4-2 loss.
Henderson had three hits for the Wildcts and Reed pitched a complete game, allowing eight hits and five walks while striking out five
"We needed some timely this and some intelligent plays to give ourselves a chance to win," said Wildcat head coach Pt Collins. "But we didn't get either one. They took advantage of a mistake on an 0-2 pitch for a home run, but Joey pitched well enough to win."
Chisago Lakes 3, Spring Lake Park 2 (8 innings)
Three separate story lines emerged from the Wildcats' game at Spring Lake Park this past Monday, May 4, and the Wildcats needed the fruits of all three to beat the Panthers 3-2 n eight innings. Joey Reed, Quinn Collins and Cody Bergquist each deserve a headline for helping the Wildcats to a win.
Reed scored two of the Wildcat runs, drove in the other one and pitched two shutout innings to get the win. Collins relieved struggling starting pitcher Travis Ongstad in the second inning and baffled the Panthers with his wide assortment of pitches through the sixth inning to keep the game tight. And Bergquist made up for a critical fielding error and two strikeouts looking by turning two big double plays and knocking in the winning run with a suicide squeeze in the top of the eighth.
The Wildcats got on the board in the top of the first as Reed walked with two outs, stole second and scored on Tyler Henderson's single. The Panthers answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning to knot the game at 1-1.
In the second, Ongstad walked the first two batters and the Wildcats brought in versatile reliever Collins to settle things down. Before throwing his first pitch, Collins whirled and picked the runner off second to take some teeth out of the Panther threat. The next two batters grounded out, keeping the game tied at 1-1.
The Wildcats handed the go-ahead run to the Panthers in the third innings. After a leadoff single, Collins struck out the next two batters, with catcher Tyler Henderson hanging on to a foul tip for the second strikeout. The inning appeared to be over when the next batter grounded to short, but Bergquist looked up too early and booted the grounder, putting runners on first and third. The Panthers then tried a delayed double steal. The runner on first got caught in a rundown, but the Wildcats made a crucial mistake as they let the runner on third score before they tagged out the runner from first.
The Wildcats tied it up in the top of the fifth. Andy Willhite was hit by a pitch with one out and made it to third on two wild pitches. Collins walked, and Reed drilled a sharp single to right to score Willhite to make the score 2-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, an error allowed a Panther batter to reach first base with one out. The next batter hit a ground ball up the middle. Bergquist pounced on it, stepped on second and fired to first to complete the double play. In the seventh, the first Panther batter walked, but Henderson threw him out trying to steal second. The next batter walked. But Reed sturck out thenext batter and pounced on a bunt and threw the batter out at first to end the Panther threat.
Reed ripped a single to center to open the top of the eighth. Reed stole second on a delayed steal. Henderson flew out to shallow right, but Brian Eichten's infield single moved Reed to third. On the second pitch to Bergquist, the squeeze was on. Reed took off from third, and Bergquist bunted the ball right through the pitcher's legs. The Panthers had no chance to get Reed, who crossed the plate to put the Wildcats up 3-2.
A Panther walked with one out in the bottom of the eight. Kathy Reed, one of six Wildcat fans to attend the game, suggested that a double play would be a nice way to end it. Sure enough, the next batter hit a one-hopper back to Joey Reed. Reed whirled and threw to Bergquist at second, and Bergquist fired the ball to first to nip the speedy batter for a double play to end the game and give the Wildcats a big 3-2 win.
"Joey came in to pitch the last two innings and got the win," said Collins. "He's a big time player who we can count on when we're in trouble. Quinn and Joey seem to keep us in every game. Quinn has a great pickoff move and doesn't make a lot of mistakes on the mound. He has a lot of baseball moxie. It's fun to kind of sit back and enjoy watching him manage the game on the mound. As a team, we're 6-5 and have not hit the ball well yet and haven't had a good defensive game yet. But I think we're a good team that can go places once we start to hit the ball a little bit better."
The Wildcats were scheduled to host a doubleheader with St. Francis yesterday. Tomorrow, Friday May, 8, they'll head to Columbia Heights for a 4:30 tilt with the Hylanders. The Wildcats will return home next Monday, May 11 to take on St. Louis Park at 4:30, then head to New Hope to play Robbinsdale Cooper at 4:30 on Wednesday, May 13.
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