July 3, 2019 at 12:14 p.m.
Playing against the Rum River Bandits on Wednesday, June 26, the Bulldogs struggled in the field and on the pitching rubber. Leading 9-4 going into the bottom of the seventh, Rum River scored five run to take a 14-4 lead and the game was called because of the ten-run rule. Even though it was a home game for Rum River, the game was played at Chisago Lakes because Rum River was not able to get either of their home field for the game.
Right fielder Kevin Fairbanks, who was released recently by North Branch, made a good impression in his Bulldog debut, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Dusty Rhodes and Jake Wallraff had each had two hits and drove in a run.
Hibbing 21, Chisago Lakes 16
Last Friday at Chisago Lakes High School, the Bulldogs and Hibbing played what can only be described as a long, strange, ugly game. Near the end, both teams essentially ran out of pitching. The Bulldogs trailed 11-4 entering the bottom of the eighth. They proceeded to score 12 runs on five hits, six walks, three errors and a hit batter to take a 16-11 lead. But they returned the favor in the top of the ninth. Hibbing scored 10 runs on three hits, six walks, one error and two hit batters to take a 21-16 lead. In the bottom of the ninth, Hibbing – who only had nine players – used a pitcher who they had wanted to completely save for the three games they had remaining the rest of the weekend. He allowed a one out walk, but retired the next two batters to preserve the win.
For the game, the teams combined for 26 hits, 27 walks, seven hit batters and 12 wild pitches. The game took four hours to complete. Kellen Reed led the Bulldogs with three hits and six runs driven in. Jeremy Knutson, Dusty Rhodes, Tyler Stilp and Kevin Fairbanks had two hits apiece. Fairbanks drove in three runs and Rhodes drove in two.
Hinckley 8, Chisago Lakes 7
The Bulldog offense exploded for 19 hits at Hinckley last Saturday night, but left 17 runners on base due to a lack of clutch hitting and a couple of baserunning gaffes and fell to the Knights 8-7. Jacob Mickelson started and pitched six solid innings for the Bulldogs. He allowed seven runs (only four earned) on nine hits and walked two. Adam Hanson, pitching for the first time this season, allowed one earned run in two innings of relief and took the loss. He didn’t allow a hit, but walked two.
The Bulldogs trailed 4-3 going into the sixth inning Dusty Rhodes and Tyler Stilp singled with no outs to put runners on first and second. Kevin Fairbanks reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases. Hanson singled in a run. Wallraff hit a ball to deep right center that should have driven in two or three runs. Stilp scored, but Fairbanks thought the ball would be caught and didn’t take off right away. Once he did Hanson was right behind him. Fairbanks ended up getting caught in a rundown between third and home and was tagged out for the first out of the inning. Miles Turk reached on an error to re-load the bases. Noah Taylor singled to drive in another run and Nick Wasco’s sacrifice play drove in one more. Jeremy Knutson popped out to end the rally and the Bulldogs led 7-4. But Hinckley tied it up in the bottom of the inning on a bases-clearing double.
With the score still tied 7-7 in the top of the eighth, Hanson led off with a single. The next two batters struck out. Taylor singled, moving Hanson to second. Wasco hit a single to right. Hanson tried to score from second, but was thrown out easily at the plate for the third out and the score remained tied. The Knights scored a run to go ahead in the bottom of the eighth.
Knutson singled through the left side of the infield to lead off the top of the ninth. Billy Knaak laid down a nice bunt to advance Knutson to second and nearly beat it out. Tyler Stilp hit a high popup near home plate. The pitcher came in to attempt the catch. Standing just over the line in foul territory about three feet down the third base line, he reached a couple of feet farther into foul territory. The ball popped out of his glove. Even though the ball was clearly foul, the ump called it fair. Stilp ran to first and the confused Knights never made a throw. Knutson had remained on second, because it was likely the foul pop was going to be caught. Fairbanks singled to right to load the bases. But Hanson and Wallraff struck out to end the game.
Hanson had four hits to lead the hit parade for the Bulldogs. Stilp and Rhodes had three hits apiece and Taylor, Wasco and Knutson had two hits apiece.
The Bulldogs, off for the week of July 4th, return to action with a doubleheader against the Redbirds at Isanti Sunday, July 7 starting at 4 p.m. They will be home to host the Braham Snappers on Monday, July 8 at 7:30 p.m. at Chisago Lakes High School. And they will head out of town to take on the East Bethel Bandits Wednesday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m.