July 7, 2023 at 1:16 p.m.
Chisago Bulldogs beat Redbirds for first time
Chisago Lakes 2, Isanti 1
Aaron Keeney’s infield single drove in Nate Zingerman from third base to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 walkoff win over the Isanti Redbirds Friday, June 30. It’s the first time the Bulldogs have beaten the Redbirds since the Redbirds joined the Eastern Minny League in 2019. The game was a home game for the Bulldogs but was played at Redbird Field in Isanti due to issues with the lights at Pat Collins Field.
Every play mattered in this game.
The Redbirds had runners on first and second and one out in the top of the first. Logan Kalis hit a grounder a few feet to the left of second, and the Bulldogs turned a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Bailey Kasprowicz singled up the middle with one out in the third for the first Bulldog baserunner of the game. Reed Marquardt singled to move Kasprowicz to second. Tyler Stilp singled up the middle and the speedy Kasprowicz was waved home. The throw was right on the money. Kasprowicz dove and slid his hand across the plate as the catcher was applying the tag. The ump called him out, and the game stayed scoreless. In the bottom of the fourth, with runners on first and third and two outs, Ryan Sanvik hit a ball to deep right center that looked like it would score two runs. But Isanti center fielder Brent Tholen raced deep into the gap and made a great running catch to end the inning.
In the top of the fifth, a single, a sacrifice bunt and a walk put runners on first and second with one out for the Redbirds. On an 0-2 count, Luke Selken ripped a fat pitch to the left of second. Shortstop Dusty Rhodes reached out to spear the line drive and flipped the ball to Reed Marquardt to double the runner off second and keep the game scoreless. In the bottom of the inning, two great plays by Redbirds second baseman Ethan Smith kept the bases empty of Bulldogs. With one out, Reed Marquardt hit a medium speed grounder between first and second that appeared headed for right field. Smith raced to the hole, dove, speared the ball, spun as he stood up and threw Marquardt out by a quarter of a step. Stilp followed with a slow roller to the left of the mound. Smith charged, barehanded it and sidearmed it to first to beat Stilp by a half step and end the inning.
The Redbirds finally broke through in the top of the sixth. Smith led off with a single. James Green hit a hard single to center. Smith rounded second and headed for third. A good throw would have had him easily, but the throw from center fielder Nate Zingerman was high and bounced into the Isanti dugout. Smith was awarded home, and the Redbirds led 1-0.
The umpire held Green at second, saying he hadn’t yet rounded second when the ball went into the dugout. This proved to be crucial. After a flyout to short right, Matt Duong hit a slow roller to third. If Green had been on third, he would have scored. But as third baseman Tyler Stilp charged, scooped, and threw the runner out at first, Green advanced to third. After Tholen struck out for the second out, Connor Braten popped out to short to end the inning.
Isanti starter Logan Kalis seemed to get stronger as the game went on. He struck out six straight Bulldogs – two in the sixth, all three in the seventh and the first batter in the eighth. After Stilp singled with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Kalis struck out Rhodes to end the inning. Meanwhile, Bulldog reliever Marquardt struck out the side in the eighth and the first batter in the top of the ninth. Tholen singled up the middle and went to second when Braten grounded out on a slow roller to third. Tholen advanced to third on a wild pitch. Jaxson Skoglund worked the count to 3-2. Marquardt blew strike three past him to end the top of the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Alex Wilkey led off with a slow bouncer to the left of first. Redbird first baseman Duong moved to his right to field the ball and threw it to pitcher Kalis covering first. The throw was low and up the line a few feet. Kalis stretched for the ball, and, as it hit his foot, he hit the ground. Wilkey was safe. Unfortunately, Kalis was unbale to get up on his own. His teammates helped him up and helped him limp back to the dugout. It was reported after the game that Kalis will likely be out for the season.
Jack Boeck came in to run for Wilkey. Smith came in to relieve Kalis. On a 2-0 count, Adam Brown laid down a bunt along the third base line. He beat the throw to first as Boeck advanced to second. Zingerman followed with a bunt out in front of the plate. Redbird catcher Selken pounced on it and threw out the sliding Boeck at third for the first out. Sanvik struck out for the second out. With Kasprowicz at the plate and an 0-1 count, Smith threw a pitch in the dirt that was blocked by Selken and rolled about 10 feet away. Brown took off and slid in safely just before the tag. Zingerman moved to second on the play. Kasprowicz worked the count to 3-2, fouled off the first 3-2 pitch and took ball four for a walk. Aaron Keeney stepped to the plate. The first pitch to Keeney bounced in the dirt past Selken and all the way to the backstop. Brown raced home and slid across the plate without a throw, tying the game at 1-1. Zingerman moved to third, and Kasprowicz stayed at first. On a 2-2 count, Kasprowicz took off on a stolen base attempt. Keeney hit a grounder just to the right of second base. Since Kasprowicz was already near second, Skoglund’s only play was to first. He had a little trouble getting the ball out of his glove before the throw. Keeney beat the throw by a half step as Zingerman crossed the plate with the winning run.
The Bulldogs poured out of the dugout and celebrated wildly for what was arguably the biggest win since the Bulldogs rejoined the league in 2014.
Kasprowicz started and went six solid innings for the Bulldogs. He allowed one unearned run on six hits, walked two and struck out five. Marquardt picked up the win with an excellent performance. In three innings, he allowed no runs on one hit, walked none and struck out six. Kalis, one of the top pitchers in the Eastern Minny League, had another excellent start for the Redbirds. He allowed one earned run on eight hits, walked none and struck out 13 Bulldogs.
Smith took the loss. In two thirds of an inning, he allowed one earned run on two hits, walked one and struck out one. What did-in Smith and the Redbirds were the two wild pitches.
The Bulldogs (8-3 league, 8-8 overall) took a one-week break over the Fourth of July holiday before playing 10 games over the last two weeks of the regular season. They will host the Rum River Bandits at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 9 at Pat Collins Field. Lindstrom. Monday, July 10, they will head to Ramsey for a home game against the Renegades at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, they will head to Oakey Park in Osceola for a non-league game against the Osceola Braves at 7:30 p.m.