Just hanging on
No, you can’t relax yet.
After giving up four runs to Spencer in the first inning, the Estherville Lincoln Central baseball team rallied to retake the lead.
Ahead 11-5 heading into the top of the seventh–after Marcus Christensen hit a bases-clearing double in a four-run sixth inning, the Midgets appeared to have the game well in hand.
But the Tigers had other ideas and nearly pulled off a rally before, scoring five runs before shortstop Alex Arends made a play on a shallow-hit grounder to preserve an 11-10 victory.
“The guys hung in there,” said ELC coach Chuck Fandel. “We didn’t have any relief so Keith (Fandel) had to go the distance.”
The bottom of the order for the Midgets, the seven through nine batters, came through big for the Midgets with Cody Prather, Christensen and Justin Doyle going a combined 6-11 with six RBIs, a home run and three doubles.
Prather had a a two-run home run in the second inning and a double in the fifth. Christensen had two doubles including the three-RBI one in the sixth and Doyle was 2-4 with an RBI.
“Those guys are going to have to hit all season for us to do well,” said Fandel.
Cleanup batter Marcus Stangl also had a big night as he went 3-3 with a double and four RBIs.
The Midgets got off to a rough start with Spencer scoring four runs in the first inning helped by four ELC errors.
ELC began its rally in the second.
With one out, Chance Moore drew a walk and then Cody Prather hit his home run down the left field line, just inside the foul pole.
With two outs, Doyle singled followed by an RBI double by Keith Fandel. Alex Arends reached on an error and Matt Gruhlke walked to load the bases. Stangl then ripped a double down the left field line to bring in two runs as ELC took a 5-4 lead.
Spencer tied the game in the third when Fandel hit the first batter walked the second and gave up a one-out RBI single. But two pop ups ended the threat.
ELC retook the lead in the fourth inning when Arends again reached on a throwing error on the short stop. He went to third when Gruhlke grounded out and scored on a single by Stangl.
ELC scored again in the fifth when Prather hit a double to right-center field and scored on a two-out single by Doyle.
In the top of the sixth, Fandel gave up a leadoff single, but second baseman Joel Kazmerzak and shortstop Arends turned a double play with the third batter grounding out to Arends.
In the bottom of the inning, Arends drew a leadoff walk and stole second base. With one out, Stangl ripped another single down the left-field line. Walks to Scott Schmidt and Prather loaded the bases for Christensen who sent the ball to the gap to the fence in left-center field.
In the top of the seventh, the Tigers started with a double, single and walk to load the bases. After a strikeout, starter Fandel gave up another walk. A pop-up to to shallow center was caught by a charging Gruhlke for the second out, but the Tigers came up with two singles followed by an ELC error to cut the deficit to one. Fandel gave up another walk to load the bases again.
The final batter hit a slow roller to short that Arends charged and made the throw in time.
ELC travels to Ruthven today.