The Central Lakes College Raiders baseball team had nowhere to go but up.
After dropping two extra-inning games to lowly Hibbing Monday, the Raiders rode into Tuesday's showdown against North Division rival Fergus Falls on a four-game losing streak.
The Raiders came out flat, fell behind early and were trounced 13-2 in the first game.
Reeling, CLC needed someone to step up. Behind the crafty pitching of sophomore Pete Marjamaa, the Raiders snapped their five-game losing streak, beating Fergus Falls 3-1 in game two.
"We came out really flat against Fergus and a lot of that was due to a long day on Monday," Raiders coach Warren Mertens said. "We needed people to get fired up and get some bounce in our step."
The Spartans jumped all over CLC starting pitcher Dan Stenehsem, scoring two runs in the first inning and three more in the third.
Stenehsem lasted only 2 2/3 innings, giving up five runs, walking three and striking out two. Nick Meteer and Danny Saehr followed with the same results as Fergus Falls put the game away in the sixth by scoring five runs on three hits and four CLC errors.
Fergus Falls 13-1, Raiders 2-3
Next: at Mesabi Range 1 p.m. Saturday
"Our pitchers didn't throw strikes, Fergus hit the ball well, and we pitched behind hitters," Mertens said. "A lot of times when your pitchers are throwing a lot of pitches and not getting people out, your infielders and outfielders get back on their heels. Nothing went well for us."
The only highlight for the Raiders came in the fourth. Freshman Aaron Jenkins led off with a walk and Bryan Hennen blasted a home run over the 370-foot marker in left-center. It was Hennen's third homer in as many games.
Facing the possibility of dropping its sixth straight game and a crucial four-game stretch looming this weekend, CLC knew it needed to salvage a split with the Spartans.
Marjamaa dominated from the first inning to the seventh, picking up the complete-game win, allowing only one run on five hits while striking out nine and walking two.
The Menahga native used a deadly mixture of his fastball and slider to keep hitters guessing.
"I was hitting my spots and moving in and out on the plate," said Marjamaa. "Both my fastball and slider were working good. I set up the hitters by throwing an inside fastball and then came in on them with the slider."
After Fergus Falls grabbed a 1-0 lead, the Raiders responded in the third when Alex Gruber was hit by a pitch and Matt Lehrer walked. Saehr moved them into scoring position with a bunt and Jenkins laced a single into left, scoring Gruber and Lehrer. Dave Schneider, who was 3-for-3, then singled to score Jenkins.
But the game belonged to Marjamaa, who dominated Fergus Falls pitch after pitch.
"Pete just said I'm going to get us a win and he stepped up," said Mertens.
Fergus Falls 13 12 0
Central Lakes 2 3 6
WP -- Tyler Knott. LP -- Dan Stenehsem. 2B -- FF-Brandon Vaches, Mick Hannan. 3B -- FF-Nate Meisner, Ryan Hendrickson. HR -- CLC-Bryan Hennen; FF-Eric Schmitz. RBI -- CLC-Hennen 2; FF-Meisner, Chris Shae, Hendrickson, Hannan 2, Schmitz, Dustin Biniek.
Fergus Falls 1 5 0
Central Lakes 3 5 1
WP -- Pete Marjamaa. LP -- Hendrickson. RBI -- CLC-Aaron Jenkins 2, Dave Schneider. North Division -- CLC 4-6. Overall -- CLC 4-6. Next game -- CLC at Mesabi Range 1 p.m. Saturday.
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