The name of the game in baseball is pitch the ball, hit the ball and field the ball. Lately, one of those three things have been missing for the Central Lakes College baseball team as the Raiders have managed just one win in their first 14 games.
On Thursday the Raiders put all three together in beating the Mesabi Range Norsemen 8-7 in the first game of a doubleheader at Findorff Athletic Complex. The Raiders were blanked in game two 11-0 as Mesabi earned a split.
CLC starting pitcher Chris Munsch tossed a complete game to pick up the game-one win. He gave up seven runs on 11 hits with two strikeouts and three walks.
"Changing speeds really helped me a lot," Munsch said. "My fastball didn't have much on it because I was a little sore but I hit the corners. The defense made a lot of nice plays out there for me. The defense really gave me a boost and quick innings helped out a lot."
Central Lakes College pitcher Tyler Maher delivered in the second game of a doubleheader Thursday in Brainerd. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist » Purchase reprints of this photo.
The Raiders' defense didn't commit an error, something that's been a crux of the team.
With four more games coming up this weekend, Munsch's complete game helped keep other arms on the bench and available.
"We thought we were going to pitch a bunch of guys today," Raiders coach Joel Lofstrom said. "Chris was a little bit sore to start with and we only expected him to go three, maybe four innings. But as the game went and the guys made plays he started feeling he could get it done."
CLC scored four runs in the fifth to take a 6-4 lead. Steve Berndgen, Gabe Solseth and Brad Waytashek singled to load the bases. Berndgen scored on a Matt Siegel sacrifice fly and Solseth scored on an error. Brandon Owen then delivered a two-run single.
But Mesabi plated three runs in the sixth inning to grab a 7-6 lead. In the bottom of the seventh, the Raiders' Jason Sather and Tyler Maher scored on two Mesabi errors to give CLC the win.
Central Lakes College third baseman Steve Berndgen fielded a ball hit down the third-base line in Thursday's game against Mesabi. Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Sather finished 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs and Solseth was 3-3 from the No. 9 slot. Siegel was 2-4 with an RBI.
"We've been competing with teams in the hitting department," Lofstrom said. "We've gotten better at having good at bats. At the start of the season we were giving away too many third strikes.
"It was great to see Gabe Solseth come in at DH and pick up three hits. He really put the bat on the ball and he scored a couple of runs. It was big to get that out of our No. 9 spot."
The second game wasn't as kind to the Raiders as they managed just three hits off Mesabi starter Troy Beaman. The Norsemen pounded out 14 hits, six coming in a five-run third inning.
The Raiders only offensive threat came in the fifth when they loaded the bases on an Owen double and two walks but were unable to come up with the key hit.
Chris Munsch won the opener
Raiders 8, 0 Mesabi 7, 11
The key: CLC's Chris Munsch pitched a complete game to win game one, while Jason Sather and Gabe Solseth finished with three hits apiece in the win.
Overall: CLC 2-14, MR 15-5.
Next: CLC hosts Anoka-Ramsey 1 p.m. Saturday.
"It's good for our guys to get a victory against one of the top teams in the north," said Lofstrom. "Hopefully we can build on this. It doesn't show up but we've been playing with the better teams for at least a game. Now we just need to build on this."
Mesabi Range 300 013 0 - 7 11 4
Central Lakes 002 040 2 - 8 12 0
W: Chris Munsch. L: Corey Wikick.
2B: CLC-Tyler Maher. RBI: CLC-Matt Siegel, Brandon Owen 2, Jason Sather 2.
Mesabi Range 005 303 - 11 14 1
Central Lakes 000 000 - 0 3 2
W: Troy Beaman. L: Maher.
2B: CLC-Owen. DP: CLC 3.
TROY GUNDERSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5865.
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