In what could be considered a tuneup for a key North Division matchup, the Central Lakes College Raiders baseball team split a doubleheader with the St. John's University junior varsity Monday, losing the first game 17-4 and winning the nightcap 6-5 in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion.
Too many errors and too little offense led to the Raiders' demise in the first game. The Johnnies took advantage of every CLC miscue in the five-inning romp.
A perfect bunt from an unlikely hitter led the Raiders to a confidence-boosting win under the lights at Mills Field.
"We made a couple of costly errors, one that gave them four runs," Raiders coach Warren Mertens said. "In the second game, we put it together and came back offensively."
St. John's 17, CLC 4
The Raiders started off on the right foot as Justin Kolling led the top of the first inning with a single. He scored on a St. John's error to give the Raiders their only lead.
It was lights out for CLC in the second inning as the Johnnies tattooed Raiders starting pitcher Phil Doll for seven runs on five hits. CLC defenders didn't help Doll as they added two errors in the inning.
CLC plated a run in the third and two more in the fourth, taking advantage of two St. John's errors. But in the same span, the Johnnies tacked on 10 more runs, putting the game out of CLC's reach.
Andrew Gravdahl went 2-for-2 and scored a run, while John Pohlkamp was 1-for-3 with a triple and a run scored.
"We just didn't get it done," Mertens said. "We had some errors and we didn't hit the ball. They did."
CLC 6, St. John's 5
It was a much different game the second time around, as Raiders pitcher Casey Crisp gave up only two hits through the first three innings.
Meanwhile, the Raiders' offense busted out in the second inning with three runs. A leadoff double by Jon Reis and a hit batter put runners at first and second.
Andy Howie stepped up and delivered, lacing a double down the left-field line that scored Reis and Adam Hardy. Chris Bramer followed with another double to score Howie, giving the Raiders a 3-0 lead.
The lead was short-lived as the Johnnies answered with four runs on four hits in the top of the fourth, with only one run earned.
After a short rain delay, the Raiders went scoreless for the next four innings and managed only one hit.
In the top of the seventh, St. John's scored what appeared to be insurance run, taking a 5-3 lead into the final inning.
After a Brent Lieser single and Tim Voigt walk, Pohlkamp delivered a RBI single to score Lieser. Mike Baso followed with a RBI single of his own, scoring Voigt to tie the game 5-5.
With runners on first and second and nobody out, clean-up hitter Jon Reis, who was 3-for-4, dropped a perfectly placed bunt down the third-base line for a base hit to load the bases.
"I've never seen Jon bunt this year," said Mertens. "But I'm confident that he's a good hitter, so a good hitter should be able to bunt."
Hardy, the next batter, drew a walk to bring Pohlkamp across the plate with the winning run.
St. John's JV 070 28 -- 17 14 2
Central Lakes 101 20 -- 4 5 5
CLC -- Phil Doll, Ara Anderson (4) and Pohlkamp. LP -- Doll.
St. John's JV 000 400 1 -- 5 9 0
Central Lakes 030 000 3 -- 6 7 2
SJ -- Brigham, Spencer (7) and Thom. CLC -- Crisp, Freese (5), Baso (6), Reis (7). WP -- Reis. LP -- Spencer. 2B -- SJ-Bell; CLC-Howie, Bramer. LOB -- SJ-7; CLC-5. Conference -- CLC 11-7. Overall -- CLC 13-9. Next game -- CLC hosts Fergus Falls at Mills Field 1 p.m. Tuesday (2).
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