Wilmont tops Barnstormers, retires Baumgartner's number 2 prior to game
WILMONT -- Sparked by Adam Diekmann's 4-for-4 performance at the plate Friday night, the Wilmont Cardinals pounded out 14 hits and claimed a 10-5 victory over the Southwest Barnstormers in an amateur baseball game at Butts Probst Field.
The Barnstormers, who are a team comprised of area players ages 35 and older, were playing a bit short-handed against the Cardinals -- the team sitting atop the Gopher League standings with a 15-3 league record (16-5 overall).
But it was a very special night for one player on the visiting team, who was competing on a field that he called home for 24 seasons in uniform and many more years as a youngster growing up watching Wilmont baseball.
Sam Baumgartner, who played for the Cardinals from 1986 through 2009 and now plays for the Barnstormers, was honored with a pre-game ceremony that featured lots of high praise from former teammate Jeff Appel. Many former teammates were on hand for the event, as Wilmont retired Baumgartner's number -- 2 -- and presented him with a framed Cardinals' jersey.
"I really appreciated that," said Baumgartner, who started playing with Wilmont after his sophomore year of high school. "It was a lot of fun playing for Wilmont over the years, and I have so many great memories and friendships as a result of my experiences. I can't thank my teammates enough for thinking this highly of me, and it's really an honor to be a part of something special like Wilmont baseball the way that I have for so long."
Baumgartner was the starting pitcher and batted lead-off for the Barnstormers Friday night, striking out four batters in three innings of work and finishing 1-for-4 with an RBI single and a run scored at the plate.
"We're excited for Sam and happy to be involved in a great night of baseball," Barnstormers manager Tarry Boelter said. "Give Wilmont credit for playing well and also for getting the field ready to go, as they worked hard to make this thing possible. There was a nice crowd on-hand, and I think it was a pretty good ballgame by both teams."
Diekmann leads Wilmont in the field and at the plate; Barnstormers rally to tie the score
Baumgartner led off the game with a sharp ground ball up the middle and appeared to have a lead-off single, but Diekmann -- playing shortstop for the Cardinals -- made an incredible diving stop behind second base and fired a throw to first from his knees to record the initial out of the night.
That was the first of six straight outs to begin the game for Wilmont starter Ryan Swanson (five innings, eight strikeouts, four walks), who fanned four batters -- starting with a 1-1 count (35-and-older rules) -- in a pair of 1-2-3 frames.
Wilmont then scored five runs on five hits in the bottom of the second inning, as Stuart Rogers smashed a lead-off single to left field and advanced to second when the ball was misplayed. Diekmann followed with his first hit of the night, delivering an RBI single to left field and plating Rogers to make it 1-0.
Nick Ahrens later reached on an error before Nate Stoll (single), Lucas Henning (single) and Steven Kremer (double) laced three consecutive run-scoring base hits. Diekmann, Ahrens and Stoll each scored to make it 4-0, and Henning later scored on an RBI sacrifice fly off the bat of Justin Saufley to give the Cardinals an early 5-0 lead.
The Barnstormers, though, answered right back with five runs of their own in the top of the third. Todd Armstrong (2-for-2) of Windom started and finished the five-run output, cracking a lead-off single and scoring, and later ripping an RBI single to drive in the team's fifth run of the frame.
In-between Armstrong's base hits, the Barnstormers drew four walks and smashed two more singles to help even the score. Appel (run), Chuck Sendelbach (run), Jeff Rogers (RBI, run) and Kevin Nowotny (RBI) each coaxed a free pass, while Baumgartner (run) and Dan Blankenship (2-for-4) both drilled an RBI single to highlight the action for the Barnstormers.
"It's always fun playing these guys," said Saufley, who serves as Wilmont's manager. "They battled right back after we took the lead, and it was a fun game to be a part of. It was an awesome night to honor Sam, who has done more for and meant more to Wilmont baseball than maybe anyone else has ever."
Cardinals stretch lead back to five runs, hold Barnstormers scoreless
Wilmont scored once in the bottom of the third, taking a 6-5 lead on an RBI single to center by Tanner Loosbrock (2-for-3). Diekmann blooped a one-out double down the left-field line and scored to put the Cardinals back on top.
The Cardinals scored three times in the fourth, as Henning (2-for-3) belted a lead-off double and scored on an RBI double by Brandon Diekmann (2-for-2) to make it 7-5. Adam Diekmann and Loosbrock added back-to-back RBI singles later in the inning, increasing the gap to 9-5.
Wilmont closed the game's scoring in the sixth, as Brandon Schroeder reached on a fielder's choice and scored on the first hit of the season for Ahrens -- an RBI single up the middle that made it 10-5. Both Diekmann brothers -- Brandon and Adam -- had a base hit in the inning, as well.
Swanson and Stuart Rogers each pitched a pair of scoreless innings the rest of the way (after the third). Swanson allowed just a two-out single to Blankenship in the fifth, while Rogers (three strikeouts) worked around walks to Armstrong in the sixth and Nowotny in the seventh.
Nowotny hurled the final three innings for the Barnstormers, starting a 1-2-3 double play to end the fourth and twirling a perfect fifth frame.
Both teams play Sunday, as Wilmont hosts Adrian at 2 p.m. The Barnstormers (3-2-1) play in Searles, also at 2 p.m.
R H E
SW 005 000 0 -- 5 5 2
Wilmont 051 301 X -- 10 14 0