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MW Baseball: Bluejays split with Warriors

Jordan Willi/Daily Globe Minnesota West's Nate Jensen connects with with a pitch during a baseball game against Ridgewater Sunday in Worthington.1 / 2
JORDAN WILLI/DAILY GLOBE Minnesota West's Orie Brown slides under the tag of the Ridgewater catcher to score the game-winning run for the Bluejays in Game 1 of a doubleheader against Ridgewater Sunday in Worthington.2 / 2

WORTHINGTON -- A walk-off, two-run single by Brett Larson in Game 1 of a doubleheader helped the Minnesota West baseball team earn a split with the Ridgewater Warriors Sunday.

"We were trying to be aggressive and it was the right play to call at that point," West coach Jeff Linder said. "They weren't expecting it after we made that first cut and it was the perfect time to do it."

The Warriors got on the board first with a home run in the first inning off of Bluejays starting pitcher Dustin Pronk to take a 1-0 lead.

But Minnesota West held off Ridgewater in the top of the second and took the lead in the bottom of the inning with two runs. The first run came on an RBI single by Nate Jensen and the second came when Stuart Rogers crossed the plate on a wild pitch by Warriors starting pitcher Onas Farfan.

Neither team was able to put together any real scoring threat over the next three innings, with both pitchers keeping the other's team at bay.

The Bluejays retained the lead through the fifth inning before the Warriors took advantage of a lead-off walk and a double to put runners on the corners. Two batters later, Scott Salfer hit a two-run double to give Ridgewater a lead 3-2.

After pitching through six innings, Pronk was relieved by Larson in the seventh. Larson induced two ground-ball outs before Ridgewater's Dan Blackstad knocked a single into the outfield to get on base. Blackstad was later caught stealing second to end the inning.

Eric Koob started off the seventh inning with a single, followed by a single from Trent Carlson to put the tying run at second.

Ridgewater relief pitcher Brandon Bornhorst got Jensen to line out to get the first out of the inning, but an error by the Warrior outfield allowed Orie Brown to reach first base. But Koob was caught trying to score from third for the second out.

With just one out remaining in the game, Larson stepped to the plate and knocked a single to the outfield, which allowed Brown to score from first for the winning run.

"In the first game, we tried the squeeze there to get a run across that way and it didn't work out," Linder said. "But we ended up getting a hit instead to win the game, so it worked out in the end."

Game 2 remained scoreless heading into the third inning before Ridgewater's Brandon Roelike smashed a one-out, RBI double into centerfield off of Adam Munkle to score Farfan from first. However, Munkle would strikeout the next two batters to end the inning.

The Bluejays got the run back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single from Rogers to tie the game.

The Warriors took a 2-1 lead on a home run by Trenton Berg in the top of the fifth, but the Bluejays came out hitting in the bottom of the inning, scoring four runs on four hits.

"We had sporadic, timely hits today," Linder said. "We had people in scoring position and we didn't move them in. We should have done better with that, but we've had games where we are on and games were we are off."

Jensen and Taylor Lupton both knocked in two runs in the inning, on a single and a triple respectively, to push Minnesota West's lead to three.

Ridgewater cut the lead to one in the sixth with back-to-back RBI hits by Riley Carpenter and Roelike.

"Ridgewater started to get on the ball, were hitting it where we weren't and made some plays," Linder said.

The Warriors took the lead with three runs in the seventh, forcing the Bluejays to pull Munkle in favor of Jensen on the mound.

"Our best shot was to stay with Munkle since he was feeling good, but (Ridgewater) got on him a little bit and we had to make a change," Linder said.

Minnesota West tried its best to rally in the seventh, scoring a run after Munkle was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. But Ridgewater relief pitcher Jeff Petrik got the next two batters out to end the inning.

"We had a great rally at the end of the game again," Linder said. "These boys have always been like that no matter how many we are down or what inning we are in, they try their best to come back and win the game."

The Bluejays (17-13) are scheduled to travel to Rochester Wednesday.


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