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Prep baseball: Bottom of the order lifts MCC over HL-O

HERON LAKE -- The bottom of the Murray County Central lineup came up big in its 8-5 victory over Heron Lake-Okabena on Thursday in Heron Lake. The Rebels eighth and ninth hitters were its most productive in the back-and-forth victory. Sophomore S...

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Nate Everson of Murray County Central misses a wildly-thrown ball from first base as Heron Lake-Okabena's Tyson Dirks takes second base. (Tim Middagh / Daily Globe)
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HERON LAKE -- The bottom of the Murray County Central lineup came up big in its 8-5 victory over Heron Lake-Okabena on Thursday in Heron Lake.

The Rebels eighth and ninth hitters were its most productive in the back-and-forth victory. Sophomore Spencer Wajer was 2-for-3 with a double, reached on an error, scored three times, and drove in the two game-winning runs in the 4-run sixth inning. Meanwhile, MCC’s eighth hitter, sophomore Danny Blankenship was 2-for-3 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI.

“It’s cool to be a 10th grader and get into that varsity feel and play well,” Wajer said. “My family has been super-fans of baseball since I’ve been little, so it’s pretty special.”

With the game knotted up at five and runners on first and second with one out, Wajer knocked a single up the middle and drove in Brady Woldt and Blankenship. Three batters later, Wajer scored from third on a single by Brady Kramer.

Earlier in the inning, with the Rebels down a run 5-4, Blankenship drove in Justin Benda, who led off the inning with a single.

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“It’s a good thing our sophomores came to play today,” MCC head coach Derek Lieser said. “You don’t always expect a lot of production from your eight and nine hitters, but sometimes that’s where your sneaky hitters can be because they see a lot of fastballs. Spencer and Danny both gave us a boost.”

The Rebels struck first with a run in the third inning, but HL-O answered with three in the bottom half in a game that featured four lead changes. Wajer opened the scoring for MCC by scoring from third on a wild pitch in the third.

The Wildcats answered when Andrew Madsen drove in Brandon Hinkeldey and Taylor DeWall from first and second with a double to center field to take a 2-1 lead. David Volk drove in DeWall from second with a bloop single to make it 3-1.

The Rebels took the lead back with a 3-run fifth. Nate Everson drove in Blankenship, Kremer drove in Wajer and Everson scored from third on a throwing error.

But, again, HL-O came roaring back and jumped back on top 5-4 with two runs in the bottom half of the fifth. DeWall scored from second on an error. Adam Heitbrink drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in Madsen.

But HL-O couldn’t come back after MCC’s big sixth.

“We try to take the same approach when we’re up by five or down by two,” Lieser said. “Get the barrel on the ball, get a good swing. We don’t want to change the game too much based on what’s on the scoreboard. You just want to continue attacking the game the same way.”

Woldt picked up the win for the Rebels, allowing five runs on six hits with six strikeouts across six innings. Kremer got the save, striking out one while sending down three-straight batters in the seventh.

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Murray County Central 001 034 0 -- 8 11 4Heron Lake-Okabena 003 020 0 -- 5 6 4

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