The Saints baseball team jumped out to a 6-0 lead against the visiting Redwood Valley Cardinals, and then hung on to beat the visitors 6-5.
Interesting stat lines for the game. The Saints had six runs on two hits. Both of the hits were by sophomore catcher Ryan Menssen who had only one RBI. Menssen had a double and an infield hit. He got the RBI on the infield hit.
Menssen also had a solid game defensively. The Cardinals ran themselves out of several scoring opportunities in three different innings. In the first the Cards attempted a double steal of third and second, and Menssen threw the runner out at third with Nick Beckius making the tag.
In the second, a Cardinal base runner attempted to steal second, and Menssen threw him out. That was the end of the Cardinals trying to steal bases.
Coach Jon Wilson said, “Ryan had a great game throwing the ball around. Teams may have to find new ways to move guys around, as Ryan is doing a great job of erasing them with his quick release and good arm.”
The base running woes did not end with Menssen. Starting pitcher Sam Carlson picked a runner off when he threw over to first baseman Walker Froehling, who tagged the runner sliding back into the bag. The runner was out by the proverbial mile.
While the Red Birds were having a not so good day on the base paths, the Saints were having a better time at it.
On one play with runners on first and second, the Saints sent a runner home from second as Redwood attempted to turn a double play. The Cards only got a field’s choice, and the Saints scratched out a run.
In another inning, the Saints pulled off a double steal of second and third. That base running aggressiveness led to scores on a passed ball and a wild pitch.
Carlson got his second start of the year. While he and Kyle Pinke were part of a dominant pitching trio on Monday, they were just good enough on Thursday.
The Saints walked no batters in their first game, but Carlson walked the first Cardinal he faced. With the defensive help of Menssen and his own pickoff. Carlson worked out of several jams. That included the Cardinals leaving the bases loaded in the first. The visitors scored no runs in the first three innings.
Meanwhile the Saints did all of their scoring in the first two innings by scratching out two in the first and four in the second.
Carlson’s shutout string ended in the fourth inning when he couldn’t get an out.
For his three inning stint on the mound, Carlson struck out two, gave up three base on balls, five hits, was charged with four runs, with three of them earned.
Page 2 of 2 - Redwood Valley knocked Carlson out in the fourth scoring four runs. Pinke came in and while not dominant, was effective.
The Cardinals were held scoreless in the fifth and sixth, but the seventh got a bit tense for the Saints.
The Cards got one run to cut the lead to 6-5, and had runners on second and third with two outs. Pinke bore down and struck out a Cardinal to end the game.
Pinke picked up the win. He pitched four innings, struck out five, walked two, gave up three hits and one earned run.
Coach Jon Wilson said this about his junior pitchers, “The bottom line is it’s still early on, and our guys are learning to work through being tired and having different batters and different strike zones.
“Pitchers never have the same control or control of different pitches each and every time they go out. They have to be able to make adjustments to what they are doing. I feel Sam and Kyle did a great job of adjusting when not having their best stuff on the mound.”
Froehling scored twice and had two RBIs for the Saints.