The St. James Area baseball team erased a five-run deficit, capping off their comeback with a walk-off single by Logan Carlson to defeat the Jaguars 7-6.
GHEC/ML struck for two runs in the top of the first inning on an RBI single from Mitch Prafke and an RBI groundout by Paxton Gravlin.
The Jags added another run in the second on a Carter Spear single to center field.
Following an error by St. James, the bases were loaded with just one out, but starting pitcher Kobe Mohwinkel induced a fielder’s choice to Logan Carlson, who cut down Cayden Fischer at the plate and struck out Prafke to Houdini out of further damage in the inning.
St. James got on the board in the bottom of the third on a passed ball, as Wyatt Westcott beat the throw home with a headfirst dive.
In the fifth, Fischer and Prafke reached on back-to-back singles. Paxton Gravlin doubled into the left-center field gap, plating two runs.
Gravlin scored on a single and error by Ross Balcom to give GHEC/ML a 6-1 lead. Charles Schmidt threw out Clay Gieseke stealing second, and Jacob Brey got Jaiden Cook to tap out to Lucas Anderson to end the rally.
Trailing 6-1 going into the bottom of the sixth, the Saints chipped away, adding two runs on a Logan Carlson fielder’s choice. Charles Schmidt was forced out at second, and forced an errant throw by Owen Wolter, scoring Jacob Brey and Lucas Kulseth. Connor Jones struck out to end the threat in the sixth.
Jacob Brey struck out the side in the top of the seventh, setting the stage for a Saints rally.
“Jacob is more of a fastball pitcher and Kobe is off-speed stuff,” said head coach Landis Froehling. “He’s been really solid. He’s more of a strikeout pitcher and we’ve had our fielding problems so any time we can get a strikeout instead of having to make a play that helps. He’s been a complete player in the last three or four weeks.”
In the bottom half, Wyatt Westcott led off the inning with a single. Then, Derrick Halvorson and Kobe Mohwinkel drew four-pitch walks. Lucas Anderson and Jacob Brey were both hit by pitches, scoring Westcott and Halvorson.
Lucas Kulseth also drew a four-pitch walk, scoring Mohwinkel and tying the game at 6-6.
With the bases loaded and nobody out, Charles Schmidt grounded to the third baseman Ross Balcom, who threw out Anderson heading for home, the throw from catcher Mitch Prafke sailed over the first baseman's head, and it looked as though St. James had completed the comeback. However, Schmidt was ruled out at first due to runner’s interference at home, with Anderson not sliding to avoid Prafke at the plate.
“We had a couple plays tonight where we didn't slide and I’m not sure why but that’s something we might have to work on,” said Froehling. “You see the ball go 15 feet over the first baseman’s head and you’re feeling pretty good but it was the right call.”
Jacob Brey was forced to return back to third, and Lucas Kulseth to second, setting the stage for Logan Carlson. The sophomore found himself up 3-1 in the count, and laced a line drive to left, scoring Brey, and completing the unlikely comeback.
“It was 3-1 and my dad just said ‘pick up your heel’ and I did and it was in the zone and luckily it got over the guys head for the win,” said Carlson. “I was just running as fast as I could to first and I looked over and Schroeder said ‘great job, kid.’”
Carlson, Brey and Wyatt Westcott had the only three hits on the afternoon for the Saints.
Brey also picked up the win in relief, throwing 2.2 shutout innings, striking out five.
The win bumps St. James to 5-7 on the year ahead of their game on Thursday against Windom, who blanked St. James 11-0 earlier in the season.