The 2019 offensive struggles for the Saints came to the forefront once again, as the Saints were shut out three consecutive times.
The Saints were first blanked by Windom for the second time this season, 7-0. The Eagles scored in the top of the first on an infield single by Alex Borsgard, scoring Eric Pfeffer.
Saints starter Jacob Brey kept the Eagles off the board for the next two innings before Windom struck for four runs, with Kade Sammons and Pfeffer knocking in runs. Windom also plated two runs off a St. James error.
The Eagles also added runs in the fifth and seventh.
The combined pitching efforts of Kobe Lovell and Connor Redman held the Saints to just four hits. The Saints had a runner reach in each of the first six innings but failed to get a run across.
“Windom has two really good pitchers,” said head coach Landis Froehling. “Those two guys pitched against us last game like they did tonight and I was just telling the guys that’s probably the best pitching they’ll see."
On Saturday, the Saints were shutout twice by powerhouse Luverne at Veteran’s Field.
In game one, Kobe Mohwinkel and Jake Haugen matched each other pitch for pitch through six innings, with the score tied at 0-0.
The Cardinals broke the scoreless tie in the seventh on a perfectly placed safety squeeze bunt by Gaige Nath, scoring Charles Reisch. Luverne added another run in the inning with a single down the left field line by Colby Crabtree, scoring Quinn Buss.
Haugen set down the Saints in order, putting the final touches on a complete game three-hitter. Mohwinkel was given the tough loss, pitching all seven innings, allowing just two runs while striking out six and allowing five hits.
“Kobe had command of his breaking ball today,” said coach John Schmidt. “He was getting some calls today which helped. Luverne is a top-ten team in the state I’d say, and he held them scoreless for six innings. He did a phenomenal job. Unfortunately, their pitcher matched him pitch for pitch and we couldn’t put it together like they did in the seventh.”
In game two, Luverne struck for three runs in the first off Derrick Halvorson, while Isaiah Bartels dominated on the mound, pitching 6.1 innings, striking out 12 and allowing only two hits before departing for Nathan Nekall to shut the door.
Bartels knocked in the first run of the game with a fielder’s choice. Jake Haugen plated two runs on an RBI single.
Luverne added runs in the fourth on a single by Quinn Buss and in the fifth on a wild pitch.
The Cardinals scored two more in the sixth, with a single by Nekall and RBI groundout by Bailey Cowell, putting the Saints away for good and taking game two 7-0.
“This is the third straight game we’ve been shutout and the last time I checked you have to score runs to win,” said Schmidt. “It’s disheartening but our pitchers understand that they need to do their job. We’re going to have to play some more small-ball early in the game to try and get something going and maybe make some changes in the lineup.”
On Tuesday, the Saints’ week came to an unmerciful end at the hands of Pipestone.
In game one, starter Jacob Brey didn’t record an out, and the Saints found themselves down 6-0 after the top of the first.
Things would snowball on St. James, falling behind 16-3 through three and a half innings. St. James would show fight in the final innings before falling 19-9.
The nightcap was much more competitive, with Derrick Halvorson taking the hill for the Saints.
The Arrows opened the scoring in the top of the second off an error by Halvorson, who had slipped while fielding a ground ball and attempting to make a throw to first. Halvorson escaped further damage by punching out Grant Budden to end the inning.
St. James bounced right back with a run of their own in the top of the third.
Lucas Kulseth led the inning off by legging out an infield single. Kobe Mohwinkel sacrificed Kulseth to second, who then advanced on a Lucas Anderson groundout. Kulseth completed his trip around the bases by scoring on a passed ball.
Pipestone answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third, thanks to some miscommunications in the field by the Saints and an RBI single by Reid Homann.
The Saints threatened in the top of the fifth, with runners on the corners with two men out for Charles Schmidt. During the at-bat, both umpires missed a balk, which would have brought home Jacob Brey.
“Well he definitely 100% balked,” said coach Froehling. “Both umpires admitted they missed it even though they didn’t see it. With that, it turns a 3-1 game into a 3-2 game and changes how you play the rest of the way.”
The following pitch, Schmidt was jammed and popped out to third.
Halvorson pitched into the sixth, before giving way to Jacob Brey.
The Saints have two final games prior to sections, and are looking for the bats to heat up in the final tune-ups.
“We obviously have to get the bats going. We worked a lot on that yesterday, trying to quicken up the bats. We’re a good baseball team, but we’re not good enough to give up extra outs because we don’t hit the ball well enough.”
Isaiah Brynes earned the victory for Pipestone, going 5.2 innings, allowing just one run. Derrick Halvorson was credited with the loss for the Saints.
“He’s really composed up there,” said Froehling. “We really needed him tonight because we were pretty much out of pitching. He kept us in the game and that’s what we needed.”
The Saints’ record now sits at 5-12 heading into their matchup against Worthington on Saturday.