The #6 seeded St. James Area baseball team saw their season end at the hands of the Windom Eagles on Saturday afternoon by a score of 4-3.
Windom scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning off St. James ace Kobe Mohwinkel.
Eric Pfeffer started the rally with an infield single and a stolen base. Pfeffer scored on an Andrew Quiring single. Quiring would also steal a base, and score on an RBI double by Kobe Lovell.
Alex Borsgard then hit a sharp ground ball to third, which was snared by Noah Sykes. Lovell, attempting to advance to third, avoided Sykes by running out of the basepaths, but no call came from the third base umpire.
“The tracks were clearly there,” said head coach Landis Froehling. “The umpire said he [Lovell] would have taken that path [to third], but he went out 17-20 feet. He said that your guy [Sykes] tried to make a play on him and that’s why he ran out but that’s still out of the baseline. I don’t like to pin it on the umpires. That didn’t lose the game for us but it certainly didn’t help us.”
Lovell then advanced home on a diving stop by Sykes, who just took the out at first, robbing Kade Sammons of a hit. Mohwinkel got Kyle Espenson to fly out to center field to put an end to the inning.
“We knew we had to put the ball in play. The last two times we played them we didn’t strike out that much so I knew we could do that. We found some holes today and had some clutch hits.”
Connor Redman cruised through the first three innings before surrendering a run in the fourth. Jacob Brey kicked the inning off with an infield single, which was followed by a Lucas Anderson double to deep left field.
Connor Jones then chopped a ground ball to third, and Brey was thrown out at home attempting to score. Lucas Anderson advanced to third and scored on a Charles Schmidt RBI single down the left field line. Wyatt Westcott popped out to third to close the inning.
The Schmidt RBI single was the first run the Saints had scored on Windom, as St. James had been shut out in the season’s previous two meetings.
In the fifth, Peyton Engelking led the inning off with a pinch-hit double to deep left. Kobe Mohwinkel then drew a walk, and Logan Carlson dropped down a sacrifice bunt, advancing pinch runner Derrick Halvorson to third and Mohwinkel to second.
Jacob Brey knocked in Halvorson with a sacrifice fly to cut the Windom lead to 3-2.
Noah Sykes delivered with a clutch two-out double to drive home Kobe Mohwinkel to tie the game at 3-3.
Lovell replaced Redman on the mound and got Lucas Anderson to fly out to left to end the inning.
St. James’ momentum was short-lived, as Lovell lead the bottom of the fifth inning off with a walk, which was followed by an Alex Borsgard single. Kade Sammons executed a sacrifice bunt, moving Lovell and Borsgard up 90’.
A wild pitch by Jacob Brey allowed Lovell to score and put the Eagles back ahead in the late stages.
Brey worked out of further damage in the fifth, collecting a strikeout, and throwing out Borgsard at home, who looked to steal home following a pitch by Brey.
The Saints hoped to tie the game in the top of the sixth, but Connor Jones was picked off at first by Lovell after singling to start the inning. Charles Schmidt and Wyatt Westcott were retired to close the sixth for St. James.
In the bottom half, Windom threatened to add some insurance runs. Logan Carlson replaced Brey with two runners on and only one out. Carlson got Lovell to fly out to center field for the second out of the inning. Carlson loaded the bases by walking Borsgard, but got Kade Sammons to pop out to first to end the rally.
With the Saints three outs away from elimination, Lovell struck out Derrick Halvorson and Kobe Mohwinkel before plunking Logan Carlson. Lovell composed himself and got Jacob Brey to pop out to right field, ending the Saints’ bid for an upset.
“I was really happy today with the way we played today,” said Froehling. “We had a lot of different guys step up today which was really nice to see. I challenged the juniors to step up because the seniors had been carrying us.”
Kobe Lovell earned in victory in relief for Windom, pitching 2.1 scoreless innings, surrendering just one hit and striking out three.
Jacob Brey was handed the loss out of the bullpen for St. James, allowing one run on two hits, striking out three and walking three.