Dragons rally to beat Bulldogs in baseball opener

This article submitted by Michael Jacobson on 4/14/99.

Baseball coach A seesaw season opener ended in defeat for the Bulldog baseball team when Litchfield rallied for four runs in the last two innings to win 8-5 Friday.

The Bulldogs had taken a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the fifth on Dustin Looman's three-run homer to right center. On base after singling were Curtis Christian and Brent Heinen.

But Litchfield responded with three runs of their own in the top of the sixth. Two Bulldog fielding errors proved costly in that inning, as the Dragons crossed the plate three times using just two hits.

The Dragons added an insurance run in the top of the seventh to make the final 8-5.

Earlier, Paynesville had taken an early lead in the first inning. Looman walked, advanced on an error, and scored the first run of the season on Chad Fleischhacker's base hit to left. Litchfield took the lead with a pair of two-out runs in the third, but Heinen tied the score at two with a solo home run to center field in the bottom of the third.

Litchfield's Eric Rambow plated two more two-out runs for the Dragons in the top of the fifth with a two-run home run to right center. Minutes later, Looman hit his three-run homer to almost the same spot.

The Bulldogs had seven hits by four players. Heinen led the team with three hits including a home run, Looman had two hits with a home run, Fleischhacker had a hit and a run batted in, and Christian had a hit and a run scored.

Head coach Brad Skoglund was pleased with the pitching of Heinen and Doug Fuchs.

The Bulldogs' defense was spectacular early, with diving catches by Nathan Schutz in left field, Looman at second, and Christian in center field. Schutz and Looman each ended a Litchfield scoring threat with their grab.

"It was really a well played game for early in the season," said Skoglund (pictured above talking to the team).

"I like what I see of our team so far," he added. "Litchfield is one of the favorites to win our conference, and we were right there with them."

The Dragons returned six starters from a 15-9 team last year. Skoglund said the Bulldogs had just two starters at the same position this year. "We're going to be a club that will get better as the season goes," said Skoglund.

The Bulldogs host Albany tomorrow night and travel to play New London-Spicer on Friday. Next Tuesday, the team will take a long bus trip to play Long Prairie-Grey Eagle.

Litchfield: 002 023 1 - 8 10 1
Paynesville: 101 030 0 - 5 7 3

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