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Paynesville Press - April 19, 2006

Bulldogs run win streak to four

By Michael Jacobson

The Bulldogs baseball team - rated #1 in the state in Class AA - ran their season-opening winning streak to four games by rallying to beat Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 7-3 on Tuesday, April 11.

The Dogs trailed 3-2 before scoring three runs in the top of the sixth to rally for the conference road victory. Junior rightfielder Cory Nietfeld delivered a two-run single in the sixth inning to give the Dogs the lead after senior James Paul opened the rally with a double and senior John Hemingson singled. Nietfeld later scored in the inning, giving the Dogs a 5-3 lead.

Paul doubled again to start a rally in the seventh inning, with Hemingson again following with a single. Paul scored on a ground out, and Hemingson scored on a sacrifice fly by Nietfeld, making the final score 7-3.

Nietfeld also hit a solo homer to right-center in the second inning, opening the scoring. For the game, he was 3-3 with four RBIs.

Paul, who also had three hits, had an RBI single in the third inning, scoring senior Trent Hansen, who had walked and stole second, to give the Dogs a 2-0 lead.

LPGE, though, scored three runs in the bottom of the third, taking a 3-2 lead. After a walk and hit batter, the Thunder got back-to-back doubles to plate three runs.

The Dogs rallied for the victory while Hemingson dominated in four innings of relief pitching to earn his second win of the season. He did not allow a hit in his four innings of relief work.

"That was neat to see us come back on the road," said coach Brad Skoglund. "The kids battled hard."

With the win, the Dogs improved to 4-0 this season, including 2-0 in the West Central Conference North, taking the early conference lead. Skoglund said that a 10-4 record could win the conference, which has three state-ranked teams and is considered one of the best Class AA conferences in the state. To go 10-4, the Dogs need to win their home games and play .500 on the road, said Skoglund.

"The kids are playing well," added Skoglund. "We're playing much better early this year than last year."

Skoglund said the Dogs are starting to hit the ball hard, have played good defense, including great speed in the outfield, and have lots of pitching depth, so much that some guys who have thrown the ball well in practice have yet to get a chance in a game.

He also praised junior shortstop Steve Gerding, who made an error in his first chance against LPGE but then handled a half dozen plays flawlessly, his busiest game of the season so far. He also made a nice play deep in the hole, according to Skoglund.

This week, the Dogs played at Minnewaska on Tuesday, April 18. They will host state-rated Albany on Thursday, April 20, and will host Sauk Centre on Monday, April 24.

Paynesville-- 011 003 2 - 710 1
LPGE-- 003 000 0 - 3 4 0

Paynesville - Batting: Cory Nietfeld 3-3 HR RBI-4 R-2; James Paul 3-4 2B-2 R-2 RBI-2; John Hemingson 2-4 R-2 SB; Mark Andrie 1-1 BB-2 SB; Alex Naujokas 1-2 2B BB-2 SB; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Paul (3-4-3-3-1-2); Hemingson (W) (4-0-0-0-1-4).

LPGE - Batting: Thomas 1-3 2B RBI-2 R; Ahrens 1-2 2B RBI; Thompson 1-2; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Grein (L) (5.1-8-5-5-2-4); Ronning (1.2-2-2-2-2-0).

Paynesville 10, EV-W 1
The Bulldogs scored five runs in the first inning and cruised to a 10-1 nonconference victory over Eden Valley-Watkins on Monday, April 10.

The Dogs had five hits in the bottom of the first - also aided by two EV-W errors - to take the lead for good. Junior leftfielder Alex Naujokas and senior centerfielder Trent Hansen started the rally with back-to-back singles.

After an error scored the Dogs first run, senior catcher John Hemingson hit an RBI single, and senior third baseman Derek Stanger singled, and junior Cory Nietfeld hit a two-run triple over the head of the EV-W rightfielder. He later scored on the other EV-W error.

Getting the early lead helped against EV-W, said coach Brad Skoglund, who called the Eagles a good club who did not play their best last week. "We jumped off to a good start. It's always easier to hit when you're ahead. Pitching, too," said Skoglund. "Ben pitched a nice game."

Junior lefthander Ben Moser earned his first varsity pitching victory by going six innings against EV-W. He allowed just five hits, walked none, and yielded only a single run in the fourth inning (on an RBI double by junior Matt Theis of EV-W).

Moser threw strikes, got ahead in the count, and mixed his pitches, said Skoglund.

The Dogs added two runs in the third inning, scoring one run on an error and another when junior Chuck Mackedanz drew a bases-loaded walk.

After EV-W scored their only run, the Dogs answered in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single by Stanger. In the fifth, the Dogs scored two runs on a double by senior James Paul.

EV-W-- 000 100 0 - 16 5
Paynesville-- 502 120 x - 10 10 2

Eden Valley-Watkins - Batting: Jeff Haag 2-3; Raymond Rice 2-3; Matt Theis 1-2 2B RBI; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Adam Hiltner (L) 3-6-8-4-3-2); Darren Berg (1-2-2-2-1-0); Matt Theis (2-2-0-0-0-1).

Paynesville - Batting: John Hemingson 3-4 R-2 RBI SB-2; Derek Stanger 2-3 RBI-2 R-2 SB; Chuck Mackedanz 1-2; James Paul 1-3 2B RBI-2 R SB; Cory Nietfeld 1-3 3B RBI-2 R; Alex Naujokas 1-4 R-2 SB-2; Trent Hansen 1-4 R-2; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Ben Moser (W) (6-5-1-1-0-3); Ryan Hess (1-1-0-0-0-1).

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