The Bulldogs beat Robbinsdale-Cooper 4-2 in the opening round Saturday behind senior Doug Fuchs' pitching and hitting. Cooper, the three-time defending champion in the tournament, is a large Class AAA team from the suburban Lake Conference.
"It's nice to show the city boys that we can play baseball, too," said Fuchs of the Bulldogs' tournament championship.
"I'm still giddy," added head coach Brad Skoglund.
Fuchs considered skipping the tournament because of an emergency medical crisis in his family. Instead he did the chores on the farm and then pitched a complete-game four-hitter against Cooper. He allowed two runs, only one of which was earned. At the plate, Fuchs had two hits and drove home three runs.
Senior Shaun Fleischhacker hit safely in all three at bats, including two doubles, and had the other RBI for Paynesville. Scott Braun and Curtis Christian also had two hits apiece for Paynesville. The Bulldogs outhit Cooper 11-4.
Swinging the bats well helps the pitching staff, too. "It's a lot easier as a pitcher when the bats are working,"Ęsaid Fuchs.
Cooper, who played as the visiting team, scored single runs in the first and the sixth. The Bulldogs answered both times. Fuchs cleared the bases with a double in the first for three runs, and Fleischhacker doubled home a run in the sixth.
Fuchs said the Bulldogs got Cooper's attention by taking a 3-1 lead after the first inning, which dented the Cooper players' confidence.
Cooper - Hitting: Abild 2-3; Hering 1-3; Bachmeier 1-3; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Hering (L) (6-11-4-4-3-4);
Paynesville - Hitting: Shaun Fleischhacker 3-3 2B-2; Scott Braun 2-2; Curtis Christian 2-3; Doug Fuchs 2-3 2B; Chris Rohe 1-3; Bork 1-4; Runs: Bork; Lieser; Braun; Christian; RBI: Fuchs 3; Fleischhacker; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Doug Fuchs (W) (7-4-2-1-3-4).
Orono fans and players were surprised when a bus brought Paynesville, not Cooper, to the field for the championship game Saturday. They were further shocked when the Bulldogs jumped to a 5-0 lead and pounded 13 hits to defeat host Orono 10-3 for the four-team tournament title.
Doug Fuchs, Ben Bork, and Scott Braun led the Paynesville attack. The trio combined for 10 hits. Fuchs had four hits, including a double and a triple, and three RBIs.
Bork and Braun each hit safely three times. Braun had a double and three RBIs, too, while Bork had one RBI.
The Bulldogs scored twice in the first and three times in the second to lead 5-0. After Orono cut the lead to 5-2, the Bulldogs plated two runs in both the fourth and the fifth to rebuild a commanding lead, 9-2.
Senior Justin Mackedanz pitched the complete-game victory on the mound. He scattered seven hits and allowed only three runs, two earned.
Skoglund said he was very pleased with the team's pitching and credited assistant coach Dick Realdsen with helping the staff. "Nate (Schutz), Jon (Lieser), Doug (Fuchs), and Justin (Mackedanz) were determined to get people out," he said. Skoglund said the pitching could get sharper still, and if it does, he thinks four strong starters will make the Bulldogs difficult to beat.
The errors by the Bulldogs on defense were about the only concern during the tournament. The Bulldogs had 24 hits and scored 14 runs in the two games, but they also committed seven errors and allowed two unearned runs.
The tournament victories raised the Bulldogs' season record to 9-2.
Paynesville - Hitting: Doug Fuchs 4-5 2B 3B; Ben Bork 3-4; Scott Braun 3-4 2B; Chris Rohe 1-2; Adam Miller 1-4; Nathan Schutz 1-4; Runs: Bork 3; Lieser 2; Braun; Fuchs; Rohe; Schutz; Nick Stalboerger; RBI: Fuchs 3; Braun 3; Bork; Rohe; Schutz; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Justin Mackedanz (W) (7-7-3-2-1-1);
Orono - Hitting: Osborne 3-4; Schnoor 1-3; Coleman 1-3; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Schnoor (L) (7-13-10-6-3-4).
Hitting can be contagious.
At Litchfield on Friday, the Bulldogs enjoyed a hitting epidemic. They scored eight runs in the second inning and added four runs in the third and four in the fifth before the ten-run rule ended the game.
The 16-3 victory included 19 hits, two homers, and three for extra bases for Paynesville. In only five innings.
The lopsided loss was the first in the conference for the Dragons this season.
In the second, the Bulldogs sent 12 batters to the plate and scored eight times. They had nine singles in the inning. They had four consecutive hits twice.
Senior Scott Braun led the Bulldogs' offensive onslaught with four hits and six RBIs. He hit a grand slam home run in the third inning. He also had a triple.
Jon Lieser added a solo homer, three hits, and two RBIs. Adam Miller also had three hits and two RBIs. Having two hits were Doug Fuchs, Curtis Christian, and Shaun Fleischhacker.
The barrage provided comfort for starting pitcher Nathan Schutz. Schutz, a senior, picked up the victory in five innings of work. He allowed three runs.
With the win, the Bulldogs finished the first round of conference games with a record of 5-1, which gives them a one-game lead in the conference standings. Both Litchfield and Cathedral were 3-1.
Paynesville - Hitting: Scott Braun 4-4 3B HR; Jon Lieser 3-4 HR; Adam Miller 3-4 HR; Doug Fuchs 2-3; Shaun Fleischhacker 2-4 2B; Curtis Christian 2-4; Runs: Lieser 3; Braun 3; Bork 2; Fuchs 2; Miller 2; Rohe; Christian; Mackedanz; Fleishhacker; RBI: Braun 6; Lieser 2; Miller 2; Fuchs 2; Bork; Rohe; Christian; Mackedanz; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Nathan Schutz (W) (5-9-3-3-1-3);
Litchfield - Hitting: Ryan Anderson 3-3; 2B; Brent Jergens 1-2 2B; Nat Springer 1-2; Mike Geers 1-3 2B; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Dan Hagen (L) (1.1-8-7-7-0-1); Nathan Turck (2.2-6-5-5-2-3); Kyle Faxhs (1-5-4-4-0-1).
Behind the solid pitching effort of junior Jon Lieser (pictured), the Bulldogs beat Albany 5-1 for their fourth conference victory on Thursday.
Lieser pitched a complete game at home. He kept the Huskies, who had pounded Melrose 17-1 earlier in the week, scoreless until the top of the seventh. He allowed seven hits, two walks, and an unearned run in the final inning.
The Bulldogs took an early lead with one run in the first and two in the second, which chased the Huskies' starting pitcher. They capped their scoring with two runs in the fourth, including Adam Miller's solo home run.
The Bulldogs had 12 hits in all, and four players combined for 10 of them. Ben Bork and Lieser each had three, and Miller and Nathan Schutz each had two. Each had an RBI, and Miller and Schutz each scored two runs. The Bulldogs' other RBI was by Doug Fuchs on a sacrifice fly.
Albany - Hitting: Chris Wehseler 2-4 2B; Ryan Derkhsing 1-2; Runs: John Rabideau; RBI: Wehseler; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Troy Wunderlich (L) (2-5-3-2-0-1); Scott Dirkes (4-7-2-2-1-0).
Paynesville - Hitting: Ben Bork 3-4 2B-2; Jon Lieser 3-4; Adam Miller 2-3 HR; Nathan Schutz 2-3; Chris Rohe 1-2; Nic Stalboerger 1-2; Runs: Miller 2; Schutz 2; Lieser; RBI: Bork; Lieser; Doug Ruchs; Miller; Schutz; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Jon Lieser (W) (7-7-1-0-2-5).
It took a Division I signee to hand the Bulldogs their first conference loss. At Cathedral on Tuesday, April 25, the Bulldogs' bats were silenced by the Crusaders' Corey Hollenhorst.
The senior right-hander pitched five innings and allowed two hits and a run while striking out nine. He has signed to play for the University of Iowa next year.
The Bulldogs trailed 3-1 after five innings, but the Crusaders scored four unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Scott Braun and Adam Miller had hits off Hollenhorst. Curtis Christian, who is hitting over .400, and Jon Lieser also had hits for the Bulldogs. Lieser had the first triple of the year for the team in the seventh, but was stranded at third.
Doug Fuchs pitched for Paynesville and took the loss. Paynesville's defense committed three errors, which led to five unearned runs.
Paynesville - Hitting: Scott Braun 1-3; Jon Lieser 1-3 3B; Curtis Christian 1-3; Adam Miller 1-3; Runs: Miller; RBI: none; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Doug Fuchs (L) (5.2-5-7-2-5-4); Nathan Schutz (0.1-1-0-0-0-0);
Cathedral - Hitting: Nate Williams 2-3 2B-2 RBI; Aaron Karn 1-4 2B RBI-2; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Corey Hollenhorst (W) (5-2-1-0-0-9).
Ben Bork's two-run single in the top of the seventh lifted the Bulldogs to a 3-2 nonconference win over Annandale on Monday, April 24.
Paynesville's Justin Mackedanz and Annandale's Brent Cook were locked in a scoreless pitchers' duel after five innings. The Bulldogs got a run to take the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Doug Fuchs singled home Curtis Christian. However, two Paynesville errors allowed two unearned runs to score for the Cardinals in the top of the sixth.
In the seventh, the Bulldogs loaded the bases with a hit and two walks, and Bork brought home the tying and winning runs with a two-out base hit. Bork had two hits in the game.
Mackedanz closed the door to pick up the complete-game victory. It was his second victory of the year, during which he had not yielded an earned run. He struck out 10 batters in seven innings while walking none.
Paynesville - Hitting: Ben Bork 2-4; Doug Fuchs 1-3; Chris Rohe 1-3; Curtis Christian 1-4; Runs: Christian; Jon Lieser; Nathan Schutz; RBI: Bork 2; Fuchs 1; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Justin Mackedanz (W) (7-5-2-0-0-10);
Annandale - Hitting: Bill Guck 2-2; Kirk Triplett 1-4; Matt Paurua 1-3; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Brent Cook (L) (7-5-3-3-4-4).
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