Earlier in the week, the Bulldogs split two conference games, beating Melrose by a run and losing to Litchfield in extra innings after leading going into the seventh inning.
Neither team made an error in what Bulldogs head coach Brad Skoglund said was a well-played game by both teams.
Royalton actually outhit the Bulldogs 12-6, but Paynesville got some timely hits. Tyler Wuertz started the scoring in the bottom of the first with a two-strike single to right that scored Ben Bork and Brent Heinen.
In the third inning, Nate Schutz had an RBI single to right. Dustin Looman scored a run on a wild pitch in both the third and fifth innings. Schutz scored the other Paynesville run in the fifth on Doug Fuchs' ground out.
By then, Royalton had finally got some runners across home plate. Tyler Wuertz shut out the visitors over the first four innings. In the fifth, Royalton scored two runs on three hits, and it could have been more, but Paynesville catcher Jon Lieser threw out a Royalton runner at second base to end the inning.
Royalton hit two solo home runs in the sixth inning, but Brent Heinen responded for Paynesville with his third home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth.
"Skoglund said he was pleased with Wuertz's pitching performance. "I asked him in the seventh if he could get guys out and he said, ‘You bet!' recalled Skoglund. "That's what I want: guys who say they can get guys out and who want the ball."
The Bulldogs suffered another extra-inning defeat Thursday. This time at the hands of the Litchfield Dragons.
The 6-5 loss at Litchfield came after the Bulldogs had jumped to a 4-0 lead. The Bulldogs scored three runs in the top of the first before making an out. Ben Bork reached on an error, Brent Heinen singled, and Dustin Looman scored Bork with a single. Then Tyler Wuertz plated both Heinen and Wuertz with a triple.
The Dragons avoided an even larger deficit when the Bulldogs left the bases loaded to end the first.
In the second, Bork scored again to give Paynesville a 4-0 lead.
After the Dragons got on the board with a run, Curtis Christian singled and stole a base in the fifth. He advanced to third and scored on Brent Heinen's sacrifice fly.
At that point the Bulldogs led 5-1, but Litchfield scored three runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to tie the game at five and send it into extra innings. In each inning, a Paynesville error aided the Dragons.
The game was knotted at five until the bottom of the ninth when Jeremy Johnson drove in the winning run with a two-out double. Johnson had driven in the tying run in the seventh with a sacrifice fly.
"It's tough in our conference," said Skoglund. "We've got to learn to pull those out on the road."
"We're a good five-inning ball club on the road," Skoglund added, "but we've got to play two more innings."
Defensively, Dustin Looman made a leaping grab at second, and Nathan Schutz made a diving catch in the outfield. A few defensive lapses were costly, though.
The conference is loaded with quality teams, including St. Cloud Cathedral, rated second in the state. "It's as good as I've ever seen," said Skoglund, of the conference. "If you make a mistake, (the other team) capitalizes."
Paynesville: 310 100 000 - 5 10 3
Litchfield: 001 003 101 - 6 14 4
Heinen pitched a complete game shutout for the victory. He allowed just three hits and walked no one. One of the few Melrose threats was in the fourth inning, when a single and an error put two runners on with two outs. But Heinen got out of the jam.
Melrose's pitcher, Mike West, pitched almost as well. He allowed just five hits, and neither pitcher walked a batter.
All the balls in play led to a fast seven-inning game. It lasted just over an hour.
Leading off the bottom of the sixth, Ben Bork doubled down the right field line and advanced to third when a pitch got past the Melrose catcher. After a ground out, Dustin Looman hit a liner just out of the third baseman's reach to score Bork.
Paynesville had threatened to score in the third inning, when Jon Lieser singled and was sacrificed to second.
Tyler Wuertz had two hits for the Bulldogs, and the team committed only one error.
Melrose-- 000 000 0 - 0 3 1
Paynesville-- 000 001 x - 1 5 1
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