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Paynesville Press - May 10, 2006

Dogs sweep two WCC games

By Michael Jacobson

For the fourth straight year, the Bulldogs baseball team defeated St. Cloud Cathedral on the road, but they needed ninth-inning heroics to win this year. The Dogs beat the Crusaders 2-1 in nine innings on Thursday night at Joe Faber Field.

With the game tied 1-1 in extra innings, junior designated hitter Sam Bayer was hit by a pitch to lead off the ninth inning for the Dogs. On a missed bunt, he advanced to second when the Cathedral catcher failed to catch the ball cleanly, ruled as a passed ball. Then he advanced to third on a groundout.

With one out, junior leftfielder Alex Naujokas hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Bayer, who slid around the Cathedral catcher and reached back to touch home plate before the catcher could tag him.

"Great game," said coach Brad Skoglund. "It was probably the best game of the season. Both teams played well. Even if we had lost, I would have been pleased with how we played."

The Dogs led 1-0 before Cathedral tied the game with a run in the bottom of the seventh. A walk, single, error, and another single scored the tying run for Cathedral and had the bases loaded with none out for the Crusaders. On a 3-2 count, senior pitcher James Paul induced a comebacker, which he fielded and threw home for a forceout. Senior catcher John Hemingson then turned the 1-2-3 doubleplay by throwing out the batter at first. Cathedral still had runners on second and third with two out, but Paul induced another groundout to end the threat.

Paul was "fantastic," Skoglund said, throwing nine innings for a complete game and allowing only one run. He hit his spots, said Skoglund, and made a "huge" pitch to start the 1-2-3 doubleplay in the seventh inning.

Another highlight defensive play was senior third baseman Derek Stanger backhanding a liner in the fourth inning and throwing to first to complete a double play.

That preserved the 1-0 lead the Dogs had taken in the top of the fourth. Hemingson tripled off the centerfield fence to lead off the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by junior rightfielder Cory Nietfeld.

The Dogs threatened several other times. They left nine runners stranded on base, compared to eight for Cathedral, but eight of the Dogs' baserunners reached scoring position before being stranded, while Cathedral stranded only three in scoring position.

"Give Cathedral credit," said Skoglund. "We hit some balls hard, and they made the plays."

The Bulldogs beat Cathedral on the road for the fourth straight year and ran their winning streak at Joe Faber Field to four games, including two section wins last year. (The Dogs also won three state games at the adjoining Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud last year.)

The Dogs (8-1 overall, 6-1 in the West Central Conference North) remain in a battle with Melrose, also with one conference loss, for the conference title.

This week, the Dogs hosted Sauk Centre in a make-up game on Monday and hosted Minnewaska in another conference game on Tuesday. On Thursday, the Dogs will travel to play Albany in a conference game, and on Friday they will host ACGC in a nonconference game.

Next week, the Dogs will play at Sauk Centre on Monday and at New London-Spicer on Tuesday. They are scheduled to host Melrose in their last conference game on Thursday, May 18, which could decide the conference title.

Paynesville-- 000 100 001 - 25 1
Cathedral-- 000 000 100 - 1 7 1

Paynesville - Batting: John Hemingson 2-4 3B R SB; Cory Nietfeld 1-2 RBI SB; Alex Naujokas 1-3 RBI SB; Mark Andrie 1-4 2B; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) James Paul (W) (9-7-1-1-1-3).

St. Cloud Cathedral - Batting: Dan Mueller 2-4 RBI; Tom Spaniol 2-4; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Ben Spaniol (L) (9-5-2-2-3-5).

Paynesville 7, LPGE 3
The Bulldogs scored five runs in their first two at bats and completed a season sweep of the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle Thunder on Tuesday, May 2, winning again 7-3.

The Dogs rallied to beat LPGE 7-3 in April in Long Prairie. This time, they scored three runs in the bottom of the first and two more in the bottom of the second to take a 5-1 lead and never trailed. LPGE scored two runs in the third to get within 5-3, but the Dogs answered with two runs in the fourth.

Senior John Hemingson pitched a complete game, allowing only one earned run while striking out 11 for the pitching win. He also had three hits for the Dogs, hitting an RBI double in the first inning and an RBI single in the fourth.

Senior James Paul gave the Dogs a 1-0 lead with an RBI single to left in the bottom of the first, scoring senior centerfielder Trent Hansen, who had walked with one out and stolen second. Hemingson followed with a drive to center that hit the fence on one hop, later scoring for a 3-0 lead.

The Dogs added two runs in the second when LPGE walked the first two batters, juniors Chuck Mackedanz and Steve Gerding, who came around to score.

In the fourth, junior leftfielder Alex Naujokas and Hansen led off with back-to-back singles, with Naujokas scoring on a groundout and Hansen on Hemingson's infield single.

LPGE scored its run in the second on a walk and two hits and its two runs in the third on two hits and two Bulldog errors.

A defensive highlight for the Dogs was senior first baseman Mark Andrie's diving catch of a foul pop fly in the fifth inning.

LPGE-- 012 000 0 - 37 1
Paynesville-- 320 200 x - 7 8 3

LPGE - Batting: Cody Paszeck 2-4; Aaron Thomas 1-3 R; Jerod Merrill 1-4 R; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Chris Ahrens (L) (6-8-7-5-5-2).

Paynesville - Batting: John Hemingson 3-3 2B RBI-2 R; Alex Naujokas 2-4 R; Trent Hansen 1-3 R-2 RBI; James Paul 1-2 R-2 RBI; Chuck Mackedanz 1-2 3B R; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Hemingson (W) (7-7-3-1-2-11).

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