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Paynesville Press - May 17, 2006

Dogs retain WCCN lead by winning two of three

By Michael Jacobson

The Bulldogs baseball team retained their lead in the West Central Conference North by winning two of three conference games last week, including completing a season sweep of the Albany Huskies on Thursday 8-4.

The Bulldogs rallied, after falling behind 3-2, with three runs in the third inning and three more in the fourth to beat the Huskies in Avon.

In their next at bat, after allowing three runs in the bottom of the second, the Dogs walked the bases loaded in the top of the third. Seniors Derek Stanger and Derek Looman delivered RBI singles, sandwiched around a sacrifice fly, to give the Dogs a 5-3 lead.

The Dogs scored three runs again in the fourth inning, again loading the bases on an error (which allowed the first run to score), a double by senior James Paul, and another walk. A fielder's choice scored the second run, and the third scored on a wild pitch.

Leading 8-3, the Dogs allowed another run to Albany in the bottom of the sixth on two errors and two Husky singles, winning 8-4.

"We came back," said coach Brad Skoglund. "We had some timely hitting, we ran the bases well, and we were fortunate to get six (actually seven) walks."

The Dogs took a 2-0 lead against Albany with two runs in the top of the first. Senior Trent Hansen, who scored three runs, doubled with one out, and Paul followed with an RBI triple to left-center. Senior catcher John Hemingson plated Paul with an RBI single.

Paul pitched a complete game for the victory for the Dogs. He yielded eight hits but walked no one and allowed only one earned run, a leadoff homer in the second inning.

Last year, the Dogs beat Albany 12-6 in the state semifinals, winning their season series two games to one after the two teams split their two regular season games.

With the win, while New London-Spicer lost 5-2 at St. Cloud Cathedral, the Dogs regained sole possession of first place in the WCC North. The Dogs (9-2 in conference) lead NL-S and Melrose, both 7-3, by a game and a half, but only one game in the loss column. The Dogs have three conference games left, while NL-S and Melrose each have four.

This week, the Dogs are scheduled to play their last three conference games, playing at Sauk Centre on Monday and at NL-S on Tuesday. They will host Melrose on Thursday with the junior varsity and ninth grade playing at 5 p.m. and the varsity playing under the lights starting at 7 p.m.

Next week, the Dogs will play at Maple Lake, a subsection rival, on Monday, May 22, at 5 p.m.

The Dogs (11-2 overall) also had a game rained out against ACGC last Friday. This game, against another subsection rival, was rescheduled for Thursday, May 25, with the junior varsity playing at 5 p.m. and the varsity playing at 7 p.m.

Paynesville-- 203 300 0 - 87 5
Albany-- 030 001 0 - 4 8 2

Paynesville - Batting: James Paul 2-3 2B 3B R-3 RBI; Derek Looman 2-4 RBI; John Hemingson 1-2 RBI BB-2; Trent Hansen 1-3 2B R-3; Derek Stanger 1-3 RBI-2 R SB; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Paul (W) (7-8-4-1-0-5).

Albany - Batting: Bryce Rushmeyer 4-4 RBI; Kurt Schlangen 2-4 RBI; Justin Kuntz 1-4 HR; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Kevin Spohn (L) (3-5-5-5-4-3); Paul Kunstleben (4-2-3-1-3-3).

Minnewaska 8, Dogs 2
Minnewaska overcame a 2-0 deficit, scoring eight unanswered runs as they handed the Bulldogs their second loss of the season 8-2 under the lights at PAHS on Tuesday, May 9.

The Dogs scored two runs in the top of the first off Lakers ace Cass Kreitlow, but Kreitlow held the Dogs to one hit as he pitched six straight shutout innings after that.

Junior Alex Naujokas led off the game for the Dogs with a single. He stole second and scored on a single by senior James Paul, who in turn stole second and later scored on a sacrifice fly.

That gave the Dogs a 2-0 lead, but they only had one more hit in the game, a double by senior Trent Hansen. Minnewaska, meanwhile, scored three runs in the top of the second, two in the third, and three in the sixth to win 8-2.

The Lakers scored seven of their eight runs with two outs, getting a two-run homer with two outs in the second, hitting back-to-back doubles in the third, and having six straight batters reach base with two outs in the sixth inning (four walks and two hits, scoring three runs).

"Usually in baseball if you score two-out runs you win games, if you give them up, you lose," said coach Brad Skoglund. "Hey, they played better than us. They deserved to win."

The Dogs split their season series with the Lakers, winning 7-1 at MAHS in April and losing 8-2 last week. Last year, the Lakers handed the Dogs their final loss of the year, 3-2, which was their only loss in winning 13 of their final 14 games.

So far this year, the Dogs are 8-0 against their traditional WCC North foes (Albany, Cathedral, LPGE, Melrose, and Sauk Centre) and 1-2 against Minnewaska and NL-S, who moved to the WCC North from the WCC South this year.

Minnewaska (6-4 in conference) and NL-S (7-3 in conference) are good teams, said Skoglund. "They've just made the conference that much tougher," he said.

Minnewaska-- 032 003 0 - 810 2
Paynesville-- 200 000 0 - 2 3 2

Minnewaska - Batting: Aaron Kessler 3-4 2B R RBI; Cass Kreitlow 2-3 2B R; Jon Hoffman 1-3 HR RBI-2; Tyler Davis 1-3 2B RBI-2; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Kreitlow (W) (7-3-2-2-0-10).

Paynesville - Batting: Trent Hansen 1-3 2B; James Paul 1-3 R RBI SB; Alex Naujokas 1-3 R SB; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Ben Moser (L) (5.1-8-5-5-1-1); Steve Gerding (0.1-2-3-3-3-1); Derek Stanger (1.1-0-0-0-2-0).

Dogs 13, Sauk Centre 3
The Dogs - rated #2 in Class AA in the state - scored eight runs in the second inning and defeated Sauk Centre 13-3 by the ten-run rule on Monday, May 8. The conference game was originally scheduled for April but was postponed twice.

The Dogs, who took a 1-0 lead, had nine of their 14 hits in the second inning, scoring eight times. Senior Mark Andrie started the rally with a double and later added an RBI double in his second at bat in the inning. Junior Chuck Mackedanz also had two hits in the inning, including a double and an RBI.

Junior Alex Naujokas and senior Derek Stanger both hit two-run singles in the rally, and senior James Paul and junior Steve Gerding added RBI singles.

The Dogs added three runs in the third inning as Andrie added another RBI single.

The Streeters scored three unearned runs in the top of the fourth, cutting their deficit from 12-0 to 12-3. Senior John Hemingson struck out five Streeters in the inning but three reached base on errors. Hemingson allowed only three hits in earning the complete-game win.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Dogs scored another run as Paul singled, stole second, and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Andrie.

The Dogs took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Naujokas led off the game with a double and scored on a wild pitch.

Sauk Centre-- 000 30x x - 33 2
Paynesville-- 183 01x x - 13 14 2

Sauk Centre - Batting: Jake Berling 1-3; Brooks Anderson 1-2; Anthony Roelike 1-2; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Chris Doage (L) (2.2-12-12-11-3-3); Berling (2.1-2-1-1-2-2).

Paynesville - Batting: Mark Andrie 3-3 2B-2 R-2 RBI-3 SB; Chuck Mackedanz 2-2 2B RBI; Steve Gerding 2-3 R RBI; Alex Naujokas 2-3 2B R-2 RBI-2 SB; James Paul 2-3 R-3 RBI SB-3; Derek Looman 1-1 R; John Hemingson 1-1 R-2 BB-3; Derek Stanger 1-3 2B R-2 RBI-2; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Hemingson (W) (7-3-3-0-0-9).

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