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Paynesville Press - May 25, 2005

Bulldogs sweep week, tie for WCC title

By Michael Jacobson

The Bulldogs baseball team swept three conference games last week, including beating Sauk Centre 6-5 on Thursday, to clinch a tie for the conference title with St. Cloud Cathedral in the WCC North.

Both the Crusaders - rated #1 in Class AA - and the Bulldogs - who won their final four games in the WCC North - finished their conference seasons with 7-3 records. It is the second straight year that the Dogs have tied for the title in the West Central Conference North.

Baseball high five Coach Brad Skoglund praised the team's accomplishment because the WCC North is regarded as the toughest Class AA baseball conference in the state. Skoglund said that he thought the Dogs had a chance to win the conference, but it took hard work and great play from the team to do so. Cathedral, said Skoglund, was not only ranked #1 in Class AA but was called the best team in school history, a history that includes five state titles.

Senior Justin Butkofski is congratulated by junior Derek Looman after hitting a two-run homer on Thursday against Sauk Centre.

The Dogs - who beat Cathedral 5-4 on Tuesday, May 10, to start their current five-game winning streak - trailed Cathedral by a game going into the final day of the conference baseball season on Thursday. The Dogs, though, scored five runs in the first inning and held on to defeat Sauk Centre 6-5 to improve to 7-3 in the WCC North. Meanwhile, the Crusaders lost 15-5 to Melrose to drop to 7-3.

Against Sauk, senior Justin Butkofski fouled off a half dozen pitches before connecting on a 3-2 pitch, hitting it over the fence in left-center to give the Dogs a 2-0 lead with one out.

After another out and two walks, junior Mark Andrie hit a two-out bloop single to right to score another run. Senior Brandon Burg followed with an infield single, with another run scoring on a throwing error. And junior Derek Stanger completed the rally with an RBI single to left.

Senior Chris Beier blanked Sauk for the first four innings, but the Mainstreeters finally scored a run in the fifth. The Dogs answered with a run in the bottom of the fifth to rebuild a five-run lead.

They would need all of it as Sauk Centre had four hits in the top of the seventh - aided by two errors - and scored four runs. Their last hit - a ground-rule double to left - scored two runs and put the tying run at second, but Beier was able to get the final out to preserve a 6-5 win.

Skoglund said it was a great week for Paynesville baseball: winning four games, tying for the conference title, and likely earning the top seed in the subsection playoffs. (Seedings were scheduled for Wednesday night this week.)

The Dogs - going for their fourth straight subsection title - will host their first subsection playoff game on Tuesday, May 31. They played their last regular-season game on Tuesday this week at Minnewaska.

Sauk Centre-- 000 010 4 - 510 2
Paynesville-- 500 010 x - 6 8 2

Sauk Centre - Batting: Isaac Berlin 3-4 R; Chris Sunderman 2-3 2B RBI-2; Dustin Meyer 2-4 R; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Sunderman (L) (3-6-5-5-3-3); Berlin (3-2-1-1-0-4).

Paynesville - Batting: Justin Butkofski 1-4 HR RBI-2; Mark Andrie 1-3 RBI-3 R; Jamie Paul 1-3 R; Derek Stanger 1-3 RBI; John Hemingson 1-2 R; Trent Hansen 1-4 SB; Chris Beier 1-1 R-2 BB-2; Brandon Berg 1-1; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Beier (W) (7-10-5-3-3-1).

Paynesville 9, ACGC 3
The Dogs scored three runs in the fourth inning and four runs in the fifth to rally and defeat ACGC 9-3 on Friday. The Dogs improved to 13-5 with the victory, a key win for the subsection seedings, according to coach Brad Skoglund.

The Dogs took a 2-0 lead on senior Justin Butkofski's two-run homer in the first inning but yielded three unearned runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Trailing 3-2, the Dogs scored three unearned runs in the fourth inning to take a 5-3 lead. Senior Chris Beier and junior John Hemingson both singled and scored in that rally.

In the fifth, the Dogs added four runs, getting four straight hits from Butkofski, senior Mike Mueller, Beier, and Hemingson to build their lead to 9-3.

Butkofski and Hemingson combined to throw a four-hitter, allowing only unearned runs in the game, as Butkofski earned the victory and Hemingson the save.

Paynesville-- 200 340 0 - 913 2
ACGC-- 300 000 0 - 3 4 4

Paynesville - Batting: Jamie Paul 3-4 R; Justin Butkofski 2-3 HR 2B RBI-2 R-2; John Hemingson 2-3 R-2; Chris Beier 2-4 R-2 SB; Derek Stanger 1-3 R SB; Mitch Callenius 1-1; Mike Mueller 1-4 R; Trent Hansen 1-4; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Butkofski (W) (4-2-3-0-1-6); Hemingson (S) (3-2-0-0-1-4).

Paynesville 6, LPGE 5
The Bulldogs rallied from a 4-0 deficit to beat LPGE 6-5 in eight innings in Long Prairie on Tuesday, May 17.

Senior Mike Mueller doubled to left-center to lead off the eighth inning for the Dogs and scored the winning run on an RBI single up the middle by junior John Hemingson.

The Dogs trailed 5-3 entering the seventh inning and scored two runs to force extra innings. Hemingson and junior Mark Andrie singled to start the rally, and senior Brandon Burg walked to load the bases. The Dogs' first run scored on a wild pitch and the second on a grounder.

LPGE scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning, taking a 4-0 lead. The Dogs cut their lead to one at 4-3 with three runs in the top of the third. Junior Trent Hansen had an RBI single, and Mueller had a two-run single as the Dogs clawed within a run.

LPGE scored their last run in the third inning, increasing their lead to 5-3. Following that rally, though, Paul pitched five scoreless innings for the Dogs. He retired 16 of the last 17 batters he faced and had four 1-2-3 innings during that stretch.

Paul got stronger, and more aggressive, as the game went on, said Skoglund, pitching inside effectively over the final five innings.

Paynesville-- 003 000 21 - 68 0
LPGE-- 401 000 00 - 5 9 0

Paynesville - Batting: Mike Mueller 2-3 2B RBI-2 R; John Hemingson 2-4 RBI R; Jamie Paul 1-3 RBI R SB; Brandon Berg 1-3 SB R; Trent Hansen 1-4 RBI R SB; Mark Andrie 1-4 R; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Paul (W) (8-9-5-5-3-4).

LPGE - Batting: Craig Kern 2-3 2B R; T. Rahn 2-4 R-2 RBI; J. Merrill 1-4 2B RBI-2.

Paynesville 7, Melrose 2
The Bulldogs completed a season sweep of Melrose with a 7-2 victory on Monday, May 16. This game had been postponed from Thursday, May 12, and Friday, May 13, due to the weather.

The Dogs took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI double by junior John Hemingson. Then they added three runs in the bottom of the third to build a 4-0 lead. Junior Trent Hansen had an RBI single, and senior Justin Butkofski added a two-run double in that inning.

Melrose scored their only two runs - both unearned - in the fourth inning, cutting the Dogs' lead to 4-2.

The Dogs added three runs in the fifth inning - taking a 7-2 lead - as Hemingson hit another RBI double and junior Mark Andrie added a two-run double.

Melrose-- 000 200 0 - 25 2
Paynesville-- 013 030 x - 7 9 1

Melrose - Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Eric Schoenberg (L) (4.2-8-7-5-3-3); Nick Stangler (1.1-1-0-0-0-1).

Paynesville - Batting: John Hemingson 2-3 2B-2 RBI-2; Mark Andrie 1-3 2B RBI-2; Justin Butkofski 1-3 2B R RBI; Trent Hansen 1-3 R RBI SB; Jamie Paul 1-3 R SB; Chris Beier 1-2 R; Brandon Berg 1-2 R; Mike Mueller 1-2; Pitching: (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Butkofski (W) (7-5-2-0-1-5).

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