By STUART GROSKREUTZ
OAK PARK HEIGHTS – A season of comfortable victories and narrow losses continued for the Stillwater baseball team, which followed Friday’s 11-4 victory at Park with a 6-5 Suburban East Conference loss to East Ridge at Stillwater Area High School.
The Ponies dropped to 1-5 in one-run games this season after falling short to the Raptors on Monday. And while five of the team’s six losses have been by just one run, half of Stillwater’s victories this season have been by seven runs or more.
Stillwater (7-6 SEC, 8-6) could have joined Mounds View, Roseville and Forest Lake – who are each 8-5 in league play – in a tie for second place in the conference standings behind Cretin-Derham Hall (11-2, 11-2), but instead the Ponies remain tied for fifth with East Ridge.
Stillwater led 5-4 after five innings, but the Raptors (7-6, 7-8) scored a run each in the sixth and seventh to rally for the victory.
East Ridge used a base hit and a walk to chase Ponies starter Joe Stanton with one out in the fifth. Tony Lennox balked in the tying run before getting the next two outs with the teams deadlocked at 5-all.
East Ridge also loaded the bases with one out in the seventh before Christian Abilla entered the game and issued a walk to push the deciding run across the plate.
"Our pitching walked a few too many guys and we gave them a couple of runs on two errors," Ponies coach Mike Parker said. "If we don’t make any errors we win."
Abilla drove an RBI triple in Stillwater’s two-run first inning and Zach Krenz delivered a run-scoring single in the second to provide a 3-2 lead. The Raptors answered with two runs in the fourth, but Stillwater answered in the bottom of the fifth as Krenz drove a two-run double for a 5-4 lead.
"We had some extra base hits and hit the ball, other than our strikeouts at key times," Parker said. "We hit the ball well, but we struggled to get runs with two outs. I thought we hit the ball a lot better than five runs, but couldn’t get the big hits."
East Ridge0 2 0 2 0 1 1-691
Stillwater2 1 0 0 2 0 0-582
WP: Drew Molin 7-ip, 8-h, 5-r, 4-er, 2-bb, 3-so
LP: Tony Lennox 1-ip, 2-h, 1-r, 1-er, 1-bb, 0-so
Leading hitters: ER, Aaron Rau 2×3; St, Austin Holmberg 2×4 (2B), Aaron Romportl 1×4 (2B), Christian Abilla 2×3 (RBI), Zach Krenz 2×3 (2B), Scott Livermore 1×2 and Wyatt Kurzejeski 1×3 (2B).