By STUART GROSKREUTZ
ST. PAUL – A fast start on Saturday helped carry the Stillwater baseball team to a 5-4 victory over Mounds View in a Section 4AAA elimination game at Midway Stadium.
The Ponies (17-7) scored four runs with two outs in the first and added a decisive run in the second to knock off the third-seeded Mustangs (13-8).
Christian Abilla singled with two outs to ignite Stillwater’s first-inning rally. Joe Stanton, who notched the win with five innings of work on the mound, followed with a walk and Aaron Romportl delivered an RBI single. Connor Johnston connected on a ball that deflected off the pitcher for a hit and a subsequent throwing error allowed the third run to score. Scott Livermore finished the scoring with a base hit to provide a 4-0 lead.
"We finally got a two-out rally going," Ponies coach Mike Parker said. "That was huge, especially against (pitcher Matt Herringshaw) because he’s a quality pitcher and got tougher as the game went on. We got some breaks early and were able to get the lead."
The Mustangs answered with two runs in the top of the second, but Stillwater scored what turned out to be the winning run in the bottom of the second on an RBI single by Abilla. Austin Holmberg and Zach Krenz bunted for hits to set up Abilla’s run-scoring hit.
Stanton, who allowed seven hits and four walks with four strikeouts in five innings, departed after giving up consecutive walks to start the fifth. Peterson gave up a single to the first batter he faced, but then retired the next three batters to maintain a 5-3 lead. Playing at first base, Johnston made a diving catch on a line drive for the third out of the inning.
"That was really big," Parker said.
The Mustangs added a run in the seventh before Peterson ended the threat.
M. View0 2 0 1 0 0 1-4112
Stillwater4 1 0 0 0 0 x-5111
WP: Joe Stanton 5-ip, 7-h, 3-r, 3-er, 4-bb, 4-so
LP: Matt Herringshaw 6-ip, 8-h, 5-r, 5-er, 2-bb, 4-so
Leading hitters: MV, Quinn Madsen 2×4 (2B, 3B) and Lars Anderson 2×4 (2B); St, Austin Holmberg 1×4, Zach Krenz 1×4, Christian Abilla 2×3, Aaron Romportl 2×3, Connor Johnston 1×3, Scott Livermore 2×3, Wyatt Kurzejeski 1×2 and Alex Haas 1×1.