Baseball: Ponies pull away from Park in 8 innings

Second baseman Matt Fronczak fires a throw to first to complete one of three double plays turned by Stillwater during Monday’s 4-1 Suburban East Conference loss to East Ridge at Stillwater Area High School. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz)

Second baseman Matt Fronczak fires a throw to first to complete one of three double plays turned by Stillwater during Monday’s 4-1 Suburban East Conference loss to East Ridge at Stillwater Area High School. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz)

COTTAGE GROVE — Limited to one run or less in four of six games prior to Tuesday, the Stillwater baseball team broke loose with a five-run eighth inning to defeat Park 10-5 in a Suburban East Conference game at Park High School.

The Ponies (2-5 SEC, 2-5) racked up a season-high 13 hits to pull out the win after coughing up a two-run lead in the bottom of the seventh. Austin Holmberg notched the victory despite allowing two runs on four hits and a walk in the seventh inning.

Trailing 3-2 after five innings, the Ponies pulled even with a run in the sixth and added two in the seventh to take a short-lived 5-3 lead. John Craig drew a pinch hit walk to start the inning and Aaron Romportl followed with an RBI double. After stealing third, Romportl scored on a base hit by Holmberg.

The Wolfpack rallied with two runs in the bottom of the seventh before Stillwater took control for good in the eighth. Sophomore Ethan Stanley led off the inning with a triple and scored on a pinch hit single by Trevor Dudar. Holmberg followed with a two-out single and Connor Johnston was issued a walk to load the bases for Andy Peterson, who plated two runs with a double for an 8-5 lead. Sam Hodnefield and Grant Moden added RBI singles to widen the gap for the Ponies.

“The big thing is that we only had three strikeouts in an eight-inning game,” Ponies coach Mike Parker said. “We were able to work their pitcher and did pretty well hitting, but Park also fielded well. We had a lot of different guys get hits and it was a good team effort.”

TJ Galenti started for the Ponies and struck out six while allowing three runs in six innings. Nathan Mathwig replaced Holmberg and threw a 1-2-3 eighth to close out the victory.

Holmberg led the Ponies with three hits while Johnston reached in all five of his plate appearances, drawing three walks to go along with two hits.

 

Stillwater 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 5 — 10 13 1

Park 0 0 2 0 1 0 2 0 — 5 8 0

 

WP: Austin Holmberg 1-ip, 4-h, 2-r, 2-er, 1-bb, 3-so

 

Leading hitters: St, Aaron Romportl 1×3 (2B, RBI), Holmberg 3×5 (RBI), Connor Johnston 2×2 (3 BB, RBI), Andy Peterson 1×3 (2B, 3 RBI), Sam Hodnefield 2×3 (RBI), Grant Moden 1×4 (RBI), Ethan Stanley 2×4 (3B) and Trevor Dudar 1×1 (RBI); Par, Chandler Mulvihill 2×4.

 

East Ridge 4, Stillwater 1

At Oak Park Heights, the bats remained quiet for the Stillwater baseball team on Monday in a 4-1 Suburban East Conference loss to East Ridge at Stillwater Area High School.

Staked to a 4-0 lead after three innings, Drew Molin allowed just five hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in the complete game victory for the Raptors.

Stillwater’s Austin Holmberg drives this pitch to the warning track in deep center for a long out in Monday’s loss to the Raptors.

Stillwater’s Austin Holmberg drives this pitch to the warning track in deep center for a long out in Monday’s loss to the Raptors.

Andy Peterson was solid on the mound for the Ponies while allowing just one earned run, but the lineup was unable to provide much assistance. He gave up five walks and five hits with six strikeouts in six innings.

“We made a couple of costly errors early and it gave them the runs,” Ponies coach Mike Parker said. “Andy pitched fine and both innings they scored were the innings we made errors. It’s more our bats. We should be able to score more than one run, but it’s been the same story and we just have too many strikeouts. We weren’t able to test the other team’s defense enough and had too many strikeouts against a control pitcher — not necessarily a strikeout pitcher, but he’s a good lefty and he caused us some problems obviously.”

Stillwater turned three double plays in the game, but didn’t spoil Molin’s shutout bid until scoring once in the seventh inning.

“(Matt) Fronczak and (Aaron) Romportl are playing great defense right now and both have been really solid the whole year,” Parker said. “Romportl is one of our best third basemen we’ve had defensively and Matt is consistent at second base. Our defense and pitching are fine.”

 

East Ridge 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 — 4 5 1

Stillwater 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 — 1 5 3

 

WP: Drew Molin 7-ip, 5-h, 1-r, 1-er, 1-bb, 7-so

LP: Andy Peterson 6-ip, 5-h, 4-r, 1-er, 5-bb, 6-so

 

Leading hitters: St, Connor Johnston 1×2 (2B), Grant Moden 1×3, Sam Hodnefield 1×3, Austin Holmberg 1×3 and Aaron Romportl 1×4 (2B).

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