OAK PARK HEIGHTS — Tony Lennox fired a shutout, allowing just three hits in the complete game, to help lead the Stillwater baseball team to a 5-0 victory over White Bear Lake in the first round of the Section 4AAA tournament on Thursday at Stillwater Area High School.
The sixth-seeded Ponies (12-8) move on to face third-seeded Mahtomedi in the quarterfinals on Saturday at McKnight Field in North St. Paul. Game time is 3 p.m.
Lennox, a senior, kept the Bears off balance throughout the game — allowing just one walk and inducing 15 ground ball along the way. He took a perfect game into the fifth inning.
“We played great defense and that was a pretty strong performance by Tony,” Ponies coach Mike Parker said. “We played error-free ball and he only walked one guy so that’s a recipe for success as a pitcher. If you get good defense and throw strikes, good things will happen.”
Stillwater took advantage of an error to spark a three-run third inning. Matt Fronczak reached on an error and advanced to second before Ethan Stanley bunted for a hit to put runners on first and third. Grant Moden laid down a safety squeeze bunt and reached to load the bases for Austin Holmberg, who drew a walk to push the first run across and Aaron Romportl followed with a two-run single to build a 3-0 lead.
“We took advantage of their error and startd a big inning with that,” Parker said. “Usually in high school, that’s how you see big innings start.”
The Ponies added two runs in the fourth, an inning that started with a base hit by Trevor Dudar. Ethan Stanley was hit by a pitch with one out and Moden fouled off three pitches before drawing a walk after starting the at bat with an 0-2 count. With the infield in, Holmberg blooped an infield single to score Dudar and Romportl executed a squeeze bunt to score Stanley for a 5-0 advantage.
Stillwater finished with eight hits, but for just the second time in 19 games Connor Johnston was held without one to snap a 14-game hitting streak.
W Bear Lake 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 3 2
Stillwater 0 0 3 2 0 0 X — 5 8 0
WP: Tony Lennox 7-ip, 3-h, 0-r, 0-er, 1-bb, 3-so
LP: Henck 3-ip, 4-h, 3-r, 2-er, 1-bb, 1-so
Leading hitters: WBL, Mulvaney 2×3 (2B); St, Holmberg 1×3 (2 RBI), Romportl 2×4 (3 RBI), Hodnefield 1×3, Dudar 2×3 (3B), Stanley 1×1 and Moden 1×2.
Contact Stuart Groskreutz at firstname.lastname@example.org
Roseville 8, Woodbury 2
Hill-Murray 3, South St. Paul 0
Stillwater 5, White Bear Lake 0
Cretin-Derham Hall 10, North St. Paul 0
At McKnight Field
#1 Tartan vs. #9 Roseville, 10 a.m.
#4 East Ridge vs. #5 Hill-Murray, 12:30 p.m.
#3 Mahtomedi vs. #6 Stillwater, 3 p.m.
#7 Cretin-Derham Hall vs. #2 Mounds View, 5:30 p.m.