Baseball: Lennox blanks White Bear Lake

Stillwater senior Aaron Romportl drops down a successful squeeze bunt during the fourth inning of Thursday’s Section 4AAA victory over White Bear Lake at Stillwater Area High School. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz)

Stillwater senior Aaron Romportl drops down a successful squeeze bunt during the fourth inning of Thursday’s Section 4AAA victory over White Bear Lake at Stillwater Area High School. (Gazette staff photos by Stuart Groskreutz)

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.

Stillwater shortstop Andy Peterson fires a throw to first for an out on Thursday.

Stillwater shortstop Andy Peterson fires a throw to first for an out on Thursday.

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 stuart.groskreutz@ecm-inc.com

Section 4AAA

First round

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

Saturday’s quarterfinals

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.

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