Baseball: Stillwater topples Raiders in season opener

OAK PARK HEIGHTS — A season-opening victory came at a cost for the Stillwater baseball team, which knocked off Hudson 5-2 in a nonconference game on Tuesday, April 4 at Stillwater Area High School.

The Ponies (1-0) scored two runs in the bottom of the fifth, but also lost versatile senior Thomas Bruchu to a broken leg that occurred while sliding into second with an RBI double to provide a 4-2 lead.

Bruchu, a pitcher/catcher/third baseman, was scheduled to pitch Thursday’s nonconference game at Coon Rapids, but will instead be sidelined for about six weeks according to Ponies coach Mike Parker.

“He’s a tough kid, but he was in a lot of pain so you knew it was something bad,” Parker said.

The game was tied 2-all in the fifth when Ben Peterson drew a walk to start the two-run rally. Cody Venske laid down a bunt and runners ended up on second and third after a throwing error on the play. Trevor Eder-Zdechlik’s squeeze bunt pushed the go-ahead run across and Bruchu followed with his RBI double to score Venske.

“He turned a single into a double and it was a fantastic play, but he slid late and caught something,” Parker said. “He was our No. 1 pitcher, he’s a captain and a college prospect, so hopefully he’ll get back and help us towards playoffs. It’s not something where any one person is going to fill in, so we will have to take a little bit from everybody.”

Stillwater added a run in the sixth as Austin Murr singled and stole second before scoring on a base hit to left-center by Will Frisch, who also struck out two while collecting the save while pitching a scoreless seventh.

The Ponies scored two runs in the bottom of the second to grab an early lead, though Hudson answered with two runs to tie the game in the top of the third. Matthew Stanton walked for the Ponies in the second before courtesy runner Matthew Crowell stole second and scored on a two-out double by Mason Schwerzler. Peterson followed with a single up the middle to plate Schwerzler.

“We’ve got some work to do, hitting-wise, but I like our defense right now and our guys work hard,” Parker said.

Venske notched the victory for Stillwater while allowing just one hit in three innings. Peterson started for the Ponies and threw 2 1/3 innings. He allowed two hits and two runs.

Hud 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 — 2 3 3

Still 0 2 0 0 2 1 x — 5 6 2

WP: Cody Venske 3-ip, 1-h, 0-r, 0-er, 0-bb, 2-so

Leading hitters: St, Trevor Eder-Zdechlik 1×2 (RBI), Thomas Bruchu 1×3 (2B, RBI), Austin Murr 1×3, Will Frisch 1×3 (RBI), Mason Schwerzler 1×3 (2B, RBI) and Ben Peterson 1×1 (RBI).