ST. PAUL — There was no easing into the Suburban East Conference schedule for the Stillwater baseball team, which fell to Cretin-Derham Hall 2-1 under rainy conditions on Wednesday, April 12.
The Raiders (1-1 SEC, 1-1) scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to hand Stillwater (0-1, 2-1) its first loss of the season. Cretin-Derham Hall and Stillwater join Woodbury (0-2, 2-2) as three of the conference favorites coming into the season, but all three have started slowly in conference play with a combined 1-4 record during the first week of play.
“Everybody is beating everybody,” Ponies coach Mike Parker said. “Looking at what’s happening, I think it can be our year but we just have to find the right combinations. We’re still messing with the players and hopefully we can come up with a lineup that works for us and maybe that has to be on my shoulders to figure out a lineup that works.”
After mustering just five hits in a 3-2 victory at Coon Rapids April 6 and collecting six in a season-opening win against Hudson, the Ponies were limited to just five hits against Cretin-Derham Hall.
Thanks to a strong performance by Graham Laubscher in his first appearance of the season, the Ponies carried a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth. Jack Koch started a two-run rally for the Raiders with a double off the wall and scored on a base hit that was misplayed, allowing the runner to reach second base. That was followed by another miscue in the outfield that allowed the go-ahead run to score for a 2-1 lead.
Just one of the runs charged to Laubscher was earned. The left-hander allowed just three hits and two walks with six strikeouts in six innings.
“Laubscher pitched extremely well and had control of the game,” Parker said. “We had a lot of confidence in how he was throwing and our guys played really well.”
Stillwater scored its lone run in the top of the third with some aggressive base running after a one-out double by Andrew Gilbert. Trevor Eder-Zdechlik followed with an infield single and Gilbert didn’t stop running after the ball was bobbled by the third baseman, scoring all the way from second on a close play at the plate.
“We took some chances,” Parker said. “We had the nine strikeouts even though we never thought he was a strikeout pitcher and five of the nine were called third strikes. We have to learn to defend a little better at the plate. We also had six fly balls, so we didn’t put enough pressure on their defense.”
After hosting Mounds View on April 13, the Ponies travel to East Ridge (April 17) and Forest Lake (April 19). The Rangers join Park atop the league standings at 2-0.
“I couldn’t say much, because they played a nice game,” Parker said. “Our offense is hurting right now, even in the two wins we didn’t score that many runs. Hopefully we get that turned around. Three of the balls we smashed (Wednesday) were really hard at people. They had one ball hit really well and it was the double.
“We have to bounce back.”
Stillwater 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 — 1 5 2
C-D Hall 0 0 0 0 0 2 x — 2 4 1
WP: Anthony Fumuso 6-ip, 5-h, 1-r, 0-er, 3-bb, 9-so
LP: Graham Laubscher 6-ip, 3-h, 2-r, 1-er, 2-bb, 6-so
Leading hitters: St, Trevor Eder-Zdechlik 1×3, Austin Murr 1×3, Cody Venske 1×3, Andrew Gilbert 1×3 (2B) and Mason Schwerzler 1×2; C-DH, Jack Koch 1×3 (2B).
Stillwater 3, Coon Rapids 2
At Coon Rapids, the Ponies scored three runs in the top of the first and made it stand up in a 3-2 nonconference baseball victory at Coon Rapids on Thursday, April 6.
Ben Peterson and Trevor Eder-Zdechlik drew walks to start the game and moved up on a double steal. Austin Murr followed with an RBI single and stole second before Will Frisch lifted a sacrifice fly to to score Eder-Zdechlik and push Murr to third. Matthew Stanton then plated Murr with a ground out for Stillwater’s final run.
Mason Schwerzler started for the Ponies and gave up one earned run and two overall in the third, but Owen Sutherland followed with three scoreless innings before Frisch notched his second save of the season.
“We’re not walking a lot of guys, which is nice,” Stillwater coach Mike Parker said. “Our outfield play has been tough, but our infield has bailed us out with some great plays. Trevor Eder-Zdechlik made two great plays at shortstop. Even though we made three errors, we made three or four really outstanding plays.”
Murr collected two hits to lead the Ponies, who also received a hit each from Eder-Zdechlik, Cody Venske and Fisher Jakupciak.
“It would have been nice to get some more runs after the first inning,” Parker said. “The wind was blowing in and that made it tough for both teams to score runs.”
Stillwater 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 3 5 3
Coon Rapids 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 — 2 3 0
WP: Owen Sutherland 3-ip, 0-h, 0-r, 0-er, 0-bb, 1-so
Leading hitters: St, Trevor Eder-Zdechlik 1×2, Austin Murr 2×3 (RBI), Cody Venske 1×3 and Fisher Jakupciak 1×3.