ARDEN HILLS — Already facing a tall task against the defending Class AAA state champion, the Stillwater baseball team didn’t help its cause while committing eight errors in a 6-2 Suburban East Conference loss at Mounds View on Wednesday.
The Ponies (0-1 SEC, 0-1) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but could not overcome the fielding miscues as Mounds View charged back with a run in the bottom of the first and three more in the second.
“We made crucial errors with guys on base,” Stillwater coach Mike Parker said. “We expect a few early in the year, but to make that many against the preseason No. 1 ranked team we were lucky the score wasn’t much worse.”
Just one of the four runs charged to Ponies starter Nathan Mathwig was earned. Nick Teske allowed one run in 2 2/3 innings of relief.
Stillwater pulled within 5-2 with a run in the fifth, but the Mustangs answered with their final run in the bottom of the fifth.
Mounds View starter Sam Hentges held the Ponies to one run on two hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
“We have a young team so we’re learning,” Parker said. “We faced a very good pitcher, but that was also a game that Mounds View didn’t play their best. We didn’t field the ball in the infield at all, but guys played hard and with intensity. It wasn’t just our young guys, it was throughout the whole infield.”
The Ponies are hoping to avoid the slow start that plagued them last season when they began the season with just one conference victory in their first six games — though they finished with a 9-3 record over the last 12 games.
“I think our team has promise,” Parker said. “We saw some things hitting wise, and that will get better. I think good things are going to come, but we can’t wait like we did last year.”
Cory Albertson and Ethan Stanley each finished with two hits for the Ponies.
Stillwater 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 — 2 7 8
Mounds View 1 3 1 0 1 0 x — 6 9 0
WP: Sam Hentges 4-ip, 2-h, 1-r, 1-er, 2-bb, 8-so
LP: Nathan Mathwig 3-ip, 5-h, 4-r, 1-er, 1-bb, 0-so
Leading hitters: St, Cory Albertson 2×3 (2B), Ethan Stanley 2×4 (3B), Stephen Wagner 1×4, Trevor Dudar 1×4 and Stephen Albertson 1×4.