A week away from the end of April the Faribault Bethlehem Academy Cardinals and Blooming Prairie Awesome Blossoms opened their baseball seasons Monday night.  The field in Blooming Prairie was in very good shape considering the latest snow deposited four inches on the field last week.  Both teams had 6 hits but the Awesome Blossoms hits were more timely producing a 6-3 win.

Senior Jack Abbe started the game for Blooming Prairie on the hill and went the first 5 innings.  He threw 73 pitches, 37 for strikes and got the win.  Abbe struggled throwing strikes but Bethlehem Academy couldn't get the timely hits.  Abbe finished his time on the mound with 5 walks but not a single walk scored for the Cardinals.  Abbe also had 3 strikeouts.

Junior Zach VanThomme started for Bethlehem Academy and also threw a lot of pitches.  In two and two-thirds innings VanThomme tossed 77 pitches, 41 for strikes.  He tallied 4 strikeouts, hit two batters, allowed 4 hits and collected 4 walks.  Three of the four Awesome Blossom hits came when the batter had a full count on them and the other hit came on an 0-2 count.

In the top of the first the Cardinals had a chance to score but couldn't get a hit off Abbe.  Sophomore Josh Oathoudt walked to start the game and was at second when VanThomme hit a grounder right at the third base bag fielded by Blooming Prairie third baseman Brad Staska.  Oathoudt dashed for third and was easily tagged out.  The number four Cardinal hitter, junior Jack Clark was walked on four pitches and Kyle Kohl grounded out to second to end the inning.

In the bottom of the first Payton Simon started the game for Blooming Prairie being hit by a pitch and stole second base.  VanThomme struck out the next two hitters looking and swinging before cleanup hitter Staska worked the count to 3-1 and knew VanThomme had to throw a strike so the senior jumped on the next pitch lacing it to right center field for an RBI double and the Awesome Blossoms were in business.  Senior Max Romeo followed with an RBI single before sophomore catcher Dylan Nirk was retired.

Bethlehem Academy responded with two runs in the second inning.  Sophomore shortstop Jack Jandro led the inning off with a single on an 0-1 count and then stole second base.  Freshman catcher Bo Dienst laid a bunt down the first base line that advanced Jandro to third and he scored on a freshman Lucas Linneman single.  After recording their second out Oathoudt had an infield hit and sophomore Spencer Ell smacked an RBI single and the game was tied at 2.

Blooming Prairie added two runs in the second when back to back walks of the number 7 and 8 batters started the inning.  Abbe had an RBI on an infield single following a wild pitch that allowed junior Colin Lerum to score and the Awesome Blossoms had a 4-2 lead.

The senior dominated Blooming Prairie team had two outs in the third inning before back to back walks of the numbers 8 and 9 batters in the order.  At that point Cardinal Head Coach Kevin Harman lifted his starting pitcher and brought in freshman lefty Jarrett Malecha.  He walked the first batter he faced before senior Lucas Noble connected on a 1-2 count for a RBI single and it was 6-2 Awesome Blossoms.

Malecha pitched two more innings before junior Jack Clark finished the game for the Cardinals.  The freshman had 48 pitches, 27 for strikes.  He struck out two, walked three and gave up two hits.  Clark threw 17 pitches, 8 for strikes and gave up no hits while hitting a batter and walking a batter in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The Cardinals added a run in the top of the 7th and the tying run was at the plate when the game ended.

Following Abbe's start Blooming Prairie Head Coach Matt Kittelson had Seth Peterson throw a inning and Lucas Noble throw a inning.

Noble walked Ell to start the 7th.  Following a fly out and a strike out Kohl was walked, Jandro smacked an RBI single, Dienst was hit by a pitch and the bags were juiced when number 8 Cardinal hitter Linneman was struck out to end the game.

Both teams stranded a lot of runners on the base paths in the game.  The Cardinals had 11 runners left, 7 in scoring position and Blooming Prairie stranded 10 runners on base, 8 were in scoring position.

Our Faribault State Farm Insurance agents Faribault players of the game were Jandro with a three hit day, a stolen base and RBI and Malecha for coming in relief and holding the Awesome Blossoms scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings.

I was told the game was not going to count in the conference standings.  The Gopher Conference has decided the second game between conference opponents will be counted for all teams toward the conference title.

Blooming Prairie is now 1-0 on the season and will host New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva Tuesday.

Bethlehem Academy now 0-1 will not be able to host the game scheduled Tuesday against NRHEG and Coach Harman said they were trying to arrange playing that game Thursday in Blooming Prairie.

Blooming Prairie Baseball Field. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld