Faribault Baseball Close but Winona Prevails
The Faribault Falcon baseball team Tuesday night made the long trip to Winona, led the game late but fell 6-4. The Falcons struggled at the plate but were still able to take a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the 6th inning.
The first three innings a pitching duel broke out with sophomore John Palmer toeing the rubber for Faribault and senior Spencer Wright for Winona. Wright faced one batter over the minimum through the first three innings striking out 6 of the 10 batters he faced.
Palmer pitched into and out of two jams in the first three innings. The Winhawks had bases loaded and one out in the first inning when Palmer struck out the #5 and #6 batters to end the threat. In the third inning there was one out with a runner on third base for Winona and Palmer left him stranded there again ending the inning with a strikeout.
The Winhawks started the bottom of the 4th inning with a ground out followed by successive hits at the bottom of the order. #6 hitter Brody Bittle blooped a single to right field. That was followed by a double off the bat of Dayne Gamoke. Both hits came on the first pitch thrown by Palmer. On a 1-1 count the #8 batter Grant Butengard clubbed a double to the right field corner plating the first two runs of the game. Palmer struck out the next batter before walking the lead-off man, Matt Rinehart. Rinehart stole second to place runners at second and third with two outs. Palmer got another strike out to end an inning and hold the damage to two runs.
Palmer hitting in the #8 spot had a single in the third inning for Faribault's only hit until the fourth inning when they took a 4-2 lead with the benefit of just one hit. Palmer opened the inning with a walk then stole second base with #9 batter Jake Dolter at the plate. Dolter hit a ball to the first baseman which was booted for an error. Dolter stole second base and the Falcons were in business with nobody out and runners at second and third.
At the top of the order Maverick Jeanes coaxed a walk to load the bases. On a 1-2 count senior Andy Prange smacked a solid single to score Palmer and Dolter and place runners at the corners again. Mitch Nelson grounded out to third base for the first out. Jeanes scored on a wild pitch, Prange scored on a wild pitch. Senior Joe Palmer was walked, stole second and was at third base when a strike out and dribbler to the pitcher ended the inning.
Winona answered in the bottom of the sixth with 4 runs on 4 hits. Joe Palmer opened the inning with the #7 and #8 batters connecting for a single and double. The #9 batter executed a perfect sacrifice bunt. Rinehart connected on a 2-0 pitch for a grounder to third base that ended in an error in my scorebook to score another run.
Falcons Head Coach Charlie Lechtenberg lifted John Palmer for Joe Palmer with the score tied at 4 but the runner on base due to the error was on the younger Palmer's ledger. A ground out was recorded for the second out. #3 Winhawks batter Sam Nassick hit a 0-1 fastball for an RBI single they cleanup hitter Jaylen Vaughn jumped on the first pitch fastball for a triple. Vaughn's courtesy runner was stranded at third base thanks to a strike out of the next batter but Winona was up 6-4.
In the top of the 7th inning Nassick came in to pitch. He was throwing some serious gas and struck out the #7 and #8 batters for Faribault looking. Junior Jake Dolter had a slow roller to second he beat out for an infield hit. Jeanes hit a grounder to third base and was safe on an error. With two down the Falcons had the tying run in scoring position but a ball hit back to the pitcher ended the game.
The Falcons had three hits in the game. Palmer, Dolter, Prange had the hits and were named our Faribault State Farm Insurance agents Faribault players of the game.
Winona stranded 9 runners on base, 7 in scoring position while Faribault had 4 runners left on the basepaths, 3 in scoring position. Each team had two errors. The Winhawks tallied 9 hits.
Winona is 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the Big Nine with their other wins against Northfield, Mankato West, Rochester Mayo and Red Wing. Their only conference loss has been to Austin.
The Falcons dropped to 0-7, travel to Albert Lea Thursday. Winona is in Northfield Thursday.
In other Big 9 action Tuesday:
- Rochester Mayo 5 Albert Lea 1
- Rochester Century 7 Northfield 3
- Red Wing 2 Mankato West 1
- Rochester John Marshall 4 Mankato East 1
- Owatonna 10 Austin 9