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Titans pop Pioneers as Winter goes the distance and K’s 10
The Hill-Murray Pioneers hosted the Tartan Titans in the cool, breezy, overcast weather of May 7, in a Classic Suburban Conference baseball game.
On the mound for the Titans was Eric Winter. The senior hurler went the distance and on a couple of occasions pitched his way out of two or three difficult situations.
Winter struck out 10 Pioneers, allowed seven hits and walked one in gaining his second win against one setback this season.
“I had my curve on point today,” smiled Winter when informed he had 10 K’s. “I was able to locate my curve where I wanted. That set up my fastball. My control was definitely good today. I felt I was in the zone and could put the ball where I wanted.”
Winter led off the game and banged a single. He stole second in front of a walk to Nolan Russell. A double play later and Winter moved to third. Designated hitter Connor O’Sullivan slapped a shot through the right side hole and Winter scored to give Tartan a 1-0 margin.
In the last of the first Hill-Murray erased the leeway. Andrew Traeger led off and was safe on a throwing error. Charlie Hilger banged a shot to the left side and was safe when Traeger was erased at second. Zach Mills stepped in and picked up a RBI on a double — he had a 3-for-3 (all doubles) day — to left centerfield.
With the score knotted at 1-1 both hurlers settled down and the game moved to the sixth before the numbers on the scoreboard changed.
In the top of the sixth, Titan Jay Zwak worked a leadoff walk. A strike out later Chad Tschida also worked a walk off relief pitcher Joe Swanson. The pair moved up the paths on a throwing error at first on a ball hit by Mitch Perkins-Cozatt.
In stepped Winter and banged a sacrifice fly to deep left center to plate Zwak. Tschida and Perkins-Cozatt attempted a double steal and when the peg skipped down the line into left field, Tschida scrambled home to run the count to 3-1.
In the last of the sixth the Pioneers loaded the bases with no outs on back-to-back doubles by Hilger and Mills followed by a walk to Alex Ogren.
Winter then picked up his ninth strike-out. At that point, a swinging bunt bounced high off the plate. Tartan catcher Russell grabbed the ball, stepped on the plate for a force at home before throwing to first for the third out and Tartan was out of the inning.
The top of the ninth saw O’Sullivan gain second on an over throw at first. Zwak singled to push O’Sullivan to third and Eric Reddy picked a RBI with a single up the middle. When O’Sullivan touched home, the Titans had the 4-1 lead with which the game would end.
“It was a good ball game. I thought both pitchers threw well,” Tartan head coach Curt Russell said. “Our guy is a competitor. He got us out of a couple of what could have been tough innings for us. They had the bases loaded with no outs in the sixth and had two runners on with no outs on other occasions. The big double play we had was huge for us. I think I may be getting too old for this!”
From the Hill-Murray standpoint head coach Charlie Cicalello agreed, “It was a good game. I thought both pitchers threw well. We had a little trouble with a couple of errors and a few walks that hurt us. You can’t give a good ball club like Tartan four or five outs in an inning like we did and expect to win many games. We’ll regroup and come back better in our next outing.”
With the regular season winding down, Hill-Murray is next scheduled to play a double header May 15, 4:15 p.m., at North.
The Tartan Titans have three games left on their schedule. May 17, 7 p.m., they travel to Richfield. May 16, 4:15 p.m., they stay on the road to play North. The Titans are scheduled to wrap up the regular season at home with a non-conference game 4:15 p.m., May 10, against St. Paul Academy-Summit.
With the uncertainty of the weather this spring, there have been many rescheduled games. Rescheduled contests may be found by going to www.classicsuburban.org.
Click on the school. Scroll to the sport, then click on “view” to see revamped schedules.