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Storm Lake 3 Bancroft 1
Eze Encarnacion’s single in the ninth was the difference as the Storm Lake Whitecaps topped the Bancroft Bandits 3-1 in Bancroft Saturday night.
The late inning heroics continued for the Whitecaps, one night after Christian Pena’s single scored two runs in the ninth and won the game against Albert Lea, it was Encarnacion’s turn to be the hero. His single plated Mason Pryzbilla and Tony Nichols, helping the Whitecaps win their second game in a row and third of the season.
The Whitecaps never trailed in this game as they scored the game’s first run all the way back in the third inning, Anthony Stewart scored on a Bancroft error.
The Bandits would tie the game at one when Alex Remy led off the bottom of the fifth with a lead off home run. Bancroft would load the bases later in that same inning but Whitecaps starter Spencer Wyent got Bo Fricks to ground to end the inning.
It would be the Whitecaps loading the bases in the seventh with just one out, but Bancroft pitched Dion Felger induced a 1-2-3 double play to escape the jam and keep the game tied.
Both teams went down in order in the eighth to set up the ninth inning drama. Bancroft elected to Felger start the ninth but after a hit by pitch and an error gave the Whitecaps runners on the corners, Felger was lifted for Thomas Ruwe.
After another error loaded the bases, Ruwe got leadoff hitter Casey Berg to pop up.
But on the very first pitch of the at bat, Encarnacion got the pitch he wanted and drove in the go ahead runs.
Bancroft would get the tying runs on in the bottom of the ninth but Clayton Lieb got Todd Jackson to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game and pick up the win.
Both starting pitchers were incredible in this game, Wyent threw seven strong innings, giving up five hits, three walks, and just the one run while striking out four. Dion Felger threw 8+ innings, all three Storm Lake runs were charged to him. He allowed seven hits over the course of the night, walked only one and struck out three.
Clayton Lieb ends up getting the win for Storm Lake. He threw two no-hit innings and struck out the side in the eighth.
Berg, Pena, and Stewart all finished with two hits for the Whitecaps, while Remy finished 1 for 3, and Colin Brophy logged a double for the Bandits.
These two teams will finish their weekend series today in Storm Lake.
Carroll 8 Sioux Falls 7
After being shutout by the Sioux Falls pitching staff for 14 consecutive innings, the Carroll Merchants offense finally solved the Gold puzzle and was able to leave town with a split of their weekend series.
A wild pitch allowed Bradley Sanford to score what would be the game-winning run in the top of the ninth of Carroll’s 8-7 victory in Sioux Falls.
The Merchants fell behind early as Patrick O’Donnell crushed a 2-run home run to left field, that is his first of the summer and the Gold has a 2-0 lead.
It would stay quiet all the way until the sixth as Sioux Falls starter David Flattery was cruising along. He was lifted for Caleb Stratmoen and that’s when Carroll found their groove.
Two hits, three free passes and one wild pitch allowed the Merchants to score three runs and take the lead. Nolan Friedrichs and Eric Yachinich each had RBI singles in the inning.
The Gold would respond in their next at bat. With a runner on first and two outs, Matt Morgan singled, Cole Jensen doubled, and John Holleran singled to give Sioux Falls three runs back. Three batters later Lucas Berry worked a bases loaded walk to score Holleran and give the Gold a 6-3 lead.
In the eighth, Sanford would welcome new pitcher Brody Hagel-Pitt to the game with a leadoff home run to right center field. Then with Yachinich and Mitchell McCallister on, Zach Berry’s ground out scored Yachinich to bring Carroll within one.
Next batter, Zach Ruckman, picked a very opportune time for his first hit of the game, that scored McCallister and tied the game at six.
To the ninth we go, still tied, the Merchants get runners on the corners with just one out. Sioux Falls elects to intentionally walk pinch-hitter Michael Davila which loads the bases for Yachinich. The 0-1 pitch gets away from Hagel-Pitt, hits Yachinich which allows the go-ahead run to score. Sanford would score on a wild pitch in the next at bat to make the score 8-6 heading to the bottom of the ninth.
An interesting decision by Carroll manager Zak Larkin to pull Jeremy Thorson before the ninth, Thorson had sat down out six Gold players he had faced, including striking out the side in the eighth.
Instead it would be Connor Forsythe looking for the save and he would lose a nine-pitch at bat to Tiegen Lindner who singled to start the inning. After striking out the next batter, in an attempt to pick off Lindner, Forsythe makes an errant throw to allow Lindner to advance to third. To make matters worse, Forsythe is then called for a balk and Lindner is allowed to score. O’Donnell would win his nine-pitch at bat and walk.
With the winning run at the plate, the Merchants go to Jacob Rosales out of the pen. After striking out clean-up hitter Derek Dahlke for the 2nd out, Rosales allows a single to Ford Schroeder which puts the winning run on base. A wild pitch would move the tying and winning runs into scoring position.
Morgan would end up walking on yet another nine-pitch at bat, giving Cole Jensen a shot at another Sioux Falls walk-off.
Rosales would dig deep and strike out Jensen on three pitches securing the save for himself and the win for his team.
Nolan Friedrichs was on fire Saturday as he finished 4 for 4, with a RBI and a walk. Yachinich finished 3 for 4 with 2 RBI and a hit by pitch. In addition to his home run, Bradley Sanford had two hits, 2 runs scored, a walk and was also hit by a pitch.
Thorson gets the win after two shutout innings, Rosales gets the first save of the year for the Merchants.
For the Gold, O’Donnell and Jensen had the only extra bases hits. The offense was as balanced as it could be, Sioux Falls finished with six hits, all coming from six different players. They showed great patience at the plate, drawing nine walks on the day.
Brody Hagel-Pitt gets the loss after surrendering five runs in the final two innings of the game, David Flattery winds up with the no decision despite throwing five shutout innings.
The Gold return to action on Tuesday as they travel to take on the Storm Lake Whitecaps, while the Merchants are off until Thursday when they host the Albert Lea Lakers.
Sioux Falls 1 Carroll 0
SIOUX FALLS, SD – Another home opener and another walk-off for the home team. The Sioux Falls Gold were the latest team in the Pioneer League to send their fans home happy on opening night.
Mitch Gullikson was the hero as his single scored Derek Dahlke for the only run of the game in Sioux Falls’ 1-0 win over the Carroll Merchants.
Dahlke led off the inning with a single and then moving into scoring position after another hit by Lucas Berry. After a ground out by Matt Morgan moved both runners into scoring position, the stage was set for Gullikson’s heroics.
The game winning hit was Gullikson’s second of the night as he finished 2 for 4.
Dahlke and Tiegen Lindner both had two hits as well in the win for the Gold.
On the hill, Joey Cardamon was electrifying as he threw seven scoreless inning, allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out six. Ben Moran took over in the eighth and wound up with the win as he finished off the combined shutout.
Connor Forsythe was tagged with the loss as he gave three hits to the five batters he faced in two-thirds of an inning. Patrick Morrow was also sensational on the mound, throwing eight shutout innings, striking out eight and only allowing four hits.
For the Merchants, Nolan Friedrichs went 2 for 4 and Zach Berry notched a double in the loss.
These two teams meet again tonight as the Merchants will look to avenge another walk-off.
Storm Lake 9 Albert Lea 8
In the other home opener on Friday night, the Albert Lea Lakers’ fans had their part spoiled by the Storm Lake Whitecaps and Christian Pena specifically.
Pena’s RBI single in the the top of the ninth was the difference as the Whitecaps came from behind and then held on to win their second game of the year.
It was a back-and-forth affair between these expansion clubs. The Lakers came out swinging as they built a 4-0 lead after two innings.
The Whitecaps started their comeback in the fifth as they took advantage of a Albert Lea error and a free pass, Eze Encarnacion’s single brought home two runs and the ‘Caps would add one more cutting the deficit to 4-3.
After the Lakers got a run in the bottom of the fifth, the Whitecaps had themselves a huge sixth. Anthony Stewart brought home a run with an RBI single, two batters later, Encarnacion reached on an error but that miscue also brought home two runs. Next up was Christian Montero who delivers another hit, that plated Casey Berg and Encarnacion to give Storm Lake an 8-5 lead.
The Lakers fought back in the bottom half of the inning as Freddy Gonzalez’s double scored Jack Hemsath and Evan Kayser to bring the home team within one at the end of six.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Lakers tied the game with a tape-measure home run off the bat of Darek Sargent, his first of the summer, and we would go to the ninth tied at eight.
Montero would lead off the inning with a single and then steal second base to get himself into scoring position. He would advance to third on a ground out by Jason Galleano.
After Blake Bagenstos got Andrew Kasperbauer to ground out. Pena belted out what would be the dagger for the Whitecaps, scoring Montero and giving his team a 9-8 lead.
The Lakers would threaten in the bottom of the ninth, getting the tying run on third and the winning run on second. But Casey Berg would slam the door shut, striking out Jamell Newson and securing the Whitecaps 9-8 victory.
In addition to scoring the game winning run, Montero finished 2 for 5 with a pair of runs batted in. Kasperbauer also went 2 for 5 with a double.
Casey Berg got the win after throwing 3 1/3 innings. He gave up just one run on two hits in relief.
For the Lakers, Gonzalez was the catalyst for that offense, going 3 for 4 with two doubles and 2 RBI. Sargent’s home run was the first of the year for the Lakers and he finished 1 for 3 with two runs scored and 2 walks.
The Lakers are off until Wednesday when they’ll host the Bancroft Bandits, meanwhile the Whitecaps will be taking on the Bandits tonight in Bancroft.
Lakers 10 Merchants 8
CARROLL, Iowa – After not scoring in their opening game, the Albert Lea Lakers had some extended time to work on their swings… and it paid off.
The Lakers picked up their first win in franchise history as they took down the Carroll Merchants by a score of 10-8 at Merchants Park.
It didn’t take long for Albert Lea to break the goose egg as they plated their first run of the game in the top of the first, as a Carroll error allowed Derek Johnson to score and give the Lakers the early lead.
The Merchants would come right back in the bottom half of the opening frame, Sean Moore scored on a Ben McConnell sacrifice fly to tie the game followed by a two-run home run by Mitchell McCallister that put Carroll ahead 3-1.
The Albert Lea offense would not let up, scoring another run in the second and third innings which tied the game. Then they gained the lead in the fourth as Johnson’s single brought home Evan Wick and Jamell Newson.
Carroll would tie the game at five in the fifth, McCallister’s deep fly to center had enough distance to score Moore from third.
The game would remain tied until the eighth inning, a combination of walks, errors and hits allowed the Lakers to put up five runs to take a commanding 10-5 lead.
Three hits and a walk would get Carroll back into the game, they got three runs in the bottom half of the inning to put the pressure on the Lakers heading to the ninth.
Yeisel Valdez, who was brought in for the seventh inning, stayed calm under pressure, he was able to retire pinch hitter Zach Berry to end the game and seal the win.
Johnson, Jack Hemsath, and Evan Wick all picked up two hits in the win for the Lakers. Valdez gets the win on the hill.
Moore was the catalyst for the Carroll offense as he went 4 for 5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Bradley Sanford had a heck of a night, albeit short-lived, coming off the bench he went 2 for 2 with a pair of doubles. Michael Davila also had two hits in the loss.
Jacob Rosales takes the loss for Carroll, he gave up three hits, four walks and four runs over four innings pitched.
The Lakers are off until Friday, when they host the Storm Lake Whitecaps in their home opener. The Carroll Merchants will get Thursday off as well before a two day trip to Sioux Falls for a battle with the Gold.
Bandits 9 Whitecaps 7
BANCROFT, Iowa – The Bancroft Bandits once again got on a roller coaster of emotions in Wednesday’s game but fortunately for them, this time around they came out on top.
The Bandits knocked off the Storm Lake Whitecaps by a score of 9-7 despite allowing six runs in the fifth inning. That was because of hot start from the home squad. Joey Machuga got the party started with a solo home run in the first. That was followed up by Bo Fricks’ bases clearing double in the second inning, the Bandits led 5-0 after two innings.
The Whitecaps got one in the third before their monster fifth inning. Christian Pena and Anthony Stewart both knocked in runs with their respective doubles. Tony Nichols also had an RBI single in the inning.
Bancroft was able to tie the game in the 6th as Jace Komminsk belted a run scoring single and Machuga drove in another run as well.
We went to eighth inning knotted up at seven and that’s when the bottom of the Bancroft lineup came through again. Brandon Dodd and Greg Brown worked a pair of walks to start the inning. After they were bunting over into scoring position, it was Colin Brophy who drove them in with a triple.
The ’Caps had no answer going down 1-2-3 in the ninth.
Fricks led all Bandit hitters with two hits of his own and three runs batted in. The seven and eight hitters Dodd and Brown combined to score six runs on the night.
For the Whitecaps, Nichols went 2 for 3 with a run batted in, Andew Kasperbauer, Jason Galleano, Pena and Stewart all logged hits and scored a run in a losing effort.
The Bandits will look to keep their winning ways going on Saturday when they once again host these Whitecaps.
Storm Lake will return home to take on the Sioux Falls Gold, who will be playing in their first game of the 2017 season.
We are finally back for episode two of the Pioneer League Podcast and on this episode Vinnie Perricelli breaks down the first weekend of action. We are also joined by Zak Larkin of the Carroll Merchants and we get his take on his team’s first three games of the summer.
You can listen to the podcast right here:
At long last… summer has arrived!
Tonight the Pioneer League kicks off its inaugural season with a pair of games in the state of Iowa.
In the northern part of the hawkeye state, the expansion Albert Lea Lakers hit the road to battle the Bancroft Bandits. While the population of Bancroft may be small, just 732, they pack the house as the Bandits have become a summer staple in just their second year of competing.
Coach Phil Savage has put together an impressive club, a number of top rated young players join a crafty group of veterans which should make a good mix for the summer.
The Albert Lea Lakers will be a young squad as they start their first season as a team, but Coach Sam Schumacher is confident in his team’s abilities. They boast an athletic core that could smell trouble for the rest of the league.
These two teams meet in the first of two, tonight at Bancroft Memorial Park.
A little ways south, we have another expansion team taking on a second year club. The new Storm Lake Whitecaps will make their return to the diamond for the first time since 1940. They will be led by Storm Lake native Nic Seaman, a 2013 graduate of Storm Lake High School.
The ’Caps will be looking to make a big splash as they take on the Carroll Merchants at Merchants Stadium.
Zak Larkin is at the helm of the Carroll squad, boasting the most out-of-the-area players for the league. They are led by a trio of players from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
June has finally arrived and so has the start of the inaugural season for the Pioneer Collegiate Baseball League! Stay tuned to our website after the game as we recap the action from night one of the 2017 season!