St. Croix Central baseball time climbs above .500 in Dunn-St. Croix ConferenceThe 0-2 start for the St. Croix Central baseball team in Dunn-St. Croix Conference play is long-forgotten.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The 0-2 start for the St. Croix Central baseball team in Dunn-St. Croix Conference play is long-forgotten.
The Panthers earned their third straight D-SC win on Monday, pulling out a thriller with two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Mondovi 8-7.
The three wins move the Panthers up to third place in the D-SC large school division.
Central got a break to start the bottom of the seventh inning when Anthony Phillips reached on an error. He moved up on a wild pitch and scored the tying run on a single by Alex Adkins. Two walks loaded the bases.
When the Mondovi coach went to the mound to calm his pitcher, Central coach Jason Koele decided to make an aggressive call. He huddled with senior Isaiah Krogseng, instructing him to attempt a squeeze bunt on Mondovi’s first pitch to him.
The bunt caught Mondovi completely by surprise. Krogseng perfectly placed the bunt between the pitcher and first baseman, giving Adkins plenty of time to scoot home with the winning run.
Koele said Krogseng earned the chance to try the suicide squeeze.
“Isaiah and Alex Adkins are two of our best bunters,” Koele said.
The Panthers generated six hits in the game, two of them coming from senior Dan Sukowatey.
Both teams had big innings early in the game. Central took advantage of three walks to score five runs in the second inning. Run-scoring hits by Mitch Katner and Tyler Lathe were key parts of the rally.
Mondovi offset that rally by scoring six times in the third inning. It was a tough inning for the Panthers. They committed two costly errors and pitcher Kyle Tallman was drilled in the hip by a line drive. He kept pitching and was able to complete the game. Tallman gave up six hits in the win, striking out six batters and walking seven.
Tallman is one of several Panther pitchers who will be counted on more heavily over the rest of the season. That’s because senior Mike Nelson suffered a broken collarbone during practice last Friday. Nelson tried to backhand a ball and came down heavily on his left shoulder. Koele said Nelson is holding out hope that he can return to the Panthers by the time the WIAA playoffs begin.
Central’s game at Colfax last Thursday was postponed and will be played on Friday, May 4. The Panthers are probably wishing last Tuesday’s game against Luck would have been postponed too. The Panthers weren’t able to get any offense flowing. They were held to four hits in a 4-2 loss.
About the only bright spot in that game was the pitching of Lathe, who allowed four hits and one earned run in five innings of work.
The Panthers begin the second round of conference play this Thursday when they play at Boyceville. The Panthers will play at home next Monday against Elk Mound.