By PATRICK SLACK
The Pierz baseball team scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning before loading the bases with one out, Thursday.
But junior Gabe Ploof and Little Falls held off a seventh-inning rally to come away with a 6-5 win at Pierz, Thursday.
The Flyers carried a 6-2 lead into the seventh and proceeded to put its first two runners on base, but a double play ball kept Pierz within four.
The Pioneers opened the bottom of the frame by loading the bases on walks by juniors Jon Fuhrman and Ben Boser and a single by Brad Meyer, then senior Logan Meyer drilled an RBI single to left to make it 6-3.
Ploof was called on in relief, and after Pierz junior Nick Lochner drew a run-scoring walk, recorded the first out on a strikeout.
A passed ball closed the gap to 6-5 and moved the tying run to third and winning run to second.
The Pioneers reloaded the bases on an intentional walk, but a pop out to first and a strikeout ended the threat and the game.
Each team had an opportunity to take control early, but both defenses thwarted opportunities by throwing out runners on the base paths.
Little Falls collected three hits in the top of the first only to make all three outs on the bases, while Pierz had a leadoff single erased in the bottom of the inning on a pickoff by Little Falls senior Luke Thoma.
Seniors Mitch Gregory and Michael Holthaus went 3-for-4 and junior Collin Eckman reached base four times to lead Little Falls offensively.
Senior Joey Hanowski singled, walked and had two sacrifices, Thoma and senior Matt Valentine hit doubles and senior Tony Arnold singled and scored a run.
Thoma started on the mound for Little Falls, allowing only two runs on seven hits through six innings while striking out six to record the win.
Ploof struck out two to earn the save.
Senior Logan Meyer went 3-for-4 with a double and junior Brad Meyer had two hits and two runs to lead Pierz.
Senior Trent Davis and juniors Ben Boser, Brady Dorn and Jon Fuhrman all singled.
Little Falls plays at Albany, Monday, hosts Sauk Rapids-Rice, Tuesday, and plays at Perham, Saturday, April 14.
Pierz plays at Foley, Tuesday, and at Milaca, Friday.