Central Minnesota Baseball: Pierz surges to finish, winning five of six

Pierz freshman second baseman Lane Girtz (8) catches a throw and applies a quick swipe tag on Maple Lake junior Dustin Strub (5) on a stolen-base attempt during a doubleheader, May 15. Pierz junior catcher Cody Meyer threw out a pair of base runners in the inning, helping the Pioneers on their way to a 2-1 win in game two to complete a sweep.

Pierz freshman second baseman Lane Girtz (8) catches a throw and applies a quick swipe tag on Maple Lake junior Dustin Strub (5) on a stolen-base attempt during a doubleheader, May 15. Pierz junior catcher Cody Meyer threw out a pair of base runners in the inning, helping the Pioneers on their way to a 2-1 win in game two to complete a sweep.

Pierz heated up as it neared the end of the regular season, sweeping a pair of conference foes as it won five of six games, its lone defeat coming in extra innings.

The Pioneers persevered in a pair of slugfests, Tuesday, winning 11-9 and 10-8 at Kimball Area.

The afternoon started with Pierz’ top seven hitters in the lineup all putting together multi-hit games.

Seniors Mac Gruber and Nate Athman led the way by each going 3-for-4 and combining to hit three doubles and drive in five runs.

Junior Cody Meyer, sophomores Noah Boser and Aaron Weber and freshmen Lane Girtz and Matt Kummet added two hits apiece and together accounted for nine of the team’s runs.

Sophomore Kolton Eischens didn’t allow an earned run in 2 2/3 innings of relief to pick up the win, with sophomore David Skiba coming on and stranding the bases loaded in the seventh to pick up the save.

The Pioneers spotted Kimball a 7-0 lead after two and a half innings in the finale, but tied it up with a run in the third and a six-run fourth, then seized the lead for good with three more runs in the fifth.

Senior Evan Woitalla tripled and scored twice, and along with Weber and Girtz had a two-hit game.

Meyer, Kummet and Athman all doubled and Girtz earned his first career win in relief.

Pierz rallied from a 2-0 deficit after five innings with a five-run sixth inning to win 5-2 at Sauk Centre, May 16.

Meyer tied the game with an RBI single, with Athman adding an RBI double and senior Chris Ortman providing an RBI single.

Weber went 2-for-3 at the plate while earning his first career varsity win, holding Sauk Centre to one earned run over five innings, striking out five.

Kummet slammed the door with two scoreless innings to record the save.

Gruber went 1-for-3 with a double and a run and Boser collected a triple, run and RBI.

Pierz also swept a home doubleheader over Maple Lake 4-2 and 2-1, May 15.

Skiba went the distance in game one to notch his first varsity win, tossing a four-hitter, with Girtz, Kummet, Meyer and Athman driving in the Pioneers’ runs.

The finale was also a defensive battle, with Pierz tying it with a run in the fifth on a delayed steal of home by Eischens, then scoring what proved to be the game-winner on a fielder’s choice by Boser to bring in Girtz in the sixth.

The Pioneers’ lone defeat in the six-game stretch came 4-3 in 10 innings at Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa, Monday.

Boser and Weber each had two hits and scored and Kummet doubled and drove in two.

Meyer started and allowed only three unearned runs over eight innings.

 

Huskers split four

Holdingford split four games as it approached the end of the regular season, finishing third in the Central Minnesota Conference.

In a game picked up in the fourth inning after being suspended earlier in the season, Holdingford won 9-4 at Eden Valley-Watkins, Wednesday.

Seniors Mitch Messman and Jeremy Springer had two hits apiece and senior Cody Bialka reached three times and scored twice.

Holdingford split a home doubleheader against Rockford Area, May 15, winning 11-1 and falling 6-3.

Seniors Jake Nelson and Jordan Gombos, junior Nathan Brinker and Springer all collected two hits.

Gombos and junior Austin Gerads each knocked in three runs in the win, while Springer collected two more defeats in the defeat.

The Huskers also fell 4-1 at Foley in a non-conference game, May 16, with Nelson and Springer each recording two hits.

 

Playoff schedule

Pierz fell 16-7 to Milaca and Holdingford fell 2-1 to Albany, Thursday, with the Pioneers scheduled to close the regular season at Little Falls, Friday.

This week, Pierz and Holdingford will both open play in the Section 6AA playoffs, Tuesday.

Winners from Tuesday’s first-round will advance to the double elimination portion of the bracket, with games taking placing Wednesday and Thursday in St. Cloud.

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