The Mayer Lutheran baseball team was 1-3 last week, hosting double headers against Watertown-Mayer and Belle Plaine.
Against Watertown-Mayer on May 7, the Crusaders were in double trouble, as both pitching and hitting struggled. The Royals would sweep the Crusaders 11-0 in the first game, and 8-1 in the second.
“We kind of ran into some pitching difficulties,” LHS head coach Dave Lane said.
With two starting pitchers limited or out with injuries, and others resting their arms, The Crusaders were forced to draw on their relievers as starters and whoever else they could find.
In game one, junior Mitch Baumann took to the mound, and held his own against the Royals, limiting Watertown-Mayer to five runs in the five innings he pitched. Baumann and senior Jacob Struble collected the only hits for LHS.
Game two was more of the same, according to Lane.
“We finished up the game with a little bit of everybody pitching,” he said.
Senior Aaron Luehrs was slated as the starting pitcher, but only made it through one-third of an inning, in which he gave up two runs, before a sore arm benched him.
“It was kind of a tough day for us,” Lane said. “We didn’t hit the ball particularly well.”
Hitting was limited in game two, with junior Cole Buttenhoff and freshman Zach Thole each grabbing a hit.
Hosting Belle Plaine on May 9, the Crusaders fared better, splitting the games with the Tigers.
Senior Tanner Luebke started game one on the mound, giving up just one earned run, but Belle Plaine tallied three unearned runs in the third inning, in addition to the earned run in the sixth for the 4-1 loss for Mayer Lutheran.
Luebke threw nine strikeouts and allowed five hits and four walks.
Luehrs was the star at the plate, going 2-3, while Buttenhoff had a hit as well. But the hits were too spread out for the Crusaders to score any runs.
“It’s a little hard to win if you don’t score,” Lane said.
Game two finally saw some turnaround for LHS, as Buttenhoff picked up his second straight win on the mound, throwing all six innings. During those six, Buttenhoff allowed one earned run on three hits. He struck out seven and walked one Belle Plaine batter.
“That was a pretty good outing for him,” Lane said.
Buttenhoff also dominated at the plate, going 2-3 with two doubles and two RBIs. Baumann, Luebke, and Struble all had base hits as well.
LHS scored three runs in the first inning and another in the third, before Belle Plaine posted its lone run in the fourth.
“That was a good, well played game,” Lane said.
While it seems like the season just started, and truly it did, sections are just around the corner. The Crusaders will finish up their conference schedule this week at Norwood Young America on May 16, before hosting Glencoe-Silver Lake on Friday and traveling to Lester Prairie on Sunday. Sections are schedule to start May 24.
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