Still undefeated this season, the Waconia baseball team picked up two conference wins last week over New London-Spicer and Holy Family.
Waconia 7, NL-S 4
The Wildcats jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, after posting four runs in the top of the first inning. NL-S senior pitcher Ryan Vraa started the game by walking WHS’ lead-off hitters Tommy Gove and Jacob Herd, both seniors. Junior Jake Stevenson, batting clean-up for WHS, doubled to left field to score Gove and put Herd on third.
Senior Sam Schiffman followed Stevenson with an RBI single to the shortstop, pushing Herd across the plate.
In succession, senior Cole Sawyer singled to center to bring Storley (courtesy running for Stevenson) home. Junior Austin Nichols entered the game to run for Schiffman and would score stealing home during senior Nick Hukriede’s at bat to give the Wildcats a 4-0 lead after just one half-inning.
Waconia extended its lead to 5-0 in the top of the second on singles from Herd and junior Roch Whittaker, scoring Gove who had earlier reached on an error.
The Wildcats led 7-0 after four and one-half innings, thanks to two additional runs in the fifth for WHS.
New London-Spicer strung together a walk and a pair of hits in the bottom of the fifth to score its first run of the game and close the gap to 7-1.
Waconia let its guard down in the bottom of the seventh inning, allowing NL-S to score three runs on a few hits, walks, and Wildcat errors.
Closing pitcher Dylan Lindner, a senior, was able to stop the NL-S run with a strike out to end the game.
Lindner relieved starting pitcher Jake Stevenson in the sixth inning, striking out three and walking two. He allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits.
Stevenson started on the mound, throwing five innings. He struck out 10 NL-S batters, walked two, and allowed one run on one hit.
Stevenson led the team both from the mound and at the plate, going 2-4 with an RBI. The remaining seven WHS hits came from Pistulka (RBI), Schiffman (RBI), Sawyer (RBI), Whittaker (RBI), Gove, Herd, and senior Tyler Myrvold.
WHS Mark Grundhofer said the Wildcats played a solid game and were able to sub in players at the end.
“I pulled the dogs off really early,” he admitted. “We lost our focus a little bit to make it a little more interesting than it had to be.”
Waconia 8, Holy Family 6
Up against a senior-stacked Holy Family team, the Wildcats took down the Fire 8-6 at home on Friday, April 25.
Four lead changes made for a back and forth game between the teams, kicked off by Waconia’s one run in the first inning, scored on a single from Gove, two walks, and a sacrifice fly.
Holy Family took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third inning, before Waconia took it back with four runs in the bottom half. After singles from Gove and Herd, Whittaker launched a three-run homer to center field. With bases clear, Stevenson doubled and later tagged up on a fly foul ball to put the Wildcats up 5-2.
Additional runs for both teams in the fourth inning brought the game to 7-3 in favor of Waconia. The Fire brought it within one run by posting three runs in the top of the fifth.
The ‘Cats sealed the deal in the bottom of the fifth when WHS loaded the bases on two outs with singles from senior Cody Tucker and Pistulka, Gove was hit by a pitch and Herd walked to bring Tucker home and make it 8-6.
Herd was the winning pitcher for WHS, starting on the mound and throwing four innings. He allowed three runs (all earned) on six hits and struck out one. Tucker closed, throwing three innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and striking out four Fire batters.
“To our benefit, we had pretty good pitching and pretty good defense again,” Grundhofer said.
Waconia scored its eight runs on eight hits, but left nearly a dozen runners on base.
“We left a lot of ‘Cats stranded on base,” Grundhofer said. “We could’ve sealed the deal a little earlier, but couldn’t get that good hit in there.”
Now at 5-0 this year, the Wildcats’ Monday game in New Prague was cancelled. Grundhofer predicted the entire week would be a loss, unless the weather changed dramatically by Wednesday. Next week’s forecast looks a little brighter and so the Wildcats hope to resume play when they host Orono and Delano Monday and Tuesday, before three games later in the week.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com