Blowing away the competition

Royals pitcher Michael Herd struck out 11 batters in WMHS’ win over Sibley East Saturday. (News staff photo by Christopher Officer)

Royals pitcher Michael Herd struck out 11 batters in WMHS’ win over Sibley East Saturday. (News staff photo by Christopher Officer)

It was a battle for the ages Saturday, May 24 as two of the top pitchers in the state squared off for a classic pitchers duel. In the end, it was Watertown-Mayer’s Michael Herd who handcuffed hitters all day, while the Royals’ offense scratched and clawed enough runs on the board to walk away 2-1 victors over Sibley East in the first game of the 2AA North Subection Tournament.

“Herd did a good job attacking hitters,” said Royals coach Justin Stohs.

But attacking might be an understatement. The Royals’ Herd was nearly assaulting the opposition with fastballs. Wolverine hitters barely stood a chance against Herd as dust filled the air after every fastball smacked into the catchers-mitt.

Despite Herd’s dazzling pitching display, the Royals still found themselves in a hole. Down 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Simbley East’s pitcher Brody Rodning was putting on a show of his own. Batter after batter Rodning would send down swinging. But even after a strikeout, the Royals found ways to capitalized.

In the fourth, Sibley East’s Rodning strikeout pitch to Andrew Nichols scooted past the catcher and Nichols advanced to first on the passed ball. More errors and passed balls brought Nichols home and when it was pinch runner Andy Traen’s time to cross the plate, the Royals took a 2-1 edge.

The Wolverines would rally in the sixth, putting runners on the corners with just one out. But Herd beard down and struck out the last two hitters to squander the scoring chance.

Herd would pitch a complete game, going seven innings and striking out 11 for the 2-1 win. Sibley East’s Rodining finished with 15 strikeouts.

“Our persistence through the game and aggressive base running made the difference,” said Stohs. “We knew it would be a tight game, but needed to be patient and take advantage of opportunities.”

Look for results to the Royals’ game Tuesday, May 27 game against GSL.

Contact Christopher Officer at christopher.officer@ecm-inc.com

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