Alexandria baseball: Sweep leaves Cards in first place
A doubleheader sweep of St. Cloud Apollo Tuesday left Alexandria two-games in front of second place Rocori in the Central Lakes Conference baseball standings with an 8-1 record.
"The Cards are in great shape in the conference standings and in the section as we have just one week left in the regular season," said head coach Russ Hinrichs, whose team has a busy remainder of the week that includes a doubleheader in Moorhead today and a doubleheader at home against St. Cloud Tech on Saturday.
Alexandria wasted no time in getting on the board in the first game, scoring once in the second and twice in the third, but saw the Eagles take a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth before rallying to score four runs and cruising to an 8-4 win.
Beau Backhaus earned the win as he went the distance.
"Bea started on the mound and gave the Cards just what they needed," said Hinrichs, "a seven-inning complete game victory.
"Beau continues to show why he is one of the top pitchers in the conference, and his leadership and poise on the mound sets the tone for our team."
Ben Allen led the Cardinals at the plate with three hits.
"Ben is swinging a hot bat right now and continues to play well in the field at third," Hinrichs pointed out. "Cody McLaughlin had his best night at the plate as a varsity player. Cody had two hits, drove in two runs and drew a big walk in our fifth inning rally.
"Mitch Thompson did a great job behind the plate, throwing out two early runners in the game, which turned out to be huge."
Alexandria's momentum continued in game two as the Cardinals came back from an early 4-2 deficit behind a two-run fourth to tie the game.
Neither team was able to break the deadlock until the seventh, when Alexandria scored three runs.
Zach Peterson opened the inning, reaching base after being hit by a pitch, and was moved ahead on a sacrifice bunt by Toby Helgeson.
"Beau hit a line drive to left that could not be handled, which set the stage for Pat Leary," said Hinrichs. "Pat singled home Peterson to give the Cards the lead.
"Ben Kluver then drilled a hard ground ball to the second baseman, which was misplayed to score pinch runners Grant Becker and Riley Hvezda to up the lead to three runs."
Nick Knoblach went the distance for the Cardinals, allowing just four hits and two earned runs.
"Nick battled through some early jams to pick up his second win of the season," said his coach.
Allen and Leary led the team with two hits in game two, and Mitch Thompson, who did not record an official at bat in four plate appearances, reached base three times on walks, and added a sacrifice bunt.
ALEXANDRIA 8, ST. CLOUD APOLLO 4
SC APOLLO 000 220 0 4-6-1
ALEXANDRIA 012 041 X 8-10-3
PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Beau Backhaus (W) 7-6-1-1-2-3.
HITTING - Nick Knoblach 1-4, 1 rbi; Ben Allen 3-4, 1 run, 1 rbi; Cody McLaughlin 2-3, 1 run, 2 rbi, 1 bb; Zach Peterson 1-2, 2 runs, 2b, 1 rbi; Christian Anderson 2-3, 1 run, 1 rbi; Toby Helgeson 1 run; Parker Bowden 1 bb, 2 rbi;
ALEXANDRIA 002 200 3 7-7-4
SC APOLLO 103 000 0 4-4-1
PITCHIING - Nick Knoblach (W) 7-4-2-2-3-6.
HITTING - Nick Knoblach 1-3, 1 run, 1 rbi, 2 bb; Ben Kluver 1 bb; Ben Allen 2-4, 1 run, 3b, 1 rbi; Patrick Leary 2-3, 1 run, 1 rbi, 1 bb; Zach Peterson 1 run; Beau Backhaus 1-4, 1 run; Toby Helgeson 1-3; Grant Becker 1 run; Mitch Thompson 3 bb, 1 rbi; Riley Hvezda 1 rbi.