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Beetles win pair

Echo Press photo by Eric Morken The Beetles' Mikel Alvarez slid under the tag of Mankato pitcher Zach Whitman after Whitman sent a wild pitch to the backstop during the early stages of an 8-3 win for Alexandria last Thursday night. Alvarez finished the night 3-for-4 from the plate with two runs scored and an RBI.

Mitch Handley highlighted a five-game stretch that saw the Alexandria Beetles win two games through Sunday's action.

Included in that was a gem by Handley in a 1-0 victory on Saturday night.

Battle Creek 7,

Alexandria 5

Fans at Knute Nelson Park saw a lot of pitches on Sunday - 364 to be exact. In the end, it was a 3-2 fastball that was called strike three, halting the Beetles' comeback two runs short.

Trailing by three in the ninth, Alexandria mounted a one-out rally, thanks in part to a pair of Battle Creek errors. After Sean Olenek (Mercer) singled to left field, Brendan Alvey (Navarro JC) drew the Beetles' 13th walk of the game, plating a run.

But, after a Jayson Langfels (Eastern Kentucky) pop-up, Mikel Alvarez (FGCU), who had already walked three times, took strike three at the knees, ending the game.

In all, the Beetles left the bases loaded three times, and only tallied four hits on the night. Meanwhile, Battle Creek took advantage of a rare Matt Fyffe (Eastern Kentucky) poor outing. The all-star righty lasted just 3 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits, including a Josh Valle (Marshall) three run homer.

Bombers starter Josh McElwee (Newberry) did not make it out of the third inning. In the first alone he walked five batters, tossing 60 pitches. He left after 2 2/3 with 108 pitches under his belt.

The Valle home run made it 4-2 Battle Creek going into the bottom of the third, but back-to-back doubles by Olenek and Alvey tied the score at four. The Bombers chipped away, getting single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth to take a 7-4 lead. Meanwhile, the Beetles' bats fell silent, going without a hit from the fourth through eighth innings.

The ninth began promising, but ended two runs shy. A tough defeat the Beetles will have to think about until after the all-star break, which began on Monday.

Alexandria 1,

Battle Creek 0

Handley (North Alabama) and Battle Creek's Matt Talley (The Citadel), both heading to the all-star game, tossed gems Saturday night. Both went the distance with neither one allowing an earned run.

Only one could win. And, for the first time in over a month, it was Handley, getting just one run of support, coming out victorious. The junior didn't allow a hit past the sixth inning, and racked up four strikeouts while walking only one. His counterpart was just as impressive, fanning five in eight innings of work.

The lone run of the game came after the lone Battle Creek error of the game. With two out and a runner on first, Joe Van Meter (Virginia Commonwealth) could not handle a Mike O'Neill (USC) groundball. Keith Castillo (USC) made the Bombers pay, launching a double to the right field wall to plate the lone run of the game.

Battle Creek did mount a few threats in the game, but Handley was in control the whole way. In all, the Bombers left nine men stranded, six in scoring position.

Mankato 5, Alexandria 4

With two out in the 12th inning, Mankato's Brenden Webb (Palomar CC) hit a solo home run to right-center field, proving to be the game winning run last Friday night.

Alexandria had its chances to walk off, but reliever Jimmy Patterson (Central Arizona CC) mowed through the Beetles order, and usual starter and all-star pitcher James Wise (Washington State) closed out the last two innings, picking up the win.

The Beetles jumped out in front first, getting a run in the fourth inning on a Tim Griffin (Rollins) wild pitch. Mankato would answer in the sixth, getting two back on a Patterson home run off of Beetles' starter Erik Johnson (Cal).

The MoonDogs would plate two more unearned runs in the seventh against reliever Bryce Uhrig (Pepperdine) and took a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh. But the Beetles had an answer, getting three runs back against Griffin and reliever Alex Burgos (Manatee CC).

O'Neill chipped in with a two-RBI infield single, and the tying run scored on another wild pitch. The game remained tied through the eighth and ninth innings. Then, both teams went down in the 10th and the 11th.

Finally in the 12th, after two quick outs were recorded, Webb launched a 2-1 pitch offered by Kevin Vangheluwe (Michigan) over the fence, his first blast of the year. The Beetles went down quietly in the home-half, dropping the four-hour plus ballgame.

Alexandria 8, Mankato 3

The Beetles led from start to finish last Thursday night, taking an 8-3 win over the Mankato MoonDogs.

Curtis Hudson (Elgin CC) tossed seven scoreless innings in the winning effort, improving to 2-0. Zach Whitman (Georgia Southwestern), who was 2-0 against Alexandria this year, faltered in the start, allowing two runs on eight hits in just four innings of work.

Alexandria took advantage of a sluggish Mankato defense all evening long. In the first, the Beetles scored the opening run on a Whitman wild pitch.

The fourth inning was prolonged on a Tony Strazzara (San Diego) error, giving Marcus Semien (Cal) a chance to drive home a bases loaded single, pushing the lead to 2-0.

The Beetles would double their lead in the sixth inning against reliever Tony Manville (Northern Illinois). Langfels led off with a single, and after a ground out moved him to second base, he would score on a Trevor Edwards (UNC-Greensboro) double. Edwards would then score on an Alvarez single.

In the eighth, with McKendree on in relief of Hudson, the MoonDogs mounted their comeback. All-Star KC Serna (Oregon) led off with a double. A walk put two on before a ground out moved both runners into scoring position. Patterson then drove a triple into the left field corner, and Kyle Knudson (Minnesota) would add an RBI groundout in the next at-bat to make it 4-3 Alexandria.

But the Beetles had an answer in the eighth, posting four runs on just one hit and two costly Mankato errors. The game changer was a two-run error by Strazzara as Alvey bounced one over his glove and into left field. Castillo would finish out a 3-4 night at the plate with a sacrifice fly, rounding out the lead to 8-3.

St. Cloud 2, Alexandria 0

It began with a promising start.

Back-to-back singles by Alvarez and Semien put two on with nobody out. Unfortunately, those would amount to half of the Alexandria hits last Wednesday._

Castillo bounced into one of two double plays in the next at-bat, setting the theme for a dismal night at the plate. Austen Siwiec (Valparaiso) countered for the Beetles, and went step for step with Deminsky through five innings.

A costly error in the sixth by Langfels put St. Cloud's leadoff man, Dan Betteridge (Rutgers) aboard. Then, after a sacrifice bunt and ground out advanced Betteridge to third. With two out and one of the league's top hitters in Jonathan Roof (Michigan State) at the plate, Siwiec uncorked just his second wild pitch of the year, breaking the tie score.

Meanwhile, Deminsky was mowing down the Beetles, scattering a couple of base runners through seven innings.

In the eighth, after a Brian Humphries RBI made it 2-0, Alexandria mounted its only threat of the night, putting runners at first and second with two out. With Castillo at the plate, Deminksy worked ahead with an 0-2 count.

Castillo drilled a line shot back to Deminsky, who turned, threw his glove over his head and made a sensational catch.

Conner Lambert (Washington State) worked a perfect ninth inning, picking up his third save against the Beetles and sixth overall.


BATTLE CREEK 103 111 000 - 7 11 3

ALEXANDRIA 202 000 001 - 5 4 3

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Matt Fyffe - (L) 3 1/3IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 3BB, 3SO; Nick Brown - 1 2/3IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 1SO; Chase Porch - 2IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 1SO; Matt Miller - 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 0SO

ALEXANDRIA HITTING - Mikel Alvarez - 0-3, 3 BB; Mike O'Neill - 0-2, 2 BB; Keith Castillo - 0-3, 1 run, 2 BB; Tim Roberson - 0-4, BB; Trevor Edwards - 1-4, 2 runs, BB; Marcus Semien - 0-4, RBI, BB; Sean Olenek - 2-4, 2B, 1 run, 2 RBI, BB; Brendan Alvey - 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB; Tyler Erickson - 0-3, BB; Jason Langfels - 0-1

BATTLE CREEK 000 000 000 - 0 6 1

ALEXANDRIA 000 010 000 - 1 6 2

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Mitch Handley - (W) 9IP, 6H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 4SO

ALEXANDRIA HITTING - Alvarez - 2-4, 1 run; O'Neill - 0-4; Castillo - 2-3, 2B, RBI, BB; Roberson - 0-3, BB; Langfels - 0-4; Edwards - 0-2, BB; Olenek - 1-2, BB; Tyler Mills - 1-3; Erickson - 0-2, BB

MANKATO 000 002 200 001 - 5 7 0

ALEXANDRIA 000 100 300 000 - 4 6 3

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Erik Johnson - 5 1/3IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 4BB, 7SO; Bryce Uhrig - 2 2/3IP, 0H, 2R, 0ER, 3BB, 4SO; Matt Miller - 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 4SO; Kevin Vangheluwe - (L) 2IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 1SO

ALEXANDRIA HITTING - Alvarez - 1-6; O'Neill - 1-3, 2 RBI; Mills - 0-1, BB; Castillo - 0-3, 1 run, 3 BB; Roberson - 0-4, BB; Edwards - 1-5; Langfels - 2-5, 3B, 1 run; Olenek - 0-4, BB; Chase Porch - 1-3, 1 run, 2 BB; Semien - 0-4, BB, 1 run

MANKATO 000 000 030 - 3 7 4

ALEXANDRIA 100 102 040 - 8 13 0

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Curtis Hudson - (W) 7IP, 5H, 0R, 0ER, 3BB, 2SO; Tyler McKendree - 1IP, 2H, 3R, 3ER, 1Bb, 0SO; Kevin Vangheluwe - 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 1SO

ALEXANDRIA HITTING - Alvarez - 3-4, 2 runs, RBI; Austin - 0-3; Alvey - 0-1, 1 run, 2 RBI; Castillo - 3-4, RBI; Roberson - 1-5, 2B; Langfels - 2-4, 1 run, BB; Olenek - 1-4, 1 run; Edwards - 1-4, 2B, 1 run, RBI; Porch - 1-3, 1 run, BB; Semien - 1-2, 1 run, RBI, BB

ST. CLOUD 000 001 010 - 2 4 1

ALEXANDRIA 000 000 000 - 0 4 1

ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Austen Siwiec - (L) 7 2/3IP, 2H, 2R, 1ER, 3BB, 1SO; Bryce Uhrig - 1 1/3IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0SO

ALEXANDRIA HITTING - Alvarez - 1-4; Semien - 2-3, BB; Castillo - 0-4; Olenek - 0-4; Langfels - 0-3; Porch - 0-4; O'Neill - 1-3; Mills - 0-2; Austin - 0-1; Urban - 0-2