BOLD wins thriller over Minnewaska in extra innings
A bad hop for the Lakers led to BOLD escaping with a 3-1 win in over Minnewaska in a battle of two good West Central Conference teams.
BOLD baseball made the best of a bad hop.
After Minnewaska pushed Thursday’s West Central Conference game into an extra inning, the visiting Warriors had bases loaded when Tim Peppel came into the batter’s box. Peppel hit a grounder up the third-base line that went off both the bag and the forehead of the Lakers’ third baseman, allowing Braeden Tersteeg and Aidan Elfering to score amidst the chaos.
BOLD ultimately left Marthaler Field a 3-1 winner.
“It hit off the base and hit him right in the face,” said Warriors head coach Brian Kingery. “... You can’t back that up, there’s no one to do it. We saw that and we’ll risk it and send (Aiden) from second and try to make a play. Having a two-run lead is much more comfortable than a one-run lead.”
Kingery added: “It felt like a playoff atmosphere-type game. Two pitchers that were battlin’. We were able to come up with enough plays to get us that win.”
BOLD took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. After Braeden Tersteeg led off with a walk, he eventually reached home when Zeke Walton hit an opposite-field single that stayed just inside the first-base line.
From there, it was a pitcher’s duel between the Elfering and the Lakers’ Aaron Ver Steeg.
Elfering was nearly lights-out. He had six strikeouts through the first three innings and didn’t allow a hit through four. He finished with seven strikeouts, giving up just four hits and one walk over 7-1/3 innings.
Elfering’s plan of attack on the mound was simple: “Throw a lot of strikes and mix speeds with not only off-speed with fastballs and just locate.”
“His first outing this year, he pitched great,” Kingery said of Elfering. “He really has great composure out there, great command. He looks like he’s been doing it his whole life. He’s a natural pitcher.”
Ver Steeg was just as dominant with 10 strikeouts over six innings of work, giving up three hits and two walks.
“Aaron threw well,” said Minnewaska head coach Brian Gruber. “It was just two good pitchers. You’ll see those guys around at the end of the season come playoff time and they’ll be tough to beat.”
Dalton Friedrichs broke up Elfering’s no-hitter with a ground ball single to lead off the fifth. And that was far from Friedrichs’ best knock of the night.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and with Ver Steeg on second base, Friedrichs crushed the ball into the left-center gap, resulting in an RBI triple that brought the game to extras.
“Everyone started to feel confident (after the first hit) to get out there and swing the bat more,” said Friedrichs, who was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
On the game-tying hit, “I saw a lot of fastballs and it was right down the middle. I saw my pitch and hit it.”
Still, BOLD was unshaken by the turn of events.
Tersteeg drew another inning-opening walk in the eighth, then moved to second after a sacrifice bunt by Avery Herdina. Two straight walks by Lakers relief pitcher Mitchell Gruber left the bases loaded for Peppel, who delivered with the two-run single.
Torii Johnson got a one-out single in the bottom of the eighth, which sent BOLD to its bullpen. Tersteeg coaxed Alec Larson into a double play to lock up the save and the Warriors victory.
“To have a big win against a top-end conference team is huge,” Kingery said. “Very proud of the guys in how they fought. You give up that run in the seventh and you might just give in. Our guys responded really well.”
Brian Gruber added: “When you play a game of this caliber and this competitive level this early in the year, there’s lots to learn to learn from this game. … It was just a good baseball game all around.”
BOLD (3-1) will host Mankato Loyola on Friday in a game between Section 2A opponents. Minnewaska (3-2) will host Benson in a doubleheader Tuesday.
BOLD 100 000 02-3 4 0
Minnewaska 000 000 10-1 4 1
Hitting - BOLD: Braeden Tersteeg 0-2 R-2 BB-2, Aidan Elfering 1-2 R BB-2, Zake Walton 2-3 RBI BB, Tim Peppel 1-4 RBI-2, Xavier Basaldua 0-3 BB ... Minnewaska: Aaron Ver Steeg 1-3 R, Darion Alexander 0-2 BB, Dalton Friedrichs 2-3 BB, Torii Johnson 1-2.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - BOLD: BOLD: Elfering (W) 7 1/3-4-1-1-1-7, Tersteeg (Sv) 2/3-0-0-0-0-0 … Minnewaska: Ver Steeg 6.0-3-1-1-2-10, Mitchell Gruber (L) 2.0-1-2-2-4-1