Baseball: Alexandria falls to Willmar in doubleheader at home
Willmar makes key plays down the stretch to earn two wins over Alexandria.
ALEXANDRIA - The Alexandria Cardinals baseball team fought tooth and nail with the Willmar Cardinals in a doubleheader on Friday, but things didn't go as planned for Alexandria.
Willmar swept Alexandria, winning game one 4-3 and game two 8-4, dropping Alexandria to 9-5 on the season. It was a matchup of two programs that hope to be contenders to win Section 8-3A by season's end.
Alexandria jumped on Willmar early in game one, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning on RBI hits from Lake Hagen and Jaxon Schoenrock. But for the next five innings, the Alexandria bats were cold and scored zero runs.
Trailing 3-2 in the seventh inning, Alexandria scored a run on a sacrifice bunt by third baseman Reed Reisdorf.
“We actually had a conversation about that right before,” Reisdorf said. “We were talking about it and then (the coaches) go, ‘I think we have the right guy to do it.’ One thing I try to work on during batting practice is drag bunting and those kinds of things. Last year, I actually got on base quite a few times with that and my speed.”
Willmar responded to Reisdorf driving in the game-tying run by scoring the game-deciding run in the bottom of the seventh to win game one 4-3.
Willmar scored the final run on a play where there was a base hit, a runner was tagged out at home, then the ball was thrown to second and a runner from third then broke for home and got there in the nick of time before Alexandria catcher Lake Hagen could apply the tag.
“We came back in that first game and it ended on a goofy play,” Alexandria head coach Jake Munsch said. “You can't concentrate on what you did wrong. You have to move forward and concentrate on the next game. I thought that guys did a good job of that.”
In game two, the momentum Willmar created at the end of game one carried over to game two as it scored three runs in the first two innings combined.
Alexandria did the same with Hagen knocking in a run on a fielder's choice and Lerfald scoring on a passed ball. Nate Hammerback tied the game at three with an RBI single in the bottom of the second.
The game was deadlocked at three apiece until Alexandria scored on a passed ball in the bottom of the fourth inning. Schoenrock scored the run.
Willmar responded swiftly by scoring three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 6-4. Willmar added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh and held on to win.
For Alexandria, this is its third loss this week, with the other being a 5-0 shutout to Sauk Rapids-Rice . But Alexandria isn’t about to hit the panic button.
“Every season, you run through a little bump in the road, and I think we're there right now,” Munsch said. “One thing that we've improved on is we've been playing better defensively than we were when we were winning all those games. Offensively, we’ve struggled a little bit. That's just part of the ups and downs of a season. I don't think you panic. I think you just trust what you're doing and I think that we're doing a lot of things really well and if a couple of hits fall here and there, the score is different.”
Munsch is optimistic about his team’s chances of getting things going in the right direction again.
“I have all the confidence in the kids staying very positive with them,” Munsch said. “We'll show up next week and play hard again.”
JD Hennen got the start for Alexandria in game one and Nick Levasseur came on in relief in the fourth inning. Parker Jendro got the start in game two and Spencer Schmidt came on in relief in the fifth inning.
Alexandria is back at home for a game against Rocori at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.