Baseball: Lake Hagen's big hits help lead Alexandria to two wins over rival Sartell-St. Stephen
Alexandria's Lake Hagen gets seven hits, including a walk-off 3-RBI double and 3-run home run, in a doubleheader against Sartell.
ALEXANDRIA - Trailing 9-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning of the first game of a doubleheader against Sartell-St. Stephen on Friday, the Alexandria baseball team needed some heroics to win the game.
After scoring two runs and with bases loaded and with two outs, catcher Lake Hagen delivered the heroics the team needed as he smashed a walk-off three-RBI double to center field to give Alexandria the 10-9 win in game one.
Hagen had an uphill fight early in the count as he fell down 0-2. But he stuck with it and made the count 3-2 before delivering the decisive three-RBI double that gave Alexandria its first of two wins on the night.
“I had to protect the plate, and he threw it over the plate, so I just drilled it,” Hagen said about the walk-off. “It’s something you work hard for in the offseason and the feeling was surreal.”
Hagen wasn’t done with making an impact at the plate after his walk-off in game one. In his first at-bat in the second game of the doubleheader, he launched the ball deep to center field for a three-run home run that give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. The Cardinals (4-2, 4-2 Central Lakes Conference) scored eight runs in the first inning of game two and won 10-2.
“I’m so proud of him,” Alexandria head coach Jake Munsch said. “We couldn't have asked for a better start after a win like that. He's worked tremendously hard in the offseason. He looks completely different than he did last year.”
Hagen made a physical transformation in the offseason. Hagen said he spent his offseason adding muscle and becoming much stronger and that strength showed on Friday.
“He spent the offseason getting bigger, stronger and he is just a different dude this year,” Munsch said. “He’s a leader on our team. He plays so well behind the plate, and to see him come through with a couple of hits like that; I couldn't be more proud of him.”
In his nine at-bats on Friday, Hagen had seven hits (one double and one home run), seven RBIs and scored twice.
Hagen’s bat has been productive in the six games so far this season, as he has a .550 batting average, 11 hits and 10 RBIs.
“I never used to be a good hitter,” Hagen said. “I’m not saying that I am [now], but it feels good to finally be hitting the ball.”
To win game one, the Cardinals had to come through clutch after dealing with some adversity.
The Cardinals had a 5-3 lead in the top of the sixth inning when the Sabres (2-4, 2-4 CLC) stormed ahead to take a 9-5 lead.
The Cardinals went scoreless in the bottom of the sixth but still trailed by four when the bottom of the seventh came around.
With one out, first baseman Nate Hammerback reached base on a walk, which was followed by singles from second baseman Brock Lerfald and shortstop Reed Reisdorf. After Will Suchy lined out to first base and right fielder/pitcher Jaxon Schoenrock reached base on a walk, left fielder Caleb Runge stepped into the batter's box with two outs as the game-tying run with the score at 9-6.
He drove in a run on an RBI single, which cut the Cardinal’s deficit to two and left the bases loaded for Hagen to deliver the walk-off.
“It’s very easy to roll over and die in a situation like that when Sartell puts a bunch of runs up on some of your mistakes,” Munsch said. “It's all about staying positive and trusting in ourselves. We did that and we came out ahead. Overall I’m extremely proud of this team. When we come into a game and we're behind in the end, we have a certain approach that we take at the plate that we already know how we're going to handle it when it comes to if the guy throws us a ball or a strike and I think it helps the guys relax.”
The late RBI single wasn’t the first time that Runge came up big for the Cardinals in game one.
Runge put the Cardinals on the board with a home run to center field in the bottom of the first.
“I think throughout our lineup, we have a lot of guys that are capable of putting the ball over the fence,” Munsch said.
Alexandria hit a combined 25 hits from a total of nine different players in Friday’s doubleheader.
Friday’s win is the Cardinals' third win in a row and is their third game in a row where they’ve scored at least ten runs.
“With the approach that we've taken at the plate this whole week, we’ve put a lot more balls in play,” Munsch said. “We’ve put a lot more pressure on defenses and everyone just seems more relaxed.”
Friday’s wins came not only against a CLC foe but one of Alexandria’s rivals.
“It gets pretty chippy,” Hagen said about the rivalry. “Obviously, they had their heads high when we were down four, but I’m glad that we could just pull through.”
On the mound, Schoenrock was the last Cardinals pitcher to throw in game one, while Parker Jendro earned the win in game two.
Schoenrock pitched the final four innings and allowed six hits, three walks and he struck out five batters. JD Hennen earned the start on the mound in the first game. He pitched three innings, allowed four hits, one earned run, three walks and struck out four batters.
In game two, Jendro had a no-hitter going through the sixth inning. Designated hitter/right fielder Carsen Gross broke up that no-hitter with a double to the gap in right-center in the top of the seventh inning.
“The pitching staff this whole year has been very good for us,” Munsch said. “Parker was a reliever for us last year. He did phenomenal out of that role and obviously, he's rolled into a starter role. He just threw a one-hitter against a really good ball club. It all comes down to throwing strikes, limiting your bases and playing defense behind them.”
Jendro finished game two with five strikeouts and allowed just one hit and one earned run before Nick Levasseur came in to get the final two outs.
The Cardinals are on the road at 7 p.m. on Tuesday against the St. Cloud Crush. St. Cloud beat Alexandria 5-3 on April 23.