Cottage Grove VFW baseball: Post 8752 goes 1-4 in last five; overall record at 3-8
The Cottage Grove VFW Post 8752 baseball team played five games in four days last week, putting up a 1-4 record and is now 3-8 overall on the year.
"We didn't play for a week, because of weather, and had to squeeze five games in four days," first-year head coach Scott Briggs said. "Overall, we have some talented kids on this team. Unfortunately, we've only had a few games where everybody was hot at the same time."
This summer, Briggs took the reins from longtime VFW head coach Dave Gunter who retired after last year. Briggs said new Park head coach Kerry Ligtenberg and Park volunteer assistants Luke Appert and Bill Kroschel, along with Cottage Grove VFW team assistants Jon Larsen and Robby Larsen, have helped him out in his first year.
"We've been trying to work on things the way Kerry and Luke want things done for varsity next year," Briggs said. "They've been giving me a lot of input. They've been a great help. VFW is very competitive. It's good to have a lot of eyes helping out."
To start the week, Cottage Grove fell 8-7 to South St. Paul in extra innings on Tuesday, June 28. Post 8752 then split a double header on Wednesday, June 29, falling 7-2 to Oakdale and beating West St. Paul 6-2. Capping the week, Cottage Grove fell 5-2 to Mahtomedi on Thursday, June 30, and lost 11-10 to North St. Paul in extra innings on Friday, July 1.
"We've had a lot of games where they've been close," Briggs said. "We're close. We were in a little batting slump to start the week, but played good defense. Now, the last three games we've hit really, really well and played decent defense, but we don't have much depth at pitching and had to switch a lot of guys in and out."
Most recently, Cottage Grove and North St. Paul combined for 37 hits and 21 runs in an eight-inning game at Park High School on Friday, July 1.
Tied 9-9 after seven innings, North St. Paul took an 11-9 lead with two runs in the top of the eighth inning. Cottage Grove scored a run in the bottom of the eighth, but a double play ended Post 8752's threat -- and the game.
North St. Paul was ahead 9-6 going into the final half an inning, but Cottage Grove put up three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to force the extra frame.
Chandler Mulvihill and J.T. Bickel each had four hits in the game. Mulvihill went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI and Bickel was 4-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI. Also, Fletcher Rheault went 2-for-4 with two RBI and Max Stedt was 1-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored. Additionally, Jordan Ijomah and Brad Schmidt each had two RBI.
On the year, Mulvihill leads the team in batting, hitting .484, followed by Mitch Zurn, who is hitting .393. Stedt, the team's cleanup hitter, is third on the team in batting with a .389 average and has a team-best 12 RBI and six extra-base hits. Rheault, who is batting .357, is second on the team in RBI with nine and leads the team with eight runs scored.
Briggs said Rheault and Stedt were his best power hitters.
"They're very good hitters," Briggs said. "If we played on a fenced field we'd have a lot of home runs. They're not super fast. Offensively, there are some good offensive players there."
On the mound, Rheault, Stedt and Chris McDonald have led the way thus far with 23, 21 and 14 innings pitched, respectively. McDonald has a team-best 3.91 ERA, followed by Rheault at 4.87.
Post 8752 broke for the Independence Day holiday, but is back in action on July 6 at White Bear Lake and on July 7 at Highland Park, before going to Miesville on July 9 for a game prior to St. Paul Park's Legion game.
"After the Fourth of July break we'll have some rested pitchers which will help a lot," Briggs said. "It'll be nicer when things are spread out a little more."