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East Ridge starting pitcher David Wermers earned the win in the Raptors’ season-opening 4-3 victory over Hastings. (Bulletin photo by Mike Longaecker)

East Ridge baseball: Raptors start 3-1

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Tight contests became the name of the game in East Ridge’s first week of the season.

Experience showed as the Raptors came out on top in most of them with a 3-1 record.

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“They have been in this for a long time and are capable of playing, and winning, close games,” Raptors coach Brian Sprout said.

The black-and-gold edged defending state champion Mounds View 3-2 on Friday, April 11 at home. Both teams put two runs in the first inning and remained knotted 2-2 until the Kyle Orehosky scored the game-winning run on passed ball in the fourth for the Raptors.

“We played well and know that we can beat anyone if we pitch and play defense,” Sprout said. “It was a good win, just like all others.”

Orehosky and Carter Stoehr each drove in runs for the Raptors. Stoehr picked up the win pitching in seven innings of work with six strikeouts while allowing four hits.

East Ridge also pulled out a one-run win against White Bear Lake on Wednesday, April 9. The Raptors won 5-4, out-hitting the Bears 9-6.

Drew Molin and Sam Cobbs put two runs on the board in the first inning for the Raptors. Michael Hietpas and Luke Ringhofer crossed home plate in the third for a 4-1 lead. Lucas Berry made it a 5-1 cushion on a run in the sixth inning. The cushion nearly deflated as the Raptors held off a three-run rally by the Bears in the seventh with a double play to end the game.

Hietpas went 2-2 with two RBI, and Bailey Goldstein went 1-1 with a RBI. Patrick Lyons pitched six innings, struck out four batters, allowed two hits and surrendered one earned run.

A tight win in the season opener on Tuesday, April 8 also provided similar drama. The black-and-gold overcame a 3-0 hole in the third inning to beat Hastings 4-3.

Ringhofer got the Raptors’ bats going with an RBI double. Molin went 1-3 and drove in a run. Cal Kellner went 2-3 at the plate. David Wermers picked up the win pitching, and Cobbs earned the save.

East Ridge’s lone blemish came against cross-town rival Woodbury in a 4-3 loss on Thursday, April 10. Giving up three runs in the sixth inning hurt the Raptors when they held a 3-2 lead.

Sprout said, “they are a good team that is capable of winning any game, and we are capable of winning if we clean up the little mistakes that costs us at least two runs.”

Up next, the Raptors (3-1, 3-1 Suburban East) play at Forest Lake (0-2, 0-1 SEC) at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16. The black-and-gold will face Hudson, Wis., on Thursday at 4:30 p.m at home. The Raptors then have a key conference game at Cretin-Derham Hall (2-0, 2-0 SEC) on Monday, April 21.

-Matthew Davis

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