St. Paul Park Legion baseball: Post 98 moves into third placeThe St. Paul Park Legion Post 98 baseball team enjoyed one of its best stretches of the summer last week, going 3-1-1 in five games — including a pair of wins over Forest Lake — to leapfrog the Rangers into third place in its league.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, South Washington County Bulletin
The St. Paul Park Legion Post 98 baseball team enjoyed one of its best stretches of the summer last week, going 3-1-1 in five games — including a pair of wins over Forest Lake — to leapfrog the Rangers into third place in its league.
Post 98 tied Eagan 2-2 in a game that ended in a rain-out on Tuesday, July 5, and beat Forest Lake 15-3 and 8-5 in Forest Lake on Wednesday, July 6. It topped Oakdale 7-2 on Thursday, July 7, in Oakdale, had its game against Hastings on Saturday, July 9, called off and fell to Red Wing 8-6 on Sunday, July 10, in Red Wing.
On Wednesday at Forest Lake’s Schumacher Field, St. Paul Park clubbed the Rangers 15-3 in game No. 1 and rallied from a 5-1 deficit, scoring seven runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, on the way to an 8-5 win in the nightcap.
“That was huge,” Doornink said. “They were 7-4 in the league going into the day and we were 5-4, so we jumped them in the standings right there.”
In the 15-3 win, St. Paul Park (13-10-1) scored four runs in the first two innings to get off on the right foot against the Rangers.
St. Paul Park racked up 13 hits in the game. Five players had two RBI in the game for the Packers — Lucas Maluski, Jake Carrigan, Jordan McGowan, Brad Schmit and Spencer Diedrich. Additionally, Carrigan, Schmit and Joe Cocchiarella each went 3-for-4.
“We just pounded the ball,” Doornink said.
Kyle Fritz started the game on the mound and tossed a gem, going the distance, allowing six hits and one earned run, while striking out four.
Doornink said Fritz has been the team’s ace this season.
“That was probably his worst start of the year, actually,” Doornink said. “And I’d take that anytime. He’s been lights-out for us.”
In game No. 2, Carrigan hit a bases-loaded double in the sixth inning to push the Parkers over the top.
Post 98 had 10 hits in the game giving St. Paul Park 23 hits on the day. Maluski led the way, going 3-for-3, which put him at 6-for-7 on the night and Carrigan was 2-for-3 with four RBI. On the mound, Tommy Swanson pitched six innings, allowing all five runs in the third inning, but otherwise shutting Forest Lake down. Closer Luke Wincentsen came in and earned the save.
After beating Forest Lake, St. Paul Park took down Oakdale 7-2 at Tartan High School the following day.
Starting pitcher Max Bundschu put the team on his shoulders, throwing a complete game, while allowing seven hits and forcing 13 groundouts.
“He shut them out the whole game until the second-to-last batter hit a two-run homerun,” Doornink said. “He kept the ball down in the zone. He’s been pitching really well his last couple of starts.”
At the plate, Maluski was 4-for-4, Cocchiarella went 3-for-4 and Diedrich and Schmit each had a pair of hits.
St. Paul Park concluded the week with an 8-6 loss to Red Wing on Sunday. Down 7-1, Post 98 scored five runs in the top of the eighth inning to cut the deficit to 7-6, but Red Wing tacked on a run in the bottom half of the eighth to make it 8-6 then held on for the win. Cory O’Connell went 3-for-4 and Maluski and Carrigan were each 2-for-4 for the Parkers.
St. Paul Park has six players on its roster that will be seniors at Park next fall and nine 2011 Park graduates. The Parkers also returned 2010 Park graduates Maluski and Swanson and added Schmit, a 2011 East Ridge grad.
Post 98 took on Stillwater and West St. Paul on Monday, July 11 and Tuesday, July 12, respectively, after the Bulletin went to print. Next, Post 98 plays host to Mahtomedi on Wednesday, July 13, and East Ridge on July 14, before taking on Lakeville South in Elko to end the regular season.
“If we finish in the top three in the league we get an automatic first-round bye in the playoffs,” Doornink said. “That’s our goal and we’re sitting in a great position to do that, but we have to play well the next four league games.”