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East Ridge baseball: Raptors survive scare from Wolfpack

East Ridge beat rival Park 12-11 in Woodbury on Wednesday. (Bulletin photo by Matthew Davis)

Gone with the wind more or less sums up a wild game for East Ridge against Park in a 12-11 victory.

“We barely hung on against a team that wouldn’t quick,” Raptors coach Brian Sprout said.

Heavy winds helped the ball sail deep into the outfield in their Wednesday, April 23 clash and both teams took advantage. The cross-district rivals combined for 24 hits at East Ridge’s field.

“Everything up in the air was getting blown out,” Raptors senior catcher Luke Ringhofer said.

Early momentum for the Raptors went blew away as they saw an 8-1 lead through three innings almost disappear. Park mounted a comeback in the fifth with four runs, cutting the lead to 8-5.

The Raptors responded by hitting to deep left field and center field primarily and put for runs to gain a 12-5 lead. Cal Kellner and Luke Ringhofer both hit home runs in the game. Kellener also drove in four runs, and Ringhofer had two RBI.

“We hit the ball a little more than them,” Ringhofer said.

Park threatened in the top of the seventh with six runs, but pitcher Sam Cobbs came in to shut the door and earn the save for the Raptors. Kellener picked up the win pitching for East Ridge with 3.2 innings pitched along with six strikeouts on four hits allowed.

“Cobbs did a good job of assessing the situation and making a play to end the game,” Ringhofer said.

With that win, the Raptors avoided losing two straight after a tough loss at Cretin-Derham Hall on Monday, April 21. Carter Stoehr went five innings for the black-and-gold, striking out five. He also drove in both runs and had two hits. Yet, the Raiders came up with the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth.

“It’s learning points for guys to look at,” Sprout said. “There’s a couple or three little things that happen in a baseball game. When you’re playing really good teams, those things add up to wins and losses.”

Drew Molin kept East Ridge in the Suburban East hunt with a big showing on the pitching mound against Roseville. He threw six strikeouts for a 7-0 complete game win on Friday, April 25.

Molin threw 18 first-pitch strikes as the Raptors improved to 8-2 overall and 7-2 in the SEC. Zach Wahl drove in two runs, and Kyle Orehosky had a team-best three hits.

Rain may put a damper on the week for the Raptors. Their game with Woodbury (7-2, 7-2 SEC) for Monday was postponed due to the rain. Key SEC games with Hastings (3-6, 3-5 SEC) on Wednesday and White Bear Lake (2-3, 2-3 SEC) on Friday may also succumb to rain. Early next week, the Raptors will take on defending state champion Mounds View (3-5, 3-5 SEC).

—Matthew Davis