by Max Mercy
PROCTOR -- Ben Nelson threw a one-hit shutout as Proctor defeated Eveleth-Gilbert in a non-conference baseball game at Terry Egerdahl Memorial Field to open the 2012 season. The game was called with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning due to the 10-run rule after back-to-back RBI singles by Jake Lewis and Jimmy Merling.
Nelson (1-0, 0.00 ERA) had eight strikeouts and allowed two walks. He threw just 71 pitches in six innings, 51 for strikes.
Merling got Proctor's first hit of the season when he led off the bottom of the first inning with a sharp single to left field. Proctor took a 1-0 lead later in the inning when Merling scored on Cody Dolsen's sacrifice fly. Proctor scored twice in the second inning on singles by Jake Malec and Merling, a pair of Eveleth-Gilbert errors, and an RBI groundout by Jack Nikko. Merling reached on an error in the fourth inning, stole both second and third base, and scored on a balk to put the Rails ahead 4-0.
Proctor put the game out of reach with a four-run fifth inning. Both Evan Scherber and Ryan McCarthy contributed RBI singles, and Proctor took advantage of a hit batsman, two walks, a passed ball, and two errors in the inning.
Malec reached on an error with two outs in the sixth inning to set up the single by Lewis, on which Paul Hegstrom scored his third run of the game, and the walk-off single by Merling, on which Malec scored his third run.
Merling was 3-for-5 with two runs, two RBIs, and three stolen bases. McCarthy was 2-for-2 with an RBI and two stolen bases.
William Olson led off the top of the fourth inning with a single for Eveleth-Gilbert's lone hit.
Proctor had 10 runs on nine hits, no errors, and eight left on base. Eveleth-Gilbert had no runs on one hit, five errors, and one left on base.
Proctor (1-0) hosts Hermantown on Friday at 4:30 p.m. Eveleth-Gilbert (0-1) hosts Hibbing on Thursday.
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Nelson recorded his eighth career win, placing him in a tie for ninth all-time at PHS with 1978 graduate Mike Grover, 1981 graduate Bill Richardson, and 1984 graduate Steve Makitalo. Nelson also recorded his eighth career complete game, tying Grover, Richardson, and 1981 graduate Nik Peterson for eighth all-time at PHS... McCarthy became the sixth PHS player to collect 60 or more career hits. With two on Tues., he now has 61... McCarthy surpassed 2009 graduate Eric Makitalo (84) for seventh all-time at PHS in times on base (H+BB+HP). He has now reached base safely 87 times in his career. McCarthy also surpassed 1986 graduate Mark Kieren (323) for third all-time at PHS with 324 career put outs... Merling collected three hits Tues., putting him at exactly 50 in his varsity career. He is the ninth player in PHS history to record 50 or more hits... Jake Malec made his PHS Varsity debut a memorable one by getting a hit in his first at bat, stealing a base, and scoring three runs.
In junior varsity action, Proctor and Eveleth-Gilbert were knotted at 1-1 after four innings when the game was called due to cold temperatures. Rails starting pitcher Matt Dolsen allowed one unearned run on three hits and no walks in three innings pitched. He had seven strikeouts. Brian Tracey struck out two in one inning of relief. Keenan McGovern, Calen Porter, and Will Palmi had one hit apiece.