by Max Mercy
PROCTOR -- Denfeld defeated Proctor, 11-3, in a Lake Superior Conference baseball game on Tuesday. Winning pitcher Jantzen Levy worked the first six innings and allowed three runs on five hits, two walks, and a hit batsman with four strikeouts.
The Hunters pushed two runs across the plate in the top of the first. Ben Gibson led off with a single and took two bases on an errant pick-off throw. He scored on an RBI single by Brendan Walkowiak. Walkowiak stole second and scored on a one-out RBI single by Logan Jasper.
Denfeld added to its lead with a three-run third. Ben Gibson again led off with a single. He stole second and scored on an RBI double by Jasper with two outs. Alex Knuth kept the inning alive by getting hit by a pitch. An RBI single by Darren Shykes scored Jasper and sent Knuth to third. Knuth then scored on a passed ball.
Proctor starter Zach Gunderson (1-4 W-L, 4.15 ERA) took the loss in three innings pitched. He allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits, two walks, and a hit batsman. He had two strikeouts.
Ethan Bakke pitched two innings in relief, with one run scored in each inning.
In the fourth, Denfeld's Ben Emmel led off with a walk and took second on a one-out single by Ben Gibson. Walkowiak hit into an unusual double play when he grounded to Bryce Huffman at first base. Huffman touched the base to retire Walkowiak and threw to shortstop Gunderson in order to tag out Ben Gibson. Gibson alertly stopped running before reaching second base and retreated to first. The put-out went 3-6-3-4-6, but during the "pickle," Emmel sprinted home before Gibson was finally tagged out by Gunderson at first base.
In the fifth, Knuth singled with two outs. He circled the bases on two stolen bases and an errant throw on his swipe of third base.
Ryan Lear pitched a quick 1-2-3 sixth inning for Proctor, with one strikeout.
The Rails' offense got some traction in the sixth. Ben Harnell led off with a walk. A spectacular catch on the run by left-fielder Knuth deep in the left-center gap prevented an extra-base hit by Lucas Nordquist. Jordan Linder followed with a single, sending Harnell to second. Gunderson also singled. Harnell, beating a retreat to third after drawing a throw from the outfield to the plate, found third base occupied by Linder. Harnell remained in a "pickle" long enough for Linder to backtrack to second and finally scored on the play when he beat a throw to the plate. Linder did finally attain third on the play, and Gunderson advanced to second. Blake Koski sent in both runners with a two-RBI single.
Nordquist pitched the seventh inning and allowed four runs on five consecutive singles by Eric Gibson, Jasper, Knuth, Shykes, and Peyton Budislovich, following a lead-off walk to Walkowiak, before a double-play groundout and a pop fly ended the inning. The last four hits were of the one-RBI variety.
Ben Gibson pitched a perfect seventh inning with one strikeout to wrap up the game.
Denfeld was led by Ben Gibson and Jasper with three hits apiece. Knuth and Shykes had two hits each. Jasper had three RBI and Shykes drove in two runs. Knuth had three runs and Ben Gibson, Walkowiak, and Zach DeCaro, the courtesy runner for catcher Jasper, each scored twice.
Proctor, now 10-6, is back in action on Thursday, May 24, at Esko. The final regular-season game starts at 4:30 p.m.