Prep baseball: Greyhounds down sloppy Hawks
Hermantown “battled at the plate,” according to coach Billy Tafs, but eight fielding errors cost the team a chance at the win.
DULUTH — Bjorn Lind’s first home start as a varsity pitcher for Duluth East didn’t begin as well as he had envisioned during the Greyhounds’ 11-4 win over Hermantown Thursday.
Hawks leadoff batter Wyatt Carlson drove Lind’s fifth pitch of the day into centerfield for a double.
In his second start for East, Lind could have allowed the adversity to build and allowed Hermantown to start off with multiple runs in the first inning.
Instead, the sophomore hurler got Garron Opsahl and Wylee Arro to ground out and he struck out Carter Gunderson between those two to get out of the inning unscathed.
“Every day, I go out there and try to pound strikes,” Lind said. “Today, I felt like I was a little better than my last start and that’s what I’m trying to do every time.”
Lind picked up his second career win, allowing one run on four hits over two innings while striking out two batters. More importantly, he didn’t issue a single walk despite some Hermantown batters taking him deep into the count.
“If they keep hitting foul balls, you just keep throwing strikes until you either strike them out or they put it in play,” Lind said.
The Greyhounds gave Lind a lead with four runs in the bottom half of the first. Charlie Sutherland — a Minnesota recruit — cracked an RBI double, followed by run-scoring singles by Dylan Manchester and Sam Winesett. Senior Sam McEvoy also scored when Hermantown catcher River Freeman’s throw went past second baseman Chase Carlson on a steal attempt by Manchester.
The quick start was exactly what East needed, according to coach Chris Siljendahl, after a slow start Wednesday.
“We got off to a slow start against Clqouet and it took us until the third inning to score,” Siljendahl said. “Our approach was to try and score some runs early and come out swinging the bats and we did that. We started with a good inning on the defensive side to start out. Then we were able to steal some bases and play some defense.”
East also benefited from a number of Hermantown miscues in the field. The Hawks committed eight errors in the game and only five of the Greyhounds’ 11 runs were earned.
“I was fine with the way we battled at the plate, but you’re not going to win too many baseball games playing defense the way we did,” Tafs said. “Baseball is not rocket science. A lot of times, if you throw strikes and make plays, you’re going to be in the ball game, but we didn’t make the plays today. Hopefully we’ll get better and rebound next week.”
Hermantown came alive at the plate with three runs in the fifth inning, with Freeman and Arro both driving in runs for the Hawks.
“If you’re going to pull any positive out of today, it’s probably that the kids battled,” Tafs said. “We had a lot better at bats than we’ve had previously and we’ve just got to find a way to put a complete game together.”
Hermantown’s Dawson Rannow allowed six hits over three innings and struck out six batters, but walked four in the loss. Arro finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored for the Hawks.
Manchester and Winesett were both 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored for East.
East (3-1) will play New Ulm at 4:15 p.m. Friday at a tournament in St. Cloud.
Hermantown (5-2) will play Rock Ridge at 4:30 p.m. Monday in Eveleth.