The Prior Lake Mudcats have been among the Dakota, Rice, Scott League leaders for most of 2016. A two game slide which saw the ‘Cats dropped 6-1 vs St Patrick June 1 was followed by an 8-2 loss to New Prague June 5 seems long ago with the Mudcats going 4-1 in DRS League play including a 6-2 win over MBA Class B Elko and capped with a 10-1 win over MBA Class C #1 rated New Market on June 22 at Veterans Field of Memorial Park in Prior Lake avenging a 6-2 loss at New Market May 8. The ‘Cats also put the wood the highly touted (#8 MBA C 6/14 Rankings) Jordan Brewers 8-3 in the Cannon Falls Tourney 6/17 during the recent surge holding their slot in the DRS League leaders as the regular season turns towards the stretch run.
The host ‘Cats bounced back from an 18-11 loss to St Benedict before the Cannon Falls tourney which featured 10 defensive errors and turned to what has been a key in the season and recent hot stretch in June with efficient pitching, timely hitting and solid defense.
The visiting Muskies were blanked in the 1st by PL starting pitcher Topher Rose and posted a leadoff walk by New Market starter Parker Holmstrom to catcher Levi Schneider, a single by shortstop Jonny Houston that advanced Schneider to 3rd and an RBI single by centerfield Cole Bjorge. Houston, who had stolen second was on 3rd when the eventual game winner was plated when 1st baseman Kyle Schmidt grounded into a double play making the score 2-0 after 1 inning.
Following zeros for both teams in the 2nd and none in the top of the 3rd the Mudcats exploded for 5 runs starting with Mudcat 2B Jared Lehrer ripping a ball under the glove of the Muskies 2 bagger followed by a sac bunt by Schneider and groundout to Muskie 1B Kyle Bergstrom that advanced Lehrer to 3rd. With 2 outs the Mudcats got hits from Bjorge (RBI single) & Schmidt followed by a double by Jake Lehrer that scored Bjorge and sent Schmidt to 3rd. The 2 out rally continued with leftfielder Austin Schultz blasting a 3 run clout high over the left field wall before the inning was ended on a groundout by DH.Manager Fud Faue making the score 7-0 PL stunning the powerful Muskies and their loyal road fan following on a beautiful Veterans Field evening while storms raged in the Southern part of Scott County.
The ‘Cats were not done while Rose got solid support, the Muskies barreled up balls all around the park that were corralled by Mudcats fielders while he continued to keep the visitors off the board in the 4th and 5th innings. The ‘Cats lethal combo struck again in the 5th as Houston, Bjorge and Schmidt had consecutive hits and Houston stealing 3rd plating 1 and scoring a 2nd in the frame with Bjorge on Jake Lehrers groundout to short making the score 9-0 which held through a scoreless 6th and 7th with Rose and the ‘Cats “D” dialed in. Both teams tallied runs in the 8th for what would be the final as Justin Hackett would close the game in the 9th retiring the 1st 2 batters on line drives and dotting the win striking out Kyle Henkemeyer to end the game.
The Mudcats Rose yielded 1 run on 4 hits, 2 walks and 3 strikeouts in 8 innings while Hackett faced 3 in the scoreless 9th. The Mudcats 12 hit attack was led by Bjorge 4-4 scoring twice with 2 RBI, Kyle Schmidt 2-3 scoring a run and RBI and Houston who was 2-4 scoring twice and stealing 2 bases. The New Market Muskies, rated #1 in the June 14 rankings for MBA Class C, had a 13-0 DRS record coming into the game and still sit comfortably atop the DRS League Standings with St Patrick 11-3 also ahead of the 3rd place Mudcats now 10-5. Faribault is in 4th currently at 7-5 and will host the Mudcats at Bell Field Sunday 6/26 for a 200PM DRS tilt.
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