The PL Mudcats have started the turn for home in the 2016 regular season and hosted Faribault at “The Vet” in Prior Lake following a hiatus due to a schedule lull & rainout that lasted an unusual 10 days. The ‘Cats had battled the Lakers at Bell Field in a completed game 3-2 loss for Ben Morrison to Faribaults Matt Lane who held on for the complete game win June 26.
With 1 out in the Faribault 1st, the visiting Lakers hit back-to-back 1 out singles off PL starter Topher Rose and a 2 out RBI single by Ryan Archambault followed by consecutive Mudcats errors leading to 2 runs and a 3-0 score to start the game. The Mudcats answered for 2 in the bottom of the 1st with a 1 out single by 1st baseman Kyle Schmidt that scored Levi Schneider while Austin Schultz sac fly to left scored Johnny Houston for a 3-2 score after 1.
Rose blanked the Lakers in the 2nd before and RBI single by Archambault and Dylan Valentyn who also hit a RBI single with 1 out for a 5-2 Lakers lead. The ‘Cats were blanked in innings 2-4 by starter Tyler Francis before catcher Levi Schneider blast a ground rule double to left in the 5thand is knocked in by a Houston single to rightcenter advancing to 2nd on the throw home. Cole Bjorge then knocked a deep sac fly to plate Houston and narrowing the game to 5-4 Faribault after 5.
Veteran Mudcats hurler Jake Schmidt replaced Rose in the top of the 7th as Rose was drilled on a come backer recording the last out in the 6th. Schmidt walked Matt Lane through a full count then got an out at 2nd on a fielders choice with Morrison snaring a ground ball at 3rd and throwing to Lehrer at 2nd. A 1 out single led to a play also hit to Morrison who got the out at 3rd breaking to his left to knock the ball down, then reached for Archambault to get the out as he ran around the tag and out of the baseline. The Faribault 1st baseman exploded on the umpire who, working alone, appeared to make a correct call that were the runner in the baseline, he’d have been easily tagged out. The Lakers threat ended as Morrison got the last grounder to Kyle Schmidt to end the threat but Archambault got the gate in a close game already having 2 RBI and now needing replacement at 1st for Faribault.
Cole Bjorge led the 2 out attack in the 7th with a single followed by a Kyle Schmidt walk off of starter Kyle Francis as Matt Lane hurried to the pen. RF Jake Lehrer knocked a game tying double chasing Francis scoring Bjorge and advancing Schmidt to third. Austin Schultz rips a ball to third fielded but then short hopped to replacement firstbaseman Jake Stocker who could not handle the hop, scoring Schmidt and Lehrer for a 7-5 lead after 7. Jake Schmidt tossed a scoreless 8th and Justin Hackett allowed bases to fill in the 9th but silenced the Laker faithful striking out Mike Carpentier to end the threat and game.
Saddened Faribault fans departed wondering if the karma of carry on Dominos stacked the ballgods against the visiting Lakers in the thrilling Mudcats late season win. The win brought the ‘Cats into ½ game back of 2nd place Faribault at 12-6 and ahead of New Prague lurking in the 5th slot of the DRS. The top 4 teams receive a bye into regional playoffs and with 2 league games against Shakopee (6th 11-9) Sunday 7/17 and makeup at New Prague (5th 10-7) Monday 7/18 scratching the win was crucial as the regular season winds home.