Angels take a bite out of Bulldogs
It took about seven games for Chris Gilson to start getting used to swinging a wood bat instead of the multi-alloy aluminum ones, but if his 4-4 game Wednesday is any indication, the learning curve is over.
Gilson blasted his first home run of the season for the Detroit Lakes Angels -- and his first with a wood bat -- to spark a seven-run fifth inning in a 10-0 victory over the visiting Dent Bulldogs.
But his long ball over the left-center fence wasn't the only extra-base hits he had in his bat, as Gilson finished 4-4 along with two doubles to key a 12-hit Angels' attack.
"I've been getting some more at-bats and using a wood bat is definitely different, but I'm liking them," said Gilson, who is hitting near the .300 mark.
Gilson's leadoff homer to start the fifth ignited a rally where the Angels picked up five hits, wrapped around a couple of errors to lead to their game-deciding seven runs.
After the bases were loaded on a pair of singles by third baseman Phil Doll and catcher Doug Dickey -- along with an error on a Nick Omberg hit -- Max Saarinen earned a tough RBI by being hit hard in the back by a Dent pitch.
Center fielder Kyle Danner proceeded with a fielder's choice grounder, which brought in Omberg and the second error of the inning on a Matt Huberty hit added DL's fourth run.
Designated hitter Taylor Fuhs followed up with a clutch RBI single, with Gilson claiming his second RBI of the inning with a one-bagger, but also ended the inning after trying to stretch his single into a double.
In actuality, the Angels needed just one run to win the game with pitcher Bryan Buhr on the mound.
The Angels righty upped his record to 4-0 with an impressive six-inning shutout performance.
His accuracy was right on target with no walks and six strikeouts. Buhr allowed just five scattered hits in the game.
"Anytime you don't give up walks, it's key," said Angels' co-manager Mark Jorgenson. "We'll take that every time. Bryan was throwing his fastballs for strikes."
Jon Tolbert cleaned up the final inning with a scoreless effort to seal the deal.
Each of Doll and Huberty had two hits, with the latter also registering three RBIs.
The Angels (6-2) are tied with Wadena-Deer Creek for the lead in the Hi-10 League and play in Hawley today (Sunday) for a 1 p.m. start.
With the big turnover in the roster from last year, chemistry has not been an issue for the climbing Angels.
"We've actually been playing with each other for awhile now (in high school), so it's not that much different," said Gilson. Many of his former Laker teammates are now on the Angels' team. "If we can start producing some more offense and make the routine plays, I think we can be pretty good."
Co-manager Phil Kirchner, who's one of the veterans on the squad, said pitching and defense are the keys -- and both have been holding up well so far.
"We have a team ERA under 3.00 and we have good starters," Kirchner said. "Huberty is our ace and one of the better pitchers in the area, while Gilson and Buhr are having good years.
"Justin Berg, our ace last year, is on his way back, too. Jon Tolbert is also eating up some innings for us."
With veterans Doll and Omberg holding down the right side at first and second base, the infield is becoming strong.
So the question marks which were created at the beginning of the season are slowly, but surely, being answered by this younger-looking Angels' team.
"There is a good mix of young and veteran players, we should be fine," Kirchner added.
The Angels will host the Fergus Falls Hurricanes Wednesday, for a 7:30 p.m. start.
Dent at Detroit Lakes, Wednesday, June 24.
Bulldogs 000 000 0 - 0 5 2
Angels 011 170 x - 10 12 1
AB R H Bi
T. Fuhs 4 1 1 1
C. Gilson 4 1 4 1
N. Eidenschink 0 0 0 0
P. Kirchner 4 1 1 0
M. Mooney 0 0 0 0
P. Doll 4 1 2 0
C. Engberg 0 0 0 0
N. Omberg 2 0 0 1
D. Dickey 2 2 1 0
M. Saarinen 1 1 0 1
K. Danner 3 1 1 0
M. Huberty 3 1 2 3
Totals 27 9 12 7
HR: Gilson...2B: Gilson (2), Huberty.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): DL - B. Buhr (WP) 6-5-0-0-0-6; J. Tolbert 1-0-0-0-1-1.