Raiders off and running
The 2010 rust didn't last long for the Lake Park-Audubon baseball team, as they broke out for five runs in the fourth inning to key a 9-4 season-opening victory against Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal Thursday.
Senior catcher Jesse Wixo ripped a two-out, two-run single over the Titan shortstop's head to key the big inning, expanding a 1-0 lead to a comfortable 6-0 advantage.
"I wouldn't have wanted anyone else at the plate, but Jesse," said first-year head coach Brandon Olson about the big two-run hit, which ultimately opened up the game.
More importantly, the Raiders showed their veteran leadership by scoring their five runs with two outs on the board, starting with a two-out RBI single by senior pitcher Tyler Mickelson in the bottom of the third.
"We have a lot of experience out there, so that's what we are expecting to do," Wixo said of team's 11 seniors on the roster.
The Raiders also rode the arms of pitchers Mickelson and Chad Dehler, who combined to limit the Titans to three hits.
"Tyler is one of the best pitchers for throwing strikes and he had some good offspeed stuff," said Wixo, who caught both hurlers. "Chad was throwing some good low strikes, too."
Mickelson pitched the first 4.1 innings, allowing just two hits and no earned runs, while striking out six.
Dehler came in for relief in the fifth with a 6-0 lead and held NCE/U-H to one hit and two runs -- both unearned -- with four strikeouts and no walks.
"Tyler was throwing his pitches straight and for strikes, while changing his speed up well on his fastballs," Olson said. "Chad had some better breaking stuff, so it was nice to see that from out pitchers."
The Raiders collected a total of eight hits -- including three from Wixo.
"After getting over some nerves in my first at-bat (a strikeout), I was seeing the ball much better," Wixo added about his game-high three hits, all singles.
In the five-run third, Dehler preceded Wixo's two-run single with an RBI single. Those scoring in the inning included Caleb Lunde, Wes Jaster, Wyatt Wixo, Dehler and Jesse Wixo.
Troy Peterson was in relief of Levi Anderson to start the fourth, as he gave up two hits, two walks and a hit batsman.
Anderson was tagged with the loss after allowing one run and four hits, while striking out five.
Peterson had four strikeouts and allowed seven earned runs off of four hits.
The Raider's defense was solid up to the final inning, where they had three of their five errors.
"For the most part, the defense made the routine plays, with a great dig by our shortstop (Lunde) for a great play," Olson said. "I saw some nerves there and it's early, but I still think our defense will be a strong point this season."
Anderson had the lone RBIs for the Titans, which came on a one-out, two-run double in the fifth.
The Raiders will host Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton Thursday for a 5 p.m. start in Audubon.
Norman County East/Ulen-Hitterdal at Lake Park-Aubudon, Thursday, April 8.
Titans 000 020 2 - 4 3 2
Raiders 001 512 x - 9 8 5
AB R H Bi
W. Wixo 2 1 0 0
C. Dehler 4 1 1 1
J. Wixo 4 2 3 2
T. Mickelson 3 1 1 1
E. Danielson 2 1 0 0
J. Anderson 3 0 1 1
C. Lunde 3 1 1 0
W. Jaster 2 1 0 0
D. Binde 2 1 1 1
Totals 25 9 8 6
AB R H Bi
M. Anderson 3 1 1 0
J. Nogowski 1 1 0 0
D. Tollefson 3 0 1 0
L. Anderson 3 0 1 2
No. 9 1 1 0 0
A. Lee 3 0 0 0
J. Kvien 4 0 0 0
T. Peterson 4 0 0 0
A. Wang 2 0 0 0
D. Lien 3 0 0 0
S. Bentley 1 1 0 0
Totals 28 4 3 2
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): LPA - Mickelson (WP) 4.1-2-2-0-3-6; C. Dehler 2.2-1-2-0-0-4...NCE: Anderson (LP) 3-4-1-1-1-5; T. Peterson 3-4-8-7-3-4.