Swegarden baffles Hornet batters
Lake Park-Audubon senior pitcher Mason Swegarden didn’t need much of a cushion in the Raider’s season opening road victory in Frazee Thursday.
After adding two more pitches to an already dominant pitching arsenal, Swegarden out-gunned Hornet senior Grant Overland for a Raider 1-0 victory, a game in which featured a total of 21 strikeouts.
But it was Swegarden who saw the only run cross the plate go in his favor and he ran with it from there.
“When I see a 1-0 lead, I think it’s bigger than just a one-run lead, because to me, that allows me to dominate the strike zone and be more aggressive,” Swegarden said, who finished with a dozen strikeouts and allowing just two hits to the potent Hornet lineup.
Swegarden, who has easily averaged nearly 10 strikeouts per game the last two seasons, is even more dynamic of a pitcher after developing a strong curveball during the offseason.
His curve now goes along with his deadly accurate fastball and changeup, with an addition of a cutter to add into the mix.
“I’ve been working on my curveball a lot because a curve is harder to hit than a changeup and it still is an offspeed pitch,” Swegarden said. “It felt good throwing it today.”
The Hornets didn’t really mount a threatening rally, not advancing a runner past second base. Swegarden also had six straight strikeouts through innings five and six.
The Raider defense also aided in the victory with zero errors, which is a huge accomplishment after allowing 50 unearned runs last year.
“The defense made every routine play and had no errors,” said LP-A head coach Sean Degerstrom. “That was needed, because (Overland) also pitched a heck of a game. We were just able to scratch a run by for the win.”
Overland’s performance was overshadowed by Swegarden’s, but it was strong nonetheless with nine strikeouts, one walk and allowing five hits.
LP-A pushed the winning run across in the top of the fourth inning, with Hunter Erickson starting the rally with a leadoff single.
Swegarden followed that up with a double, but Overland answered with back-to-back strikeouts.
But a passed ball enabled Erickson to score the lone run of the game.
The Hornets were able to put the ball in play, but the Raider defense didn’t allow any free bases, which was big for Swegarden’s approach to the Frazee batters.
“I don’t have to start thinking I have to strike every batter out, which of course I would love to do all day,” Swegarden said. “But I was able to throw a sinking fastball and cause some grounders, which the defense made the plays.”
Freshman Mike Vohnoutka led the Raiders with two hits.
The Raiders will be in action at Norman County in Ada-Borup Tuesday, while the Hornets will play at Barnesville Thursday in a doubleheader, starting at 4 p.m.
Lake Park-Audubon at Frazee, Thursday, April 17
LPA 000 100 0 – 1 5 0
Fraz 000 000 0 – 0 2 2
AB R H Bi
R. Boedigheimer 4 0 0 0
H. Erickson 4 1 1 0
M. Swegarden 3 0 2 0
L. Ulmer 3 0 0 0
W. Munson 2 0 0 0
R. Mattson 3 0 0 0
M. Vohnoutka 3 0 2 0
T. Vohnoutka 2 0 0 0
M. Hall 3 0 0 0
Totals 27 1 5 0
AB R H Bi
G. Hilde 3 0 0 0
G. Overland 3 0 1 0
C. Wokasch 3 0 1 0
T. Karger 3 0 0 0
A. Wendt 3 0 0 0
R. Brandt 2 0 0 0
K. VanDenEykel 2 0 0 0
R. Utke 2 0 0 0
L. Wacker 2 0 0 0
Totals 23 0 2 0
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): LPA – Swegarden (WP) 7-2-0-0-1-12…Fraz: Overland 7-5-1-1-1-9.