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Cardinals do 'little things' right in sweep

LAKER SHORTSTOP CONNOR MCLEOD tags out a would-be Staples-Motley base stealer Tuesday.

The "little things" did in the Detroit Lakes baseball team in a sweep at the hands of the No. 4 ranked Staples-Motley Cardinals at Washington Ballpark Tuesday.

Backed up by strong pitching by Gunner Johnson in a game-one thriller, the Cardinals were able to take one from the Lakers 4-2, then proceeded to take the nightcap 12-1 as well.

Game one featured both teams' aces in the battle of the Johnsons, and it set up perfectly for a pitchers' duel, which occurred throughout all seven innings.

S-M's Gunner Johnson outgunned DL's Brock Johnson, with the former pegging 14 strikeouts on Laker batters and allowed just two hits.

"(Gunner Johnson) had a good breaking ball and his fastball has some pop, but we didn't adjust well on his breaking stuff," said DL head coach Steve Fuhs. "We needed to be more aggressive when we were ahead in the counts, but got into trouble when we got down in them."

Senior first baseman T.J. Manning figured out early to jump on Johnson's fastball, after he slugged out the first pitch he saw in the first inning for a two-run homerun over the left-centerfield fence.

"Coach told us jump on his fastball early, so that's what I did and I saw one and hit it out," Manning said. "But he had some nasty stuff and some good breaking balls."

From that point on, S-M's Johnson allowed just one more hit.

Brock Johnson tossed four scoreless innings, before the Cardinals scratched out two runs in the fifth to tie the game.

S-M's bottom of the order keyed the rally, with No. 8 hitter Tyler Jennings leading off with a single and No. 9 man Jeremy Hoemburg drawing a walk off of Johnson.

DL's second error scored Jennings, while a sacrifice bunt by Alex Janssen scored Hoemburg.

The winning runs came in the top of the seventh, where the Cardinals produced two sacrifices, including a deep sac fly to centerfield by Jordan Riewer for S-M's third run.

The insurance tally was purchased on Gunner Johnson's RBI double to put the score at 4-2.

In the game, the Cardinals patiently laid down four sacrifices to help keep pressure on the Lakers and Brock Johnson.

"They were a disciplined team and they put the ball in play, while we didn't do anything to help ourselves," Fuhs said.

The Cardinals even pulled some tricks on the Lakers when they were out in the field.

Senior Andy Pederson gained first in the fifth inning on an error, which also gave him second base.

Gunner Johnson made a fake attempt to pick Pederson off of second, with each the second baseman and centerfield acting like the ball was overthrown.

Pederson took off for third, where Johnson promptly relayed a throw to the third baseman and he tagged the DL runner out.

"(Pederson) just got a bit too excited on the base and it's something you don't see everyday," Fuhs said. "Hopefully it's a learning experience."

Mother Nature didn't help DL's cause, either, blowing in a monsoon in the bottom of the seventh inning.

With winds blustering the field and rain pelting the players, the Cardinals evaded a potential rally after Johnson walked two and had a wild pitch to advance DL runners to second and third.

The Cardinals' pitcher was then able to ring up his 14th strikeout to end the game.

"We just need to do the little things right, that's what hurt us," Manning said of the loss.

Game two wasn't as close, as the Cardinals took advantage of a bevy of DL errors to win 12-1 in five innings.

The Lakers host Park Rapids Thursday for a 4 p.m. start in a Mid-State doubleheader.

Laker results

Staples-Motley at Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, May 4.

Cardinals 000 020 2 - 4 8 1

Lakers 200 000 0 - 2 2 2

Detroit Lakes


D. Engberg 3 0 0 0

C. McLeod 2 0 0 0

J. Thompson 1 1 0 0

N. Baker 1 0 0 0

T. Manning 3 1 1 2

T. Fode 3 0 0 0

B. Johnson 3 0 1 0

B. Provo 3 0 0 0

A. Pederson 2 0 0 0

B. Labat 0 0 0 0

J. Manning 1 0 0 0

N. Krohn 0 0 0 0

Totals 21 2 2 2

HR: T. Manning.



A. Janssen 2 0 0 1

T. Smith 4 1 2 0

J. Riewer 3 0 1 1

G. Johnson 4 0 2 1

B. Haglin 3 0 1 0

C. Beebe 2 0 0 0

R. Carter 1 0 0 0

D. Shequen 3 0 1 0

T. Jennings 3 1 1 0

J. Hoemburg 1 2 0 0

Totals 26 4 8 3

2B: Johnson.

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): DL - B. Johnson (LP, 3-1) 7-8-4-3-3-6...SM - 7-2-2-2-5-14.

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.