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DL stays on top of Mid-State

Kirk McLeod slides in safely as the second run of a double-squeeze bunt by Richie Grossman in the sixth inning of the first game vs. Pequot Lakes Tuesday. BRIAN BASHAM/TRIBUNE

The double-squeeze bunt has been a staple in the Detroit Lakes baseball team’s arsenal for many years, and in Tuesday’s Mid-State doubleheader against visiting Pequot Lakes, it was once again a vital weapon.

Incidentally, DL head coach Steve Fuhs just started working the double-squeeze bunt in Monday’s practice with this year’s team and it paid dividends right away, as the Laker pulled off the sweep of the Patriots by the scores of 4-2 and 5-0.

Senior Richie Grossman was the Laker who pulled off the double-squeeze this time, and DL needed both runs.

With one out and runners at second and third base, Grossman laid his bunt down the first base line.

It easily scored Nick Groth from third base, but when the Patriot pitcher threw the relay to first base to record the out on Grossman, senior catcher Kirk McLeod dove into home plate for the second run and a 4-1 advantage.

“It’s something we’ve done for many years, but we only started working on the double squeeze this year on Monday,” Fuhs said. “Richie laid down a perfect bunt and the runners hustled to score.”

Laker senior pitcher Tyler Gebhart kept the Patriot lineup stifled for much of the game with his sidearm delivery, allowing just one unearned run in the top of the first inning, then limiting Pequot Lakes to one hit in the next five.

The Pats delivered three consecutive hits in the top of the seventh to pull to within 4-2, but Gebhart forced two pop outs and a grounder to clinch the win.

“Tyler only had one strikeout, so that shows the defense played well again,” Fuhs said.

DL picked up only three hits in the victory, with senior shortstop Austin Eiter recording the other RBI with a two-out RBI single in the first inning.

Sophomore Connor Johnson had another solid outing on the mound in his shutout victory in game two.

He kept the Patriots off balance, forcing six ground balls to himself for putouts.

“That shows the batters were not hitting Connor well at all,” Fuhs said.

Leadoff batter senior Taylor Magnuson went 2-3 with two runs scored, including a double, while senior catcher Kirk McLeod kept his on-base percentage in the stratosphere by walking twice and going 1-1 with an RBI single in the fourth inning.

“Kirk has been smart at the plate and not swinging at bad pitches,” Fuhs said. “The pitchers are pitching around him. He’s also stealing bases and defensively, has shut down the opponents’ running game at catcher.”

The Lakers (6-2) still stand on top of the Mid-State Conference, along with Perham and Staples-Motley, and will travel to Pelican Rapids Friday for a non-conference game, starting at 5 p.m.

Laker results

Pequot Lakes at Detroit Lakes, Tuesday, May 7

PL     100 000 1 – 2 5 1

DL    100 012 x – 4 3 2

Detroit Lakes

                        AB    R      H      Bi

T. Magnuson    3      0      0      0

N. Groth           2      1      0      0

K. McLeod        2      2      1      0

A. Eiter             2      0      1      1

A. Matter          2      0      0      0

R. Grossman    2      0      0      2

R. Cihak           2      1      0      0

J. Lyngaas        2      0      0      0

C. Hegg            2      0      1      1

Totals               19   4      3      4

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): DL – T. Gebhart (WP) 7-5-2-1-2-1 

PL    000 000 0 – 0 4 1

DL    003 200 x – 5 8 2

Detroit Lakes

                        AB    R      H      Bi

Magnuson        3      2      2      0

Groth                2      0      0      0

J. Gailfus          1      0      0      0

McLeod            1      2      1      1

R. Wokasch      1      0      0      0

Eiter                 2      0      1      1

Gebhart            1      0      0      0

Matter              2      1      1      1

Grossman        3      0      1      1

B. Thompson   3      0      1      0

B. Dahring        1      0      0      1

S. Voz              3      0      0      0

Totals               23   5     7      5

2B: Magnuson

Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): DL – C. Johnson (WP) 7-4-0-0-2-6

(Follow Brian Wierima on Twitter at DLSportsGuy.)

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