Baseball: Tucker's complete-game shutout seals doubleheader sweep and Lakers' second straight Mid-State title
The Detroit Lakes baseball team is Mid-state champions for the second straight year. Jordan Tucker threw all seven innings in a shutout win on the mound for the first time in his career.
DETROIT LAKES – Jordan Tucker's first complete-game shutout of his career ended with a team photo and a Gatorade bath for head coach Terry Eiter. For the second straight season, the Detroit Lakes baseball team is Mid-State Conference champions.
Tucker allowed four hits and struck out seven batters in game two of the Lakers' (10-2) doubleheader sweep over Pequot Lakes.
"I've never had one before, so this is pretty cool," Tucker said on throwing a complete-game shutout. "At first, I was a little iffy about my curveball and changeup. Once I got them down, I started to feel more comfortable."
Both of Detroit Lakes' runs came in the third inning with two outs. Grady Kirchner ripped an RBI double off of the outstretched glove of the Patriots' left fielder to score Mason Omberg. Christian Solberg, who came in as Kirchner's courtesy runner, scored on a single from Tucker.
Two runs were all the Laker's ace needed on Friday. After getting out of a jam with a 6-4-3 double play in the third inning, Tucker retired the next 11 batters in order.
"That's traditionally Jordan," Eiter said. "He's able to get in those grooves and gets stronger as the game goes on. He's a strong kid, and he has a lot of confidence in himself."
After committing two errors in game one, Detroit Lakes tightened up defensively behind Tucker. The Lakers didn't commit an error in the second game of the day.
"We're always a little iffy in the field in the first game of a doubleheader," Tucker said. "As they get into the groove, they get better. The guys behind me were great."
Tucker left runners stranded in scoring position in the second and third innings. His key to getting out of a jam is to stay within himself.
"I just tell myself to stay in the game and keep my focus," Tucker said. "Don't worry about what the other dugout is chirping about. Just pitch."
In game one, the Lakers overcame an early three-run deficit to come away with a 7-6 victory. After the Patriots scored three in the top of the first, Markus Lyman scored on an error before Mason Omberg cut the deficit to one with an RBI double in the bottom of the second inning.
Lyman walked with the bases loaded to tie the game in the third. It was the beginning of a five-run frame for the Lakers. Kyler Johnston gave Detroit Lakes its first lead of the game with a sacrifice fly before a pair of errors brought three more Lakers home to take a 7-3 lead.
Detroit Lakes allowed three more runs in the top of the fifth but hung onto a one-run lead for the win. Bradly Swiers earned the victory on the mound. He allowed three runs on four hits over four innings. Noah Rieber threw one pitch to get the save in the top of the seventh in relief for Brock Okeson, who threw 2.2 innings.
"It wasn't that our pitching was bad by any means. Our pitching was solid," Eiter said of game one. "They had a lot of seeing-eye hits, and that's just baseball. It's a game of inches, and they scored some runs on us."
Winning the Mid-State Conference is a goal for the Lakers every season.
"It means a lot to our team because it's traditionally been something that's really rewarding for our community," Eiter said. "DL has been a part of the Mid-State for decades. It means a lot to not only our kids and our team but also our community."
Detroit Lakes has three key section games left on the schedule, including a home game on Monday against Sauk Rapids-Rice. With more formidable teams looming, Eiter believes his team needs to take a step forward now to stay competitive.
"We're going to see very tough competition," Eiter said. "In all facets of our game, we're going to have to step it up. We need to start being better at the plate. We're just going to have to be better. That's all there is to it."