Albert Lea baseball team wins first game of season

Published 9:18am Monday, April 21, 2014

A strong defensive performance gave the Albert Lea baseball team its first win of the season.

Johnathan Fleek went the distance on the mound in the Tigers’ 5-3 win Saturday at Waseca. He struck out six batters and allowed three hits, an earned run and a walk.

“Fleek is such a competitor on the mound,” said Albert Lea head coach Joe Sczublewski. “They scored a couple of unearned runs, and the kids played well behind him.”

Fleek was a First Team All-Area selection last season at shortstop, and Jake Thompson filled in for him while he pitched.

“Jake had a stellar game at shortstop,” Sczublewski said. “He was flawless in seven fielding attempts, and some of those were very difficult plays.”

Going into the sixth inning, Albert Lea trailed 2-1. Thompson took a base on balls and stole second, Sczublewski said. He scored on a base hit by Wyatt Paulsen, and Paulsen scored on a single by Mason Hammer. Kole Smith drove in the last two runs of the inning.

“It was nice to see the kids bunch some hits together,” Sczublewski said. “Sometimes you hear that hitting is contagious. That’s kind of what happened today.”

Hammer and Smith led Albert Lea (1-1 overall, 0-1 Big Nine Conference) at the plate. Both players were 2-for-3.

Read about Albert Lea’s home opener at 5 p.m. today against Rochester John Marshall in Tuesday’s Tribune.