NRHEG splits double dip

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 10, 2008

By Mike Simmons, staff writer

NEW RICHLAND &8212; The crazy weather has really taken a toll on the baseball season this spring and forced many athletic directors to get creative with their scheduling.

That was the case Friday night when New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva played a doubleheader against two different teams.

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The Panthers (7-6) faced Maple River in the first game and came away with a 6-5 win, then they played Waseca in the second game and were beaten 8-1. Maple River and Waseca came into the game with a combined record of 15-2.

&8220;Like I told the kids after the game, these are two really good teams we played tonight and we were able to get a split,&8221; said Panther head coach Jeff Reese. &8220;I think both of them came in with just one loss so we are happy to get at least one win.&8221;

Sophomore Brett Hagen took the mound in game one against Maple River and sat the Eagles down in order in the first two innings before giving up a run in the third.

NRHEG evened the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth when Eli Bushlack walked and then scored from third on a double steal. After giving up one run in the fifth and two in the top of the sixth the Panthers found themselves on the wrong end of a 4-2 ballgame.

That was the score in the bottom of the seventh when Gaven Schlaak and Payden Peterson led off the inning with a walk and a single. Both players scored to make it 4-4 after seven.

NRHEG up to this point had not led in the ballgame and once again fell behind by a run at 5-4 in the top of the eighth. It could have been worse had it not been for center fielder Dakota Tracy gunning down another run at the plate for the third out of the inning.

Heading to the bottom of the eighth inning the Panthers had just five hits for the game. But with the rally caps on NRHEG led off the inning with three consecutive singles by Colton Schlaak, Tracy, and Gaven Schlaak. Then with one out and the bases loaded Matt Tomsche delivered the winning run with a single that drove in two for the 6-5 win. The final score was the first time in the game NRHEG held the lead.

&8220;That game was a good win for us, and with another one after that, it was really good to see Brett (Hagen) go the distance for us,&8221; Reese said.

Game two against Waseca featured two coaches in Reese and Bluejays assistant coach Tink Larson who combined have 75 years of baseball experience and over 1,000 wins.

Other than that, this game was one that the Panthers would rather forget. After giving up three runs on four hits in the first inning to Waseca, NRHEG pitching didn&8217;t allow another hit until the seventh but gave up five runs nonetheless and lost 8-1. Gaven Schlaak, Colton Schlaak, and Corbin Pederson collected the only hits for the Panthers against the Bluejays&8217; Kelvin Nelson.

&8220;It would have been nice if the games would have been switched and we could have ended the week with a win, said Reese. &8220;But we have a lot of baseball to play yet and I think we are getting better every day.&8221;

The Panthers host Albert Lea Tuesday.