Bulldogs face bunt blunders but get sweep

Published 9:40 am Friday, June 4, 2010

Sometimes it’s the little things that give us trouble.

Such was the case for the Lake Mills (5-1) baseball team that hit three homers in the doubleheader Thursday, including a grand slam in game one, but ran into trouble hitting and fielding bunts and almost cost themselves a sweep.

“It was frustrating,” head coach Jason Blaser said. “We practiced fielding bunts the night before the game.”

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After beating Riceville 12-3 in game one, the Bulldogs opened the night-cap with a slow start, getting down early.

In the bottom of the third, Lake Mills bunted into a double play. During the next half inning, the Bulldogs failed to field three straight Riceville bunts and fell behind 4-1.

So when the short game didn’t work, the Bulldogs went to the long ball.

Alex Grunhovd capped an eight run fourth inning with a three-run homer in an inning where the first five batters scored.

That proved to be enough offense as Lake Mills won 9-5.

“I liked the team’s continued effort,” Blaser said. “They didn’t hang their heads.”

Bunts weren’t an issue in game one as the Bulldogs won easily 12-3.

Royce Byrnes and Drey LyBarger led off the game with consecutive walks, scoring as Chris Throne hit a towering home run to center just over the sign reading “322 ft.” on the fence.

Bryan Hengesteg added the fourth run of the first inning with an RBI double and the Bulldogs batted around the order.

Lake Mills added two runs in the second inning on a Grunhovd single to right field. Riceville’s throw home died in front of the plate as Levi Dahle slid home to take a 6-2 lead.

Two singles and walk loaded the bases to start the bottom of the third for Throne who hit a line drive grand slam to left-center on a full count. Two batters later, Grunhovd added a two-run homer to set the final score at 12-3.

Throne finished the game going 3-for-4 with two home runs and seven RBIs.

“He’s by far our best hitter,” Blaser said. “He knows the strike zone and doesn’t strike out a lot.”

The Bulldogs take the field again tonight at Mason City Newman Catholic at 5:45 p.m. Newman is the reigning North Iowa champion.