Albert Lea wins rematch at Owatonna

Published 3:45 am Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Depth in the pitching rotation and errorless baseball advanced Albert Lea to its sixth win in the last seven games.

“We’ve got a nice run going,” said Albert Lea coach Joe Sczublewski.

Tyler Steele became the fourth Tigers’ pitcher to pick up a victory, and Albert Lea won 5-1 Tuesday at Owatonna.

Email newsletter signup

“Tyler pitched a whale of a game,” Sczublewski said. “He battled through a couple of tough jams and kept them off balance with a nice breaking ball and fastball.”

When the Tigers (7-6, 3-4 Big Nine) played on April 16 at Owatonna (5-7, 4-4 Big Nine), Albert Lea lost 10-7. In Tuesday’s rematch, Steele gave up only two hits and one earned run.

“It was the best game of his high school career,” Sczublewski said. “It’s a real boost for Tyler, and hopefully there’s more to come.”

At the plate, the Tigers’ Alex Bledsoe tied the Huskies’ hit total, and Albert Lea had three times as many total hits as Owatonna.

Bledsoe led the Tigers by going 2-for-2 with a double, a walk and 2 RBIs. Albert Lea’s Jake Thompson, Parker Mullenbach, Sam Moyer and Kole Smith added one hit each.

Although the game was played in Owatonna, Albert Lea batted in the bottom of each inning because the game was slated to be played at Hayek Field. Sczublewski said the location was changed because of wet grounds in Albert Lea.

After Owatonna took a one-run lead in the second, Albert Lea fought back with four runs in the third. Smith singled to center field, and Bledsoe hit an RBI double to the center field fence. Bledsoe scored on a botched pick-off play, Jake Kilby scored on a sacrifice fly by E.J. Thomas and Thompson scored on a line drive off the pitcher’s leg by Mullenbach.

In the fourth inning, Moyer hit a double and scored on a double by Bledsoe.

“That was a big insurance run,” Sczublewski said.

Owatonna loaded the bases in the fifth and sixth innings but was unable to score.

“(Steele) mixed a couple strikeouts in there, and the ball got hit right at us,” Sczublewski said. “It was probably our best defensive game.”

Next, Albert Lea will host a doubleheader against Mankato East (6-6, 3-4 Big Nine) at 4 p.m. Thursday.

The Cougars are coming off a 12-6 home win against Faribault but have lost three of their last four.