Lakers extend winning streak
The Albert Lea Lakers came into Monday night’s game against the Storm Lake Whitecaps with a commanding 4 1/2-game lead in the Pioneer League.
Despite the Whitecaps being the second-place team in the league, they were no match for the surging Lakers, as Albert Lea climbed to its 10th straight win, 12-1.
The Lakers wasted no time in jumping out to an early lead, scoring the first runs of the game in the bottom of the first inning. Liam Spence led off with a walk, followed by a single from Keanu Van Kuren. Spence was then batted in on a single from Josh Dudden. Derek Burns reached on an error, which also scored Van Kuren.
Reid Feeley was a force on the mound for the Lakers, striking out all three batters in the second inning. Spence would record an RBI of his own in the second inning, batting in Mitchell Keeran with a double up the third base line. Dudden got his second RBI of the night with a sacrifice fly that scored CJ Neumann.
Albert Lea was held scoreless through the next three innings of play, but their defense made up for it with multiple stellar catches in the outfield and quality pitching.
Keeran led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a booming homerun over the centerfield fence. After Neumann and Spence both reached base safely, Keanu Van Kuren smashed a ball to deep center field to score them both. Van Kuren was then promptly batted in himself on a single off the bat of Jack McCarthy. Thomas Krause also hit an RBI-single to score a run. After six innings, the Lakers were firmly in control of the game, leading by nine runs.
The Whitecaps finally scored with a home run in the seventh inning, but the Lakers responded with a three-run inning of their own in the bottom of the seventh. The runs came courtesy of McCarthy on a sacrifice fly, Burns on a shallow single to center and a passed ball that brought in Dudden.
Feeley started on the mound for the Lakers, pitching six innings, allowing zero runs on four hits, walking none and striking out 11. Joey Ponder made a relief appearance in the seventh inning, allowing one run on one hit and striking out one.
Anthony Contonio came in to pitch in the eighth inning, allowing zero runs on one hit and striking out two.
McCarthy pitched the final inning for Albert Lea. He allowed no runs on no hits and struck out two.
The Lakers improve to 14-2 and take a 5 1/2-game lead in the Pioneer League. They will play again at noon Tuesday when they host the Whitecaps again.