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Lakers take 2 in doubleheader

The Albert Lea Lakers hosted the Carroll Merchants in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon with a chance to even further extend their lead in the Pioneer League.

Although games are normally nine innings, the first game of the doubleheader was scheduled to only play seven.

After coming out to a sluggish start in the first game, the Lakers sprang to life grabbing a lead in the second and holding on to beat the Merchants in game one, 6-2.

Despite being outhit by the Merchants in the second game, the Lakers were still able to come away with a win, 4-2.

Game 1

Albert Lea 6, Carroll 2

The Merchants capitalized on two walks to open the game. A ground out RBI and a sacrifice fly brought in both of those runs to give the Merchants a 2-0 lead. The Lakers were unable to respond in the bottom of the inning, leaving one runner stranded on base.

Albert Lea was put in another tough situation in the second inning when the first batter reached on a walk and was brought around to third on a throwing error to first. However, a Carroll strikeout and two easy grounders left the runner stranded at third.

The bottom of the second inning was when the Lakers came to life, nearly batting through the order and taking a one-run lead.

Derek Burns and Mitchell Keeran hit back-to-back singles to start the early-inning rally for the Lakers. Joey Ponder walked in his at-bat, loading the bases for CJ Neumann. An error by the second baseman put Neumann on first and also brought a run across the plate.

Liam Spence then stepped up and took the lead for Albert Lea with a two-run single to shallow left field. Albert Lea took a 3-2 lead into the third inning and never looked back.

Both teams went scoreless through the next 2 1/2 innings, with the Laker’s defense getting one-two-three innings in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

The Lakers added two more runs to their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Jack McCarthy and Keanu Van Kuren came around on a deep ball to left-center field off the bat of Burns.

Another run in the sixth on an RBI single from Josh Dudden all but assured a win for the Lakers, as they won game one of the doubleheader.

Cole Edgens made the start for the Lakers. He pitched all seven innings, allowing two runs on two hits, while walking five batters and striking out seven.

Albert Lea scored six runs on eight hits and recorded two errors. Carroll scored two runs on two hits and recorded two errors.

Game 2

Albert Lea 4, Carroll 2

The second game saw both teams struggle to find hits through the first 3 1/2 innings. Before the fourth inning, the only hit the Lakers had was a single from Noah Hemphill in the third.

Then, in the fourth inning, Dudden stepped up to the plate and finally broke the 0-0 tie with a booming homerun. Not to be outdone, Burns crushed a homerun of his own just two at-bats later. The two solo blasts gave the Lakers a 2-0 lead heading into the fifth inning.

The Merchants got one run in the top of the fifth, but the Lakers responded by scoring two runs in the bottom of the inning. Shawn Rooney and Spence would each get on base with walks and a throwing error during McCarthy’s at-bat scored both of them.

Carroll cut the lead to two with a run in the sixth.

The Merchants were only able to get one baserunner aboard in the final two innings, shutting down any chance of a comeback.

Cole Peterson started on the mound for Albert Lea. Peterson pitched six innings, allowing two runs on six hits, while striking out 10 batters and walking three. Jesse Bloom made a relief appearance in the seventh. He pitched one inning, allowing zero runs on one hit, while striking out one.

Robin Allen came in at the start of the eighth inning. Allen pitched two innings, allowing zero runs on zero hits, striking out five batters.

Albert Lea scored four runs on five hits and recorded one error. Carroll scored two runs on seven hits and recorded two errors.

The Lakers also played a game on Sunday night against the Peak of Ames. Results for that game were unavailable as of press time.

The Lakers move to 21-4 on the season and their next home game will be on Thursday as they host the Bandits of Bancroft.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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