Baseball team moves over .500 markThe Raider baseball team picked up a pair of big victories last week to improve to 9-8 overall, 7-4 in Big Rivers Conference play heading into the final week of the regular season.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
The Raider baseball team picked up a pair of big victories last week to improve to 9-8 overall, 7-4 in Big Rivers Conference play heading into the final week of the regular season.
The Raiders defeated New Richmond, 7-4, last Tuesday, May 17 and Rice Lake, 4-3, Thursday, May 19. Saturday’s scheduled doubleheader at home against Onalaska was rained out.
Hudson wrapped up the regular season this past Tuesday, May 24 at seventh-ranked Eau Claire North. WIAA regional playoffs begin Tuesday, May 31.
In the Raiders’ most recent win last Thursday against Rice Lake, pitcher Kellen Pearson went the distance, throwing just 82 pitches and allowing three unearned runs, in a 4-3 victory over the Warriors.
Pearson struck out nine and walked one while allowing four hits in the complete-game victory. All three of Rice Lake’s runs were unearned.
“Kellen was outstanding today,” Raider coach Ryan Huppert said. “He kept the ball down and pounded the strike zone all seven innings. He was very efficient and effective.”
Pearson was perfect through three innings but the score remained tied, 0-0, until Hudson got on the board with a two-run triple off the bat of Austin Lenzen in the bottom of the third.
Rice Lake scored three unearned runs in the top of the fourth and took a 3-2 lead into the sixth before Hudson took the lead for good. Pearson walked to lead off the inning and Drew Pheneger stepped in to pinch run. Brett Steinwagner sacrificed Pheneger to second and Austin Evenson doubled to the right-centerfield gap to score Pheneger with the tying run.
Ben Johnson came in to run for Evenson and scored the go-ahead run on a single by Matt Strachota.
“We’ve played in a lot of close games this year where small ball has been the difference,” Huppert said. “Today was the same. Brett put down a huge sac bunt to set things up and then Austin Evenson and Matt Strachota came through with big hits to put us back ahead.”
Pearson struck out two batters in the top of the seventh and got the final out on a pop-up to third baseman Josh Evenson to secure the victory. Josh Evenson made several nice plays at third in the game, including a backhanded stop of a hard-hit chopper down the third base line for the first out of the second inning.
Austin Evenson had two hits, including double, while Lenzen triple in a pair of runs and Strachota had a run-scoring base hit. Ben Christensen had a hit and scored a run while Derek Krumrei walked, was hit by a pitch and scored once.
Last Tuesday against New Richmond, Steinwagner allowed six hits and one earned run through six innings on the mound and sparked the Raiders at the plate with two hits, including a double, and four RBI in the team’s 8-4 victory over the Tigers.
“This was a very important win for us going into the playoffs,” Huppert said. “New Richmond is a good team and a team in our sectional, so to pick up a win today was big for us.”
Steinwagner had a two-run double in the first, singled in a run in the second and walked with the bases loaded to force in a run in the third to help the Raiders build a 7-2 lead.
Pearson also had two hits, including a double, and two RBI, while Christensen singled, doubled, walked, was hit by a pitch and scored two runs. Lenzen and Andrew Entenza had a hit and two runs scored apiece while Miles Lewis laid down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt that scored Entenza with the Raiders’ final run in the fourth.
On the mound, Steinwagner struck out six and walked two in six innings of work before Jon Stoffer allowed one run on two hits with two strikeouts in the seventh.