MVL baseball out-swings LCWM 6-5 to advance in 2A

MANKATO – The Magical Mystery Tour for the Minnesota Valley Lutheran Chargers’ baseball team in Section 2A is continuing.

The Chargers scored four runs in the fifth inning on just one hit, and then added two more runs in the sixth, as they erased a 5-0 deficit to top Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial 6-5 Saturday at Franklin Rogers Park in Mankato.

Nick Dewanz got the win in relief of starter Rick Jensen. Dewanz went 4 2/3 innings and did not allow a run. He struck out four.

Charles Menne took the loss in relief for the Knights, who see their season end at 15-6.

Ryan Grunke had two of the five Chargers hits and drove in two runs. MVL was out-hit 8-5 by the Knights.

MVL will now face Mankato Loyola at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Franklin Rogers Park.

For the Chargers and head coach Jeff Schoenherr, it was a case of not getting down mentally after spotting LCWM a five-run lead.

“I was proud of the way the guys kept working at it,” he said. “It would have been very easy for them to do after the third inning when they put up three runs. It would have been easy to hang the heads.”

LCWM scored single runs in the first and second innings off of starter Jensen.

In the first, it was a Brian Davis’ double to lead off the inning, a steal of third and a Bryson Yackel sacrifice fly.

The second inning saw LCWM score a run on a walk to Menne, a Devon Hagge sacrifice bunt and an RBI single from Shane Nelson.

LCWM then ended Jensen’s day with three runs in the fifth on a walk and three singles.

Meanwhile, Knights’ starter, Kolten Barker, had allowed a base hit by Kris Goetzke to lead off the game and a fourth inning single from Dewanz as he kept the Chargers off of the board.

But in the top of the fifth, MVL began its magical comeback.

Grant Wilson and Goetzke drew consecutive one-out walks before Grunke’s groundball single scored Wilson. Barker then issued a walk to Justin Bruns to load the bases and end his mound duties.

Menne got Tyler Mielke to slap a groundball to shortstop Yackel, but he bobbled the roller, allowing Goetzke to score and cut the lead to 5-2. A fielder’s choice and a passed ball brought MVL to within 5-4.

“That key sometimes in the game of baseball is to put the ball in play and make the other team field it once in a while,” Schoenherr said.

That was appropriate in the top of the sixth when the Chargers took the wind out of the Knights’ sails with two runs on two hits, one physical error and one big mental error.

Jake Mielke walked and Wilson followed with a slow roller to the right of first baseman, Joe Goskesen, who fielded the ball cleanly, but Menne did not cover him on first, so Wilson reached first safely. An errant pickoff throw let Mielke score before a Grunke base hit made it a 6-5 MVL lead.

The Knights threatened in the bottom of the seventh when they put the tying run on third with one out. But Dewanz retired the next two batters to preserve the win.

“Nick was just about as sharp as he was in his game against Cathedral,” said Schoenherr, who saw his team improve to 9-9 on the season. “He worked hard for the Chargers. This team keeps that calm all through games.”

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