Thunderbirds slip past Chargers

NEW ULM – Appropriately enough, the runs at Minnesota Valley Lutheran’s baseball field came in drizzles.

But in the end, it was Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop who escaped the steady spritz with a 2-1 squeaker against the MVL Chargers.

GFW pitcher Tanner Wenninger outdueled MVL’s Nick Dewanz for the victory, where the two teams combined for just six hits on a slow, sloppy field.

“Wenninger’s a gamer,” GFW coach Jeff Seehafer said. “He’s been talking to me about how to get in more games and today he made a super effort. Defensively, we played as well as we could play in the conditions.”

Indeed, despite the steady patter of droplets, there were no errors in the game. Any ball hit on the infield was slowed as if hit into a cushion of marshmallows, despite the fact MVL coach Jeff Schoenherr had just mowed it 48 hours earlier.

The first and second innings for the Thunderbirds were uneventful, with the Chargers starting off the scoring in the home half of the second.

Chad Lease singled to left and stole second, then took third on a single to right by DeAndre Parker. A fly to center by Dewanz brought home Lease, who slid through the plate a second before the relay throw.

It didn’t take long for GFW to tie it, with Tanner Buettner taking a walk before being advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Nolan Huiras. Buettner took third on a wild pitch then scored on Jaden Katzenmeyer single to left.

It was a pitcher’s paradise until the seventh inning, with the Thunderbirds managing two hits and a walk in that time and the Chargers being allowed a single walk by Wenninger.

With one out in the top of the seventh, Seth Schuette hit a ball that bounced off the top of the mound past Dewanz and rolled into center field. Three consecutive walks, two of them on 3-2 counts, would force Schuette in with the winning run.

The Thunderbirds improve to 4-6 overall and host Wabasso at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in a doubleheader in Fairfax. The Chargers drop to 5-7 and play New Ulm Cathedral at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Johnson Park.

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