By Bob Kuehl
The Mound Westonka baseball team went into the week knowing it would be playing two doubleheaders in three days against two very strong programs. When it was all over, the White Hawks were weary but delighted to have won all four games.
On May 8, the White Hawks hosted Litchfield under dark and frightening clouds. Originally, there was supposed to be a 2 p.m. game at Mound Westonka High School, and then both teams would load the buses and head down to Siebert Field at the University of Minnesota to play the nightcap at 6 p.m. However, the U of M canceled the second game because of the likely chance of thunderstorms. So the decision was quickly made to play the doubleheader at MWHS.
Game one saw a matchup of junior left-handers in Andrew Loch of Litchfield and Sam Dufault of MWHS. The game didn’t disappoint. The White Hawks finally broke a 0-0 tie in the bottom of the fourth inning when Dufault singled to lead off the inning. He then stole second base. With one out, Dufault moved to third base on a sacrifice fly by senior Hank Nagel. Senior Cole Broome then delivered an opposite field single for the only run of the game.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Dragons appeared to tie the game on a long double that scored a runner. But the White Hawks successfully appealed the play, and the run was erased. It would prove to be the difference, as Dufault then shut the door, striking out four of the last five batters he faced in the game.
Game two saw the Dragons score a single run off senior pitcher Evan Dahl in the bottom of the third inning to take a 1-0 lead. The White Hawks immediately struck for three runs in the top of the fourth inning when Dufault, senior Andrew Fish and Nagel hit back-to-back-to-back doubles to start the inning. Senior Marshall Boser would later single in Nagel for the third run.
MWHS added an insurance run in the top of the fifth inning when Dahl reached base on an error to lead off the inning. Senior Jack LaTour sacrificed Dahl to second, and he scored on a double by Dufault. The final score was 4-1 in favor of the White Hawks.
On May 10, MWHS took the long bus ride to Spicer to face the Tigers. Game one would go extra innings, with the White Hawks winning 9-6 in nine innings.
This was a wild game. New London-Spicer scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning off of starter senior Will Stein. In the top of the third inning, senior Michael Lindell reached on an error, Dahl singled and LaTour reached on a fielder’s choice. Dufault then cleared the bases with a long double and was tagged out at third, trying to stretch the play into a triple.
The Tigers hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning and retook the lead, 4-3. MWHS tied the score up in the top of the fifth inning when Dahl singled and advanced to second base on an error. A wild pitch moved him to third. LaTour’s grounder to the right side scored Dahl, and the game was tied 4-4. It would stay that way until the ninth inning.
Then, the White Hawks broke the game open. After a long and solid at bat, senior Jarek Witczek reached first base on an error. Senior Andrew Wolf then ran for Witczek. Lindell singled and LaTour walked to load the bases with one out. Dufault was hit by a pitch to score a run. Fish walked to bring in another run. Nagel hit a deep fly ball to score LaTour. Broome then singled in Dufault. Fish scored on a passed ball, and the visitors took a 9-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning.
Two walks and a Tigers hit, and a pitching change had to be made. Lindell came in and allowed a couple of hits, but a great catch by Dufault in center field led to a rundown between third base and home that Boser executed with perfection, and the White Hawks came out with a 9-6 victory.
Game two was another barn burner. LaTour singled and scored in the bottom of the first when Broome walked with the bases loaded. The Tigers tied the game up at 1-1 when they had a hit and a couple of walks off of Witczek. MWHS scored a run in the bottom of the third and three more in the bottom of the fourth to take a 5-1 lead.
Then the roof caved in in the top of the fifth, when walks and some timely hitting by the Tigers made the score 5-4 with runners on second and third. Lindell again entered as a reliever and got a fly ball to end the threat. The White Hawks then added two insurance runs when Lindell and Dahl had RBI singles. Lindell got the final three outs, including an outstanding play in the field by shortstop Nagel, and the sweep was official.
The White Hawks are now 11-3 and 8-2 in the Wright County Conference. They host Annandale, Glencoe-Silver Lake and Duluth Denfeld next week at Fritz Soule Field.