Kennedy stays with it for Metro West win
Kennedy rallied to score four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 4-3 walk-off victory over fifth-ranked Benilde-St. Margaret’s at Red Haddox Field.
The Eagles rally turned into a Metro West Conference win as senior Erik Swenson hit a two-out ground ball to third base as sophomore Gilbert Lopez scored the winning run for the fourth win of the season.
“That was huge for us to beat a good team ranked in state,” senior outfielder Jake Ekholm said. “It was a one-sided game for most of it until we put a run together. We like to stay together and see what we can get in the end.”
Junior Anthony Schutte started the inning with a free trip to first base after being hit by a pitch and was followed by a walk to junior Mike McGaffey.
Junior first baseman Jonah Smallfield put the Eagles on the board with a line drive to right field to score Schutte. Lopez, who has made progress as the first-year varsity center fielder was at bat when McGaffey stole home before a single to right field kept hope alive.
Senior Jake Ekholm brought in Smallfield on a single to center field to tie the game at three. John Kern hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out to bring up Swenson who went 3-for-4 at the plate.
Kennedy starting pitcher Nate Petsinger gave up five hits and two earned runs over six innings without a walk or strike out before Schutte needed 17 pitches to work through the seventh inning.
“They work hard and its fun to see them get rewarded,” Kennedy coach George Walker said about the game.
The week began with a 5-0 loss at Chaska on Monday with Swenson and Hoyt DeVolder picking up hits. DeVolder added a steal and Kern walked.
On Thursday, Richfield collected a 10-0 win in five innings with Swenson collecting a hit at Haddox Field before Washburn scored a 5-1 win in a game with section implications on Saturday.
Saturday’s Haddox Field matinee featured doubles by Swenson and Lopez as Kern led the way with a pair of the Eagles seven hits.
Junior Caleb VanDerBeek gave up one earned run on three hits in six innings of relief. He also struck out four and walked two, allowing the defense to make plays to pick up the entire squad.
“I tried to let me team handle it,” VanDerBeek said as the team made several highlight-reel plays to catch the ball and get an out. “I just threw strikes and I feel they did a very good job.”
Looking at his pitching, VanDerBeek added: “I was able to locate my curveball which was effective today.”
Kennedy was able to put runners on the base paths but couldn’t get that one more hit or fly to score more runs, leaving 11 runners on base against Washburn.
“We’ve just got to play our game and if we make a mistake move on from it,” Ekholm said. “If we keep playing our game, we’ll produce. We’re a good enough team where we can continue to produce.”
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