SLEEPY EYE - Jevan Richert had a big day for the Springfield baseball team.
The freshman went 3-for-3 with four RBIs and two doubles and also delivered four shutout innings - after allowing four runs in the first - to get the win on the mound in No. 5 Springfield's 15-4 five-inning victory against Sleepy Eye in a Tomahawk Conference baseball game on Friday.
Springfield coach Bob Fink said the latter was not too shabby for a freshman whose primary position is behind the plate instead of on the mound.
"Believe it or not, I've coached here now 12 years and I've coached a lot of freshman catchers," Fink said. "It just seems like we're lucky in Springfield to have some great catchers come through the program. He's definitely one of them."
The Tigers (11-1, 10-1 Tomahawk) scored 10 runs in the first inning - five of which came off starter Austin Fischer, who got the loss in 1/3 of an inning pitched.
"He's had some issues with control here or there, but that was an extreme," said Sleepy Eye coach Aaron Nesvold of Fischer's performance on Friday. "Normally, he's around the plate. He may not throw them right down the middle, but he's going to be around the plate and today he just wasn't."
The Indians (3-5, 2-5) switched to senior Sam Hirschboeck, who allowed 10 runs - eight earned - on nine hits with five walks and three strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings pitched.
In the bottom of the first, the Indians did not lie down facing their 10-0 deficit. Instead, they scored four runs on five hits off Richert - with one RBI each from Matt Berkner and Hirschboeck before Alex Bruggeman drove them both in with a double to the center-field fence.
"There was a long layoff because of all the runs we scored that first inning and [Richert] really wasn't that loose," Fink said. "You could see once he got loose in the later innings, he did a very fine job - especially for a ninth-grader."
Akin to Richert, fellow freshman Brandon Flock produced for the Tigers. He went 1-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
Cooper Scheffler and Dylan Wersal each had two RBIs for the Tigers. Sam Baier scored three runs on three walks.
A controversial play occurred in the top of the fifth inning, when Hirschboeck supposedly punched Tim Krueger, who was caught in a pickle between third base and home plate as the third runner to advance on a bases-loaded double by Flock.
Flock had driven in Sam Baier and Carter Erickson with the hit and had already advanced to third base during the run-down. However, Hirschboeck's aggressive tag of Krueger got the out and prevented a third run from scoring on the play.
"On that play, he's got to run the guy back to third and I tell the guys that you have to tag them both just in case one of them gets nervous and steps off," Nesvold said. "To me, that's what he did. Was it excessive? I don't think so."
Sleepy Eye's bats were almost as equally active as Springfield's, but the final score was far from indicative of that.
"We need to play better ball at the beginning," Nesvold said. "We can't give up runs easy. We had just as many hits as they did, but when they have 11 more runs, that's the difference."
Springfield will play Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart at 5 p.m. on Monday at Hector. Sleepy Eye will play Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop at 5 p.m. on Monday at Fairfax.
Springfield 11 03 - 15 10 0
Sleepy Eye 400 00 - 4 9 3
Richert and Portner; Fischer, Hirschboeck (1), Bruggeman (5) and Bruggeman, Hirschboeck (5).
W - Richert (Sp) 5 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
L - Fischer (SE) 1/3 IP, 1 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 0 K
Leading hitters - Springfield: Scheffler 1-3 2 RBI 2 R, Richert 3-3 4 RBI 2-2B 1 HBP, Erickson 1-3 1 RBI 2 R 1 BB 2B, Flock 1-3 3 RBI 2 R 1 BB 1 K 2B, Wersal 1-3 2 RBI 1 R 1 K 1 BB 2B; Sleepy Eye: Polesky 2-3 1 R, Berkner 1-3 1 RBI 1 R, Hirschboeck 2-3 1 RBI 1 R 2-2B, Bruggeman 1-3 2 RBI 1 K.