NEW ULM - If you can't beat 'em with heat, baffle 'em with off-speed.
That was the game plan that worked for Minnesota Valley Lutheran baseball pitcher Richard Jensen Tuesday as MVL topped the Comfrey/Cedar Mountain Rockets 3-1 in Tomahawk Conference action at Mueller Park.
"Jensen did some nice pitching today and let the defense help him out," Chargers coach Jeff Schoenherr said. "That's been the story of our season so far. Even when Justin (Bruns) came in relief in the seventh, Jensen still wanted the ball. I like to see that, but he was in the 80-plus pitch count and we've got to protect the arms and there's a lot of the season left."
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
Comfrey/Cedar Mountain’s Tyler Windschitl runs past Minnesota Valley Lutheran third baseman Ben Balge as he knocks down the ball Tuesday at Mueller Park in New Ulm.
For more photos of this event go to cu.nujournal.com
For the young Rockets squad, who started two freshmen and stranded eight runners, there just wasn't the key hits at the right time.
"We didn't take advantage of our opportunities," C/CM coach Rob Brandl said. "We were a couple of hits away from tying or winning the game. That was the difference today."
The Chargers put the first run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second with one out. Michael Martens walked, was sacrificed to second by Ben Balge and came home on a single to right by Jensen.
C/CM loaded the bases in the fourth with a hit, walk and an error, but Jensen struck out a Rocket to end the threat.
MVL took advantage in the bottom of that inning with two out, when Martens reached second on a bad throw. A passed ball put Martens at third, with Balge's infield hit making it 2-0.
It became 3-0 in the fifth when Ryan Grunke walked, followed by a Travis Kretsch single to left and a single to center by Dan Reinke that was just over the shortstop's glove.
The Rockets scored their lone run in the sixth when Tyler Windschitl and Andrew Richter hit consecutive singles, followed by a walk to Colton Kunkel to load the bases. John Christensen followed with a fly that scored Windschitl, but C/CM still left two runners stranded in both that inning and the seventh.
Jensen gave up four hits, struck out five, walked two and only allowed two fly balls in six innings. Justin Bruns came in for the save in the seventh. The losing pitcher was Cole Kelly, who allowed six hits, struck out two and walked three.
MVL (1-1) has a home game at 4:30 p.m. Thursday against New Ulm Cathedral at Johnson Park, while C/CM hosts Sleepy Eye St. Mary's at 5 p.m. Monday in Comfrey.