39ers’ big 7th inning stops Hamline’s good pitching performance

Elvin Baez pitches 2-hitter

After a disappointing tournament performance in Grand Rapids, the North St. Paul 39ers got back on track Monday, June 22 against the Hamline Post 418 Hylanders at St. Paul Academy Field.

Behind a full-game pitching performance by Elvin Baez, the 39ers garnered six runs in the top of the seventh inning to gain a 6-2 triumph in District IV American Legion action.

Interim manager Jeff Motz -- filling in for the absent-with-leave Ron Adams -- said, “Hamline got that run right away on an error in the first, and I thought, ‘Boy, here we go again.’

“But then we had that strong inning in the seventh. We got that big hit by our pinch-hitter Sam Blees to start the inning, and then we took advantage of their errors.

“We got some good pitching. It was a good showing by Baez, who went the full seven innings. [Adam] Hildebrandt had a great evening at the plate. He went 3-for-4 and had that double and two RBI for us in the seventh. This was a much better performance than any we had up in Grand Rapids.”

The loss prompted Hylanders manager Ryan Ferkinhoff to say, “Yeah, it got away from us in the seventh. Our pitcher [Ryan Kuntz] had a strong performance.

“They got that hit to start the seventh, and we decided to take Kuntz out. Then we threw the ball around a bit, and the game got away from us.”

The Hylanders scored a run in the bottom of the first inning, and the score remained at 1-0 until the seventh with Kuntz allowing just four hits through the six innings he was on the mound.

In the seventh Blees got things going with his single into left field, and the Hylanders promptly switched pitchers.

Louie Varland popped a sacrifice bunt in the air that was bobbled. A hasty throw to first went down the line as Blees raced to third. A peg to get him out at third went into the dirt and past the third baseman, and Blees came home with the tying run, as Varland went around the paths to third.

Jake Steckler was hit by a pitch and stole second in front of a walk to Jimmy Bothwell that loaded the sacks. In stepped Hildebrandt, who promptly sent a screaming two-RBI gapper to left center field that scored what turned out to be the game-winning runs.  

Dylan Foote put a suicide bunt on the ground that scored Bothwell. That was followed by a RBI single to left off the bat of Joe Baumann. A walk to Gus Varland was followed by a sacrifice fly to center field by Joey Lenart, and the 39ers had posted their final the runs.

Wally Wakefield can be reached at wwakefield@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7826.

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