39ers oust Lakers in five innings

The North St. Paul 39ers' bats came alive Tuesday, June 23, when they faced the White Bear Lakers in American Legion baseball action at Ralph Kuenkel Field.

North St. Paul manager Ron Adams summed up the 10-0 win over the Lakers by saying, "We got some hits tonight, and I thought we played well. Our pitcher (Joe Baumann) threw strikes.

"It's nice to get out of there with a team that you feel you should win against. Our defense played well and did the job. When you throw strikes, good things happen. We know how many times walks or hit batters come back to haunt you.

"It was nice to get a couple of hits and a few runs after the long [tournament] weekend we had up in Grand Rapids."

Baumann went the full seven innings and gave up just three hits while walking one and striking out one.  

"They're all tough," said White Bear Lake veteran manager Joe Janitschke in answer to a question about the caliber of Legion baseball teams. "It's going to be tough all year long. When you have 16-year-old kids, they don't learn as fast as 18-year-old kids, and I only have two 18-year-olds on the team.

"But we played hard, and North St. Paul is a good club who won't let you off the hook. We just didn't get the hits when we could have used them," Janitschke said. 

The 39ers opened the scoring in the last of the third. Vaughn Pouncy led with a single up the middle. A putout later, he was erased on a run down. Jake Steckler banged a shot to right field and promptly stole second. He went to third on a safety to right field off the bat of Sam Blees.

An unsuccessful attempt to get Steckler out at third allowed Blees to move to second, and on a throw to second, Steckler raced home with what turned out to be the game-winner. A wild pitch sent Blees to third, and he came home with the 2-0 tally on a pickoff attempt that rolled into left field.

In the fourth the 39ers added five more runs. Dylan Foote was safe on an infield error. Designated-hitter Elvin Baez beat out a roller to the left side. Jace Piepgras slashed a two-RBI shot down the right-field line. An error on a ball hit by Nic Keenan put a run across and was followed by Jake Steckler beating out a fielders' choice RBI. Steckler stole second base and came home on a single into left center by Adam Hildebrandt that pushed the score to 7-0.

In the fifth the 39ers filled the sacks on singles by Foote and Baez, and Piepgras, who was hit by a pitch. Pouncey knocked an RBI single up the middle to keep the bases loaded. Keenan picked up an RBI when he worked a walk. It was followed by a game-ending single into left center by Steckler, which gave the 39ers the shutout, 10-0, District IV victory.

—Wally Wakefield


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