SECTION 8A BASEBALL: Drakes beat Red Lake in pitchers' duel
BLACKDUCK — A single run was all the Blackduck High School baseball team needed to beat Red Lake 1-0 Thursday in a Section 8A first-round playoff game in Blackduck.
The East Sub-Section No. 2-seeded Drakes (11-9) scored the game’s lone run on a bases-loaded walk to Nathan Affield in the second inning.
Blackduck batters drew four walks in the inning with the final one scoring the game-winning run.
“We didn’t bring a lot of energy to the park, especially when we were up in the batter’s box and it was very evident throughout the day,” Blackduck head coach Dwight Kalvig said. “We didn’t really capitalize on opportunities but it was far from the performance we’re capable of.”
Isaac Gustafson started on the mound for the Drakes before exiting after the third inning due to an injury. The starter allowed just one hit, struck out three and walked three.
Ian Frenzel came in for the injured Gustafson and pitch four more shutout innings, surrendering three hits while recording eight strikeouts with no walks.
“I couldn’t say enough for both Isaac and Ian,” Kalvig said. “We had to pull Isaac. He had a pulled muscle in his back and we’re gonna try to get that checked out. The other lefty Ian Frenzel came in, threw strikes, commanded the zone and did a nice job mixing pitches real well. He kept them off-balance. He did a really good job out there. We’re really happy for him.”
The loss ends the No. 7-seeded Warriors’ season, but head coach Jason Niemi says he is proud of his team’s effort in the playoff contest. Red Lake had lost both regular season meetings with Blackduck by scores of 14-4 and 20-9.
“I thought we played a pretty good game,” Red Lake head coach Jason Niemi said. “We kept the errors to a minimum but we just couldn’t get our offense going. We just came up a few hits short and made a couple mental mistakes, but overall it was a really good game for both teams.”
“They’re a team on the move,” Kalvig said. “They’re a team that’s up-and-coming and they’re getting better. I tip my hat to Red Lake. They came ready to play some baseball today and gave it everything they had.”
Red Lake (2-10) starter Alex English had a quality outing, pitching a complete game. English gave up one run on five hits while striking out eight and walking five.
“Alex pitched really well,” Niemi said. “It came down to the difference in the game— he walked four batters in the second inning and that’s the one they got. Like I’ve been telling the guys all year, if you don’t walk batters and don’t make errors, it’s a simple game.”
Blackduck will now advance to face No. 3 Win-E-Mac, who topped No. 6 Laporte 14-1 on Thursday. That game will be held at BSU Tuesday at 12:30 p.m.
Kalvig said he wants his squad to continue to play solid defense as they did Thursday, which will be key in advancing to the next round.
“We’ve been struggling defensively all season long. Offense has not been a problem so this is our first game where we really had that issue,” Kalvig said. “We want to continue to play good defense and have our pitchers throw strikes. I think those things really generate wins in playoff time.”
Blackduck 1, Red Lake 0
Red Lake 000 000 0 — 0-4-0
Blackduck 010 000 X — 1-5-0
WP: Frenzel, LP: English
Other Section 8A Playoff Results
No. 1 Fosston 4, No. 8 Cass Lake-Bena 1
No. 4 Northome/Kelliher 20, No. 5 Lake of the Woods 12
No. 3 Win-E-Mac 14, No. 6 Laporte 1 (5 innings)
No. 2 Blackduck 1, No. 7 Red Lake 0
No. 1 Sacred Heart 10, No. 8 Fertile-Beltrami 0 (5 innings)
No. 4 BGMR 5, No. 5 NCE/U-H 1
No. 3 Red Lake County 10, No. 6 Lake Park-Audubon 1
No. 2 Norman County 8, No. 7 Kittson County Central 1
East Sub-Section Semifinals
Tuesday, May 31 at BSU
Fosston vs.Northome Kelliher, 10 a.m.
Blackduck vs. Win-E-Mac, 12:30 p.m.
Winners’ bracket final
Tuesday, May 31 at BSU
Northome/Fosston vs. Blackduck/WEM, 3 p.m.
West Sub-Section Semifinals
Tuesday, May 31 at Ada
Sacred Heart vs. BGMR, 10 a.m.
Red Lake County vs. Norman County, 12:30 p.m.
Winners bracket final
Tuesday, May 31 at Ada
Semifinal winners, 3 p.m.
Winners bracket championship
Thursday, June 2 at BSU
East winner vs. West winner, 4 p.m.
Game 13: Loser East semifinal 1 vs. Loser East semifinal 2, at BSU, May 31 at 5:30 p.m.
Game 14: Loser West semifinal 1 vs. Loser West semifinal 2 at Ada, May 31 at 5:30 p.m.
Game 17: Game 13 winner vs. Loser West final at BSU, June 2 at 11 a.m.
Game 18: Game 14 winner vs. Loser East final at BSU, June 2 at 1:30 p.m.
Game 20: Game 17 winner vs. Game 18 winner at BSU, Tuesday, June 7 at 2 p.m.
Losers bracket championship: Loser winners bracket vs. Game 20 winner at BSU, Tuesday, June 7 at 4:30 p.m.
Section 8A Championship
Thursday, June 9 at BSU
Winners bracket champion vs. losers bracket champion, 2 p.m.