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Tuesday September 29, 2020
IMKN U-19 Baseball Drops Two In Wisconsin Dells

MAUSTON, Wis.---The Iron Mountain-Kingsford-Norway Under-19 baseball team is competing this weekend at the "Back To School Bash" in the Wisconsin Dells.

The boys dropped two games on Saturday, falling to the Midwest Prospects from Rockford, Ill., 6-5, and the HTP Raptors of Apple Valley, Minn., 8-3.

The IMKN boys, under the name "U.P." Sluggerz" had plenty of chances to win both games, but lack of timely hitting, poor base running, and inconsistent defense cost them. The games were played on the Woodside Sports Complex artificial turf fields in Mauston, Wis.

The Sluggerz included the boys who made the U.P. Under-19 semifinals last month, plus Hunter Lancour of Escanaba, who joined the team for this eight-team tournament.

In the game against the Prospects, IMKN fell behind 2-0 before they even came to the plate as pitcher Caleb Johnson walked the first two men he faced. Both scored after a throwing error, wild pitch, groundout by Nick Fehrle, and RBI single by Logan McCray.

IMKN got even in the bottom of the inning with a two-out rally. Hunter McCarthy and Blake Julian got base hits, and both scored on wild pitches.

The Prospects regained the lead in the second inning on a two-out RBI single by Aaron Monti, and then in the fourth inning, Monti clubbed a two-run triple to make it a 5-2 game.

The U.P. boys got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Blake Julian was hit by a pitch and scored on a wild pitch. But they wasted a perfect bunt single by Nolan Amundson and stranded two base runners in that inning, and stull trailed, 5-3.

In the fifth inning, Kody Hendricks was safe on an error and eventually scored on a sacrafice fly by Jesse Julian. Then McCarthy clubbed a long double to the 380-foot sign in center field, but he was stranded there when the next batter struck out.

In the top of the sixth, the Prospects scored an insurance run, and it was a big one, as IMKN rallied in the bottom of the inning.

Lancour walked and stole second, and scored on a base hit by Amundson, who was 2-for-2 plus a walk in the game.

That brought up Johnson with one out, but he hit into a hard 6-4-3 double play to end the inning, and the game was called because it reached the 1 hour, 45-minute time limit.

Johnson, who will play at UW-Oshkosh this school year, threw the whole way for IMKN, allowing six hits and five walks. Four of the five men he walked eventually scored for the Prospects. Johnson struck out five batters.

McCray earned the win for the Prospects.

In the second game, IMNK took 2-1 lead in the second inning on RBI singles by Amundson and Gannon Bray. Lancour pitched the first inning for the Sluggerz, hitting a batter, walking another, and allowing a double to Jalen Kupitz.

But in the second inning, Lancour had problems, after Nolan Stepka doubled, Blake Mellgren walked, annd Will Baldus was safe on a fielder's choice after a double play ball was not turned by the infield.

Lancour hit Gunnar Benson with a pitch, ending his day on the mound.

Nathan Bousley came in to pitch and yielded a two-run triple to Will Arendt, plus he hit a batter, and another run scored on a throwing error by Blake Julian. All of a sudden, IMKN was trailing, 6-2, after two innings.

IMKN had a chance in the third inning when Caleb Evosovich put down a nice bunt for a single, and the ball was thrown away. He got caught, however, between second and third, and was tagged out. Jesse Julian followed with a double to the fence, but the next two men were retired on a grounder and strikeout, keeping IMKN behind, 6-2.

After Bousley walked the first man he faced in the bottom of the third, he was replaced  by Kody Hendricks on the mound. He struck out the first two men he faced, then gave up a hit and a walk. With the bases loaded, Hendricks got a grounder to end the threat,

But the bottom of the fourth was rough for Hendricks as he gave up two runs on three hits, a tailor made double play ball that yielded only one out, and he hit a batter. IMKN pitchers pegged four batters in the game, and three of them scored.

Stepka's RBI single, followed by an RBI single by Will Baldus, gave the Raptors an 8-2 lead.

IMKN got a pinch hit double from Hunter Skoglund in the fifth inning, and he scored on the first of two straight infield errors. But with the bases loaded and a chance to cut into the 8-3 deficit, Lancour grounded out.

Then in the sixth inning, Bray hit into a 5-4-3 double play, and that was the way it ended as the time limit took effect again.

Lancour took the loss, charged with four runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings. Caden Sterling pitched a winner for the HTP Raptors. Arendt and Stepka both had two hits, while Evosovich was the only IMKN player with two base hits.

Click the thumbnails in the ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS box above to see photos and videos from Saturday's games.







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