By Jason Groth
It was a good start to the season for the Nashwauk-Keewatin Spartans on Friday afternoon at the Keewatin baseball field as they earned a 2-0 victory over the Chisholm Bluestreaks to kick off the 2014 campaign.
The Spartans were led by the solid pitching of Mitch Bonderson. Bonderson didn’t receive much run support in the contest but it was needed as he cruised through the Bluestreak line up in picking up the victory. Bonderson allowed only four hits in seven innings of work while striking out seven Bluestreak batters.
One of the keys for Bonderson was getting ahead of the Bluestreak batters. Bonderson threw first pitch strikes to 21 of 27 batters and was able to work out of the little trouble that he was in during the early innings.
However, it wasn’t perfect for the Spartans in the contest. The Spartans struggled to get much going offensively and struggled on the base paths against the Bluestreaks. Kevin Hale was hit by a pitch and Taylor Haigh followed with a single to put runners on first and second with no one out. However, the rally was thwarted on one Peyton Tyler pitch. Tyler induced a pop fly on a bunt attempt to Jesse Nelson. Tyler made the catch, fired to first for the second out and Ricky Hooper fired to Mitch Rusten at second for the third out as Chisholm turned a triple play to end the rally.
The Spartans were able to capitalize on some wildness from Tyler and some ineffective defense to score their only runs. Matt Wilcox and Will Senich drew back-to-back walks to start the third inning. John LaBine laid down a perfect bunt and Wilcox beat the throw to third to fill the bases with no one out. Jeff Korpi followed with a hard hit ground ball to second which allowed Wilcox to score. However, the throw to first was up the line and that allowed Senich to score the game’s second run.
That would be enough support for Bonderson who was in command. Bonderson struck out four straight batters at one point and retired eight batters in a row before that streak was ended on an error. Bonderson walked only one batter while allowing four hits in the game.
His counterpart, Tyler, was effective for four innings on the hill in suffering the loss. Tyler allowed only two runs, no earned runs, on two hits. He struck out three and walked three in the contest. Mitch Rusten pitched two scoreless innings of relief for Chisholm. Rusten struck out four and walked one in the game.
Haigh and Kevin Hale had the lone hits in the game for Nashwauk-Keewatin. The Spartans were back in action on Monday when they were scheduled to take on the Floodwood Polar Bears in Keewatin.