By Jason Groth
The Greenway Raiders and the Nashwauk-Keewatin Spartan baseball teams renewed their rivarly on last Tuesday afternoon in Nashwauk. The game featured a little bit of everything but it was ninth grader Taylor Lantz that delivered the big hit in helping the Raiders earn a 5-2 victory over the Spartans.
Jaden Erkilla and Jeff Korpi dueled it out on the mound as both pitchers went the distance but it was Erkilla getting the better of Korpi in picking up the win.
Lantz had only one hit in the contest but he saved it for the biggest moment of the game. The Raiders had just relinquished a two-run lead in the top of the sixth, but, it was Lantz who gave it back to the Raiders in the bottom of the sixth.
With Kole Kalisch on third and Damon Meza, running for Jacob Neumeyer, standing on second, Lantz lifted a drive down the left field line that scored both Kalisch and Meza to give the Raiders a 4-2 lead. Lantz scored on an RBI ground ball off the bat of Mike Ladoux which gave the Raiders a 5-2 lead in the seventh.
Those runs would be enough for Erkilla. He pitched a complete game, allowing just two runs on three hits. He struck out 11 Spartans while walking four.
His counterpart, Korpi, allowed five runs on only four Greenway hits. He struck out seven batters but walked two and hit one. All three of the free passes eventually came around to score in the contest.
Erkilla worked out of a self induced jam in the top of the first as he walked two batters but left them stranded.
The Raider offense started early in the first. Justin Guyer walked to start the inning with one out. Meza came on to run for Guyer, stole second and moved to third on a single by Kole Kalisch. Kadin Kalisch followed with a drive to deep center for a two-run double to give the Raiders the early lead.
The Spartans battled back to tie the game up in the sixth inning with a pair of runs. Mitch Bonderson and Taylor Haigh started the inning with back-to-back singles. Bonderson eventually scored on a wild pitch and Haigh came around to score on a run-scoring single by Pat Yoder. Yoder was erased off the base paths as he tried to stretch it into a double.
Those two runs set up the heroics for Lantz in the seventh. It was the only hit of the game for Lantz but it was the most important one as he plated two runs with a double. Kole Kalisch had a hit and scored two runs in the game. Kadin Kalisch had a hit and drove home two runs for Greenway. LaDoux had an RBI as well.
Yoder, Bonderson and Haigh all had hits for the Spartans. All three of their hits came in their two-run sixth inning.