Blaine senior catcher Alek Minkel walked in the winning run with the bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning for a 6-5 win at Andover April 12.
The rivals needed extra innings to decide a winner as both offenses came through in the clutch as Blaine moved to 2-2 on the season while Andover dropped to 1-2.
Minkel had two doubles and knocked in two runs while senior Cole Mortenson went 2-for-5 with three RBI to raise his batting average to .600 (9-15) with three doubles, three runs and six RBI.
Blaine’s Dustin Bryan got the offense started in the third inning with a two-out double before Mortonson brought him in on a single. Minkel followed with another double to make it 2-0 for the visitors early.
Andover senior Brent Stong tied the score at 2-2 with one swing of his bat on a two-run home run in the fourth inning.
Blaine made it 3-2 as they manufactured a run after Minkel’s lead-off double chased Andover starting pitcher Kyle Gausman from the game after five innings of work (three runs, four hits, one walk, one hit batter and four strike outs). Tanner Schumacher sacrificed himself to move the runner over followed by a walk then a baulk was called on sophomore Justin Freyholz.
Blaine added another two runs on a double by Mortonson in the top of the seventh inning to make it 5-2.
Andover put together a late-inning rally to force extra innings as Gausman reached first base on an error charged to the second baseman and eventually scored the first of three runs on a bases-loaded single by Brady Johnson. A pinch hit single by senior Wade Satzinger and walk by Dustin Johnson loaded the bases for twin-brother Brady Johnson’s RBI-single. Patrick O’Donnell added another RBI-single with the fifth run also scoring on a bobble by the Blaine center fielder to tie the game at 5-5 in the seventh inning.
O’Donnell, Gausman and Brent Stong each had two hits for Andover.
Andover’s Nate Stong took the loss in relief duty, giving up one hit, one earned run, one walk and one hit batter over two innings.
Bryan, a Blaine pitcher, picked up the win in 2-2/3 innings of scoreless relief work.
Jason Olson is at firstname.lastname@example.org