Anoka Bucs’ defense pays off with 14-0 shutout in season opener

The Anoka Bucs kicked off their season last Wednesday at Castle Field and needed little time to get into mid-season form as they beat the Northwest Suburbs Redhawks 14-0 in seven innings.

Cody Nelson patiently waits on the right pitch. All but one Bucs hitter scored in Anoka’s 14-0 shutout win over the Northwest Suburbs Redhawks. Photo by Chris Walden
Cody Nelson patiently waits on the right pitch. All but one Bucs hitter scored in Anoka’s 14-0 shutout win over the Northwest Suburbs Redhawks. Photo by Chris Walden

The Bucs’ offense was led by Bryan Doheny, who capped off a six-run third inning with a three-run homer over the left field fence.

“I got a pitch up and tried to put a good swing on it,” said Doheny, who worked the count to 3-1.

The Bucs’ offense got hot early as the first five hitters in the bottom of the first scored on three hits, two walks and two Redhawks errors, including a two-run double by Travis Piepho.

Anoka’s offense was well balanced with 10 hits scattered through eight batters. All but one Bucs hitter scored at least once.

Three Bucs pitchers combined gave up just one hit. Ryan Picotte started at pitcher for Anoka, giving up just one hit and striking out three in two innings. Tyler Delwyche was dominant in relief, striking out eight of the 10 batters he faced. Michael Harwerth struck out three Redhawks in his two innings of work.

“The best thing about it is we played good defense, to tell you the truth,” said manager Todd VanKrevelen about his team’s complete performance. “We kicked away a lot of games defensively last year. We expected to score some runs, and this time we took advantage of their bad defense.”

The Bucs split their other two games of the week, including a 13-3, seven-inning win over the Rum River Bandits on Friday. Anoka’s offense was led by Kyle Boughner’s home run and a three-hit, three-RBI day by Mitch Ward. Jack Niedenfuer struck out nine Bandits in a complete game performance.

Week wrap-ups

• Anoka (0-1 league, 2-1 overall) finished the week with an 11-0 Sunday loss to new league rival Isanti. Dallas Nelson pitched a complete game shutout for the Redbirds with nine strikouts. Isanti is the defending Minnesota Baseball Class C Champion, in its first season in Class B Metro Minny.

• The Coon Rapids Redbirds’ only game of the week was a 11-4 win over the Class A Minneapolis Angels on Friday evening. Dan Skog went 5-5 for the Redbirds, while Craig Henry and Karl Sorenson added three hits each. Joe Axelson picked up the win in relief.

• Blaine beat two Class A teams last week with a 13-4 victory over the Minneapolis River Rats and a 15-0 (seven innings) win against the TC Saints. Joe Tupy went 4-4, with five RBIs against the River Rats, Shane Bushland struck out 10 in five innings for the Fusion to get the win over the Saints. Bushland has pitched 26 innings in four starts this season, and has given up zero runs with 45 strikouts.

• East Bethel went 0-2 in Metro Minny games  last week, losing 2-1 to Big Lake and 5-1 to Isanti. The Bandits took advantage of another strong performance by Matt Topeff to defeat Mora in non-league play. Topeff pitched nine shutout innings, and struck out 11. They also lost 15-14 to the Metro Knights. Inspite of Matt Michaels’ double, triple, and home run.

• St. Francis played three non-league games, beating the Nowthen Knights 13-7 and Metro Knights 9-2. The Saints lost 2-1 to the Chaska Cubs to finish the week.

Chris Walden is at [email protected]