After starting the season 6-0, the Crookston Reds have dropped their last five games, including three at this past weekend's Wolf Lake Tournament.
The Reds lost 3-2 to Wolf Lake on Saturday, 23-7 to the Duluth Express on Saturday afternoon and 4-3 to Cass Lake on Sunday.
"We were missing some guys," said Reds manager Justin Johnson. "We had ten guys in the Saturday games. One was Joseph Hollcraft, who we recently signed, and we added a guy to roster, Justin Buegler, who is from Baudette originally."
Johnson said this weekend was a prime example of how important the small things are in baseball.
"This weekend was a prime weekend of how crucial it is to do the small things right in baseball," he said. "We lost two games this weekend because we didn't do the small things right. An example, we had guys on first and third, two out, and their defense lost track of the first-base runner, who easily stole second base but our guy at third was picked off. It's about being alert at all times."
The Reds saw some good pitching this weekend.
"This weekend was good for us in the fact that we faced three really good pitchers. Those were three of the top five we've seen this season."
Reds vs. Wolf Lake
Chito Longoria pitched all six innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and one walk.
After two innings the game was tied 1-1 with Ben Wilson leading off the bottom of the second with a base hit for Crookston and later scoring on a passed ball.
Wolf Lake added one in the fourth and one in the fifth before the Reds cut the deficit back to one run. Matt Morin doubled and two batters later, Longoria drove him home with a base hit.
Wolf Lake held the Reds scoreless, though, in the final two innings to hang on for the win.
"Chito threw excellent in the first game against Wolf Lake," said Johnson. "He put us in great position to win that game."
Morin was 1 for 2 with a double and two walks. Wilson was 1 for 2 with a run scored.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Crookston 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 3 0
Wolf Lake 0 1 0 1 1 0 X 3 5 0
Reds vs. Duluth
The Duluth Express pounded Reds pitching for 23 runs on Saturday afternoon. Duluth hit two home runs in the game.
Bill Sullivan pitched 2 2-3 innings, allowing ten earned runs, 11 total, on eight hits and two walks. Ben Parkin pitched 1 1-3 innings and allowed six earned runs, seven total, on five hits and one walk. Skip Toops pitched the final two innings, allowing five earned runs on three hits and one walk.
Page 2 of 2 - Parkin went 3 for 4 at the plate with a double, two RBI and three runs scored. Alex Edevold finished 1 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Longoria went 2 for 5, Toops was 1 for 2 with two walks and a run scored. Hollcraft was 0 for 1 with three walks and an RBI.
"Bill got roughed up in the second game," said Johnson. "Ben and Skip threw some which was good to see.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Crookston 0 0 2 0 1 2 2 7 9 2
Duluth 4 2 6 6 0 5 X 23 17 2
Reds vs. Cass Lake
Morin pitched all nine innings, allowing one earned run, four total, on four hits and two walks. He struck out six.
With Cass Lake leading 3-2 after five innings, the Reds added one in the sixth when Josh Moser singled and the next three batters drew walks to drive him home.
Cass Lake scored in the ninth inning for the win.
Morin was 3 for 4 at the plate with two RBI. Johnson was 2 for 4 with a double and two runs scored. Parkin and Wilson each went 2 for 5.
"Matt Morin did everything and more to win that game for us but the little things killed us," said Johnson. "We left 13 on base and it's tough to win when nine of those 13 are in scoring position.
"Today's game was quite the back and forth," Johnson continued. "But you can't win games with eight errors. It's frustrating for sure."
The Reds will host the Ada A's Wednesday at 7 p.m.
"We have Ada on Wednesday at home," noted Johnson. "It will be interesting to see what happens there. I'm not sure if our lineup will be full strength but by Sunday we will have a full lineup."
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Crookston 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 3 9 8
Cass Lake 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 4 4 0