The Pirate baseball team was handed its first two losses of the season Saturday at the Jim Karn Memorial Showcase at Jim Karn Field. Ely defeated Crookston 9-7 in the morning and St. Cloud Cathedral held Crookston without a hit in a 4-0 loss in the afternoon.
"We played pretty well for the most part," Pirate head coach Ted Hasz said. "We didn't commit a lot of errors defensively and we pitched average for us. We faced two very good teams and faced some good pitching. We welcome that to get ready for playoffs. Ely threw its best guy at us and Cathedral threw a pretty good guy at us too."
The Pirates fall to 4-2 on the season. On Thursday they will host Northern Freeze at 2:30 p.m. and Red Lake County at 5 p.m.
"We have three games this week, two section games and a conference game with Red Lake County," explained Hasz. "We hope to see really good pitching and we hope to continue to hit that good pitching. We are really trying to keep getting better so we're ready for the playoffs in a few weeks."
Crookston took a 7-4 lead into the final inning but Ely scored five to hand the Pirates their first loss of the season.
"Josh said he was still good to go," Hasz said of Josh Edlund, the starting pitcher. "In two of other games we brought in Aaron Hollcraft to save it. It didn't turn out way we wanted to but we learned some things about ourselves. Kyle Proulx came in and did just fine. It would've been a nice quality win. Throughout this season we need kids to step up. Alex Boone had a huge two-RBI single to put us ahead in the sixth."
Sophomore Aaron Hollcraft put Crookston on the board in the first inning when he walked and advanced to third on a stolen base and wild pitch. Senior Josh Edlund then drove him home on a ground out play.
Ely answered, though, with two runs in the second and one in the third.
The Timberwolves then scored one in the fifth to go up 4-1 before the Pirates tied it in the bottom half of the inning with three runs, followed by three more in the sixth for a 7-4 lead.
Edlund started, pitching six innings and allowing seven earned runs, eight total, on eight hits and five walks. He struck out five. Senior Kyle Proulx pitched the final inning, allowing one unearned run on two hits and one walk.
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Senior Alex Boone and Hollcraft each had hits and scored two runs. Boone had two RBIs, while Hollcraft had one. Edlund also had a hit, one run and one RBI.
St. Cloud Cathedral's Jacob Gross and Jeff Fasching combined to no-hit Crookston as the No. 2 ranked team in Class AA won 4-0.
"It was a competitive game," Hasz said. "We never felt we were out of it. We feel like we're capable of scoring a lot of runs. Cathedral had been giving up one run a game is what I've seen. We did hit some balls hard. They just didn't get hit in the right spots. They are not one of the top teams in the state for no reason. Joey Koenig came in and showed us if you throw the ball in the strike zone you can make pitching look pretty easy. That was his first varsity appearance."
Gross earned the win, pitching six innings and walking two, while striking out eight. Fasching pitched the final inning, walking one and striking out two.
Hollcraft pitched three innings for Crookston, allowing two earned runs, three total, on five hits and six walks. Sophomore Joey Koenig shut out Cathedral in the final four innings, allowing three hits and one walk, while striking out three.
St. Cloud Cathedral scored two runs in each of the first and third innings and that is all it would need.