Seven of the Patriots' eight runs were marked as unearned due to the fielding lapses.
Crookston committed five errors and stranded nine baserunners in an 8-4 loss to the Win-E-Mac Patriots. The Pirates trailed 7-0 in the fifth inning and began to put together a rally with three runs in the fifth, but the Patriots held on for the victory.
Sophomore Brady Butt started on the mound for Crookston, but received little help from his defense allowing seven unearned runs. Butt collected six strikeouts on the afternoon.
“Brady threw an outstanding game,” Head Coach Mitch Bakken said. “He hasn’t thrown in a while and threw about 70 pitches today. It’s just frustrating when you see kids that are giving it their all and some that are just going through the motions.”
The Pirates saw a chance to score first in the opening frame when senior Cade Salentine reached on a base hit and sophomore Gavin Salem drew a walk. A popout and a flyout ended the threat.
The Patriots’ second-inning rally began with an infield single. Then two errors on one play by Crookston gave Win-E-Mac runners on second and third with no outs. A base hit brought in one run for a 1-0 lead, but Butt prevented further damage with a strikeout and a fly ball to center.
Butt went from the mound straight to the plate and led off the second with an infield single. Jackson Seibel sac-bunted freshman courtesy runner Jacob Miller to second, but a strikeout and a sliding catch by the Patriots’ right fielder kept the Pirates off the board and ended the inning.
Another error by the Pirates contributed to the Patriots’ second and third runs in the third inning. With runners on first and third and one out, the runner on first broke for second. Sophomore catcher Jade Selzler fired to sophomore SS Leyton Salentine in a designed attempt to catch the runner on third in a run down. Salentine’s throw home sailed past the catcher and both baserunners came around to score for a 3-0 lead.
The Pirates’ defense stepped up in the top of the fourth to erase a would-be run for Win-E-Mac. With a runner on third and one out, the batter lifted a fly ball to Seibel in right who recorded the out on the fly and fired home to senior catcher Alex LaFrance who lunged to complete the double play.
“[Jackson’s] had a couple putouts this year and it’s nice when he gets a chance to throw a guy out,” Bakken said. “He’s got a really good arm and he’s usually pretty accurate and that’s why he’s out there.”
The momentum carried over to the bottom of the fourth as Crookston loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks. But a strikeout and a flyout to center made the Pirates 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Two more errors and a wild pitch helped Win-E-Mac to four more runs in the fifth inning as they increased their lead 7-0.
In the bottom half of the fifth, Crookston loaded the bases and LaFrance brought home the Pirates’ first run on a fielder’s choice scoring Cade Salentine. Leyton Salentine later scored on a wild pitch and Butt brought home LaFrance on an RBI groundout to make the score 7-3. A strikeout stranded a runner at second making Crookston 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position through five innings.
Senior Tim Parr came on in relief to pitch the final two innings for Crookston. Parr pitched a clean sixth inning, but surrendered Crookston’s first earned run of the game in the top of the seventh as Win-E-Mac added an insurance run for an 8-3 lead.
Down to their last out, senior Drew Dragseth drew a walk and scored on an error by the right fielder on a ball hit by Butt. The Patriots managed to record the final out on a groundout for the 8-4 win.
Crookston ended the game going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, but Bakken admitted the defense served as a bigger issue.
“Errors were all mental today,” Bakken said. “It started with us not being ready for the game. We have plenty of ability and the guys just aren’t getting focused. Instead of fifteen guys ready to play, it’s more like three guys. We’re better than that.”
The Pirates’ record falls to 2-11 and they will look to rebound in Warroad on Tuesday, May 15 when they play a doubleheader against the Warriors. Game one’s first pitch is set for 4 p.m.