Crookston's record drops to 0-2 after the loss to Red Lake Falls.
Two errors in the first helped Red Lake Falls to four runs in the bottom of the first and Crookston could not plate a run resulting in a 4-0 loss.
Crookston (0-2) loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the first, but a groundout ended the threat. Red Lake Falls then grabbed the early lead before Crookston recorded an out. Up 1-0 and bases loaded with no outs, pitcher Brady Butt got a ground ball that turned into a fielder’s choice out as another run crossed home.
Butt struck out the next batter, but an error on the catcher attempting to throw out the runner stealing second brought home Red Lake Falls’ third run. A base hit to center plated the fourth run of the inning for a 4-0 lead.
“On the scoreboard, the one inning might have been the difference, but we had mental breakdowns and bad baserunning that cost us this game,” Coach Justin Johnson said. “That first inning is a tough way to start. We gave them four runs offensively. We didn’t run the bases well today and that cost us.”
To lead off the second, right fielder Jackson Seibel hit a one-out double to center and moved to third on a wild pitch. Left fielder Jacob Miller hit a ground ball and the RLF third baseman threw out Seibel trying to score for out number two.
Aside from the first inning, Crookston played solid defense. The team turned three double plays coming in the second, third and sixth innings. Catcher Alex LaFrance threw out a runner attempting to steal second in the fourth and Miller made a sliding catch in left to prevent a run in the fifth.
Crookston had baserunners in all but one inning, but could not bring them in to score. Shortstop Joey Doda reached second in the third inning, but a fly out and a strikeout kept Doda at third base.
First baseman Gavin Salem led off the fourth with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch with one out. The next batter, Seibel, hit a ball right back to the pitcher who quickly threw to third to nab Salem.
For a moment in the fifth, it appeared Crookston cut the deficit in half. With two outs and runners on second and third, third baseman Brooks Butt hit a ball to the shortstop who threw wild to first base bringing home two runs. The umps then converged and decided the shortstop was interfered with by the baserunner and the inning came to an end.
Along with being critical of his team’s baserunning, Johnson hopes to see more base hits with runners on and two outs.
“If we can figure out how to get a two-out, clutch hit, it’s really going to start pushing some runs across,” Johnson said. “I thought we swung the bat really well today. We’re going to work on baserunning and that’s going to be the difference in a lot of games.”
Butt pitched through clean fifth and sixth innings to end his day with six innings, four runs and three strikeouts.
Butt received the loss due to the four runs surrendered in the first, but Johnson disagreed with the box score and thought his pitcher performed well.
“I thought Brady was on top of his game,” Johnson said. “He attacked the zone all day. He was throwing ground balls. You can’t ask for more out of a pitcher. He’d get a runner on from a solid hit, then he’d throw a tailor-made double play. We turned three double plays so we’re showing signs of some solid defense.”
Red Lake Falls recorded the final three outs to hand Crookston their second loss of the season. Crookston will go for their first win on Tuesday, June 19 when they travel to Warroad for a doubleheader. Game one starts at 5 p.m. and game two begins at 7 p.m