Silver Pirates nip Pirates in state tournament warm-up
It took an extra inning for the Perham Silver Pirates to seek out a 1-0 victory in a cross-town exhibition warm-up game before the senior team takes to the Minnesota Senior Men's Amateur Baseball Association state tournament.
The town rivalry was a light-hearted affair with some jawing going on pre-game, Pirate first baseman Beau Bruhn claimed he was going to hit two homers and for the first four innings a stiff wind blew out to left field making Bruhn's claim a possibility.
Hearing word of Bruhn's boast the Silver Pirates dugout responded with joking threats of a brush back or two.
"It's hard to hit one when the ball is in your ear," went one laughing threat.
A smaller than usual Perham baseball crowd made some of the background noise more audible during play, like that of one crying child who got roughed up in a side game of tackle football going on in front of the concession stand.
"That's not mine," one father said assessing the situation.
The teams dueled on the mound, each sending two hurlers to the rubber. Combined, only six hits made it out of the infield.
Jonnie Schmitz started the game for the Pirates allowing only one hit in four innings of work. He walked four and struck out four.
Schmitz worked his way out of trouble in the second and third facing a bases-loaded threat and two-on respectively.
Ray Sailer, Steve Sheets and Brad Kempe were aboard in the second with two away before Schmitz induced Erin Anderson to ground out to Jake Kalina at second base.
Schmitz fanned Jim Nelson and Gary Grewe to end the threat in the third.
In the top half of the first four innings, Jon Kotaska kept the Pirates at bay allowing only Schmitz to reach second base with a double. Kotaska struck out five and walked only one while scattering only two other singles.
Kotaska and Schmitz would give way to Greg Schmid and Taylor Doll in relief.
Neither team threatened to score for the remainder of regulation seven-inning play. The Pirates went down in order in the eighth and extra frame. Schmid struck out seven Pirates, five in a row at one time. Brad Ellingson was the only Pirate to reach base against Schmid. Ellingson's single was the only hit allowed by Schmid.
Ellingson stole second but was stranded in scoring position on a Gavin Biegler fly out to center and a Bruhn pop up to Tony Stoll at third base.
The Silver Pirates took advantage of two Taylor Doll walks to start the eighth. A nice sacrifice bunt by Jim Nelson moved Kotaska and Stoll into scoring position.
Doll would brush a pitch under the chin of Gary Grewe before Grewe laced a base hit; only the second hit of the game for the Silver Pirates, knocking in the winning and only run of the game.
The game was not without a few defensive standouts in the field. Ryan Enger, the first batter of the game, smoked a line drive back up the gut that was snagged by pitcher Kotaska with a backhand stab to set the defensive tone. Gavin Biegler, at third base for the Pirates, made an outstanding play diving to the baseline snagging a hot shot near the bag, rolling over and gunning down a runner at first from a seated position.
Gary Grewe took player of the game honors knocking in the game winning run in the extra frame.