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Bluffton rallies late against Pirates

Perham's Gavin Biegler connects for a solo home run against the Braves on June 14 at Krueger Field. It was the lone run the Pirates put on the board against the Braves. Jason Groth/FOCUS

It was an old fashioned pitcher’s duel between the Bluffton Braves and the Perham Pirates at Krueger Field on June 14. It was the Braves Austin Maneval outlasting the Pirates and their bullpen, helping the Braves to their first victory of the season with a complete game victory, 2-1, over the Pirates.

Maneval made just one mistake and it appeared that it may cost them the game. Maneval’s lone mistake came in the seventh when he left a pitch up which Gavin Biegler deposited over the fence in left field, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the seventh.

Maneval wiggled out of trouble in the second, stranding a pair in scoring position and worked out of trouble in the eighth, stranding a pair in scoring position as well. He went the distance, allowing just four hits and one run. He struck out eight and walked two.

His counterpart, Eric Hendrickx, was on as well. The veteran right hander went seven plus, allowing one run on seven hits. He worked quick, pitching to contact and letting his defense play behind him.

Eric Hendrickx delivers to the plate against Bluffton.

He worked out of trouble in the seventh after giving up back-to-back singles to Skylar Mursu and Wyatt Hamann. However, he was able to leave them stranded in scoring position, preserving a scoreless tie.

He was lifted after a leadoff single to Cody Geiser in the eighth. The Braves went to work on the Perham bullpen. Jake Dykhoff launched a drive off the base of the centerfield fence, putting runners in scoring position. Kyle Dykhoff followed with an RBI double in the gap in centerfield, plating two and giving the Braves the 2-1 lead.

The Braves left the runners on the corners when Alec Meyer struck out the next two batters and recorded a ground out. Meyer pitched an inning of relief, allowing one run on four hits. He struck out two and walked one.

He left the game in the ninth after walking a batter and giving up a single to Tom Tellers. Biegler came in and stranded the inherited runners on base, keeping it a one-run game into the bottom of the inning.

However, Maneval worked a perfect ninth, shutting the door on the Pirates, securing the 2-1 victory for the Braves.

Eric Hendrickx scoops up the bunt and gets the out.

Dylan Perrine, Biegler, Joe Solberg and Jack Stigman recorded hits in the loss for the Pirates. Tellers, Cody Geiser, Preston Warren and Mursu finished with a pair of hits each in the win, while Jake Dykhoff, Kyle Dykhoff and Wyatt Hamann recorded hits in the win.

Corrected: A previous version of this story listed the Bluffton pitcher as Austin Hamann. He was incorrectly identified and changed to Austin Maneval. The Perham Focus apologizes for the error. 

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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