It was the type of start the Perham Yellowjackets were hoping for when they kickstarted the 2019 baseball season at Al Krueger Field at Tuffy’s Stadium on April 22. The Yellowjackets received a pair of strong pitching outings and timely hitting in a 2-1 and 13-2 Heart O’Lakes Conference doubleheader sweep of Hawley.
Noah Rooney was strong from the word go during the first game. The left-handed pitcher was in command of the Nuggets. He pitched five innings of no-hit ball for the win in game one. The Nuggets were able to put just two balls in play against the lefty. He struck out 13 of the 16 batters he faced and at one time struck out 10 batters in a row, before a Gunnar Lawson ground out in the fifth inning.
The Yellowjackets staked him to an early lead. Benson Nyhus reached on a fielder’s choice in the second and eventually scored on a wild pitch to make it 1-0. Perham tacked on a second run in the third inning when Carter Mulcahy doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Max Tostenson. That would be all the offense the Yellowjackets would get and need with the way Rooney was pitching. Rooney threw 77 pitches, 54 of them for strikes before being lifted in the sixth inning.
Michael Benke closed the game out for the save. He yielded a run in the seventh, but worked out a trouble with a nifty backhanded play on the mound to end the game. Benke allowed one run on four hits. He struck out three and walked one for the save.
Dawson Stevens and Sam Still each had two hits for Perham, while Stephen Lindberg and Mulcahy added a hit each.
Mason Klevgaard took the loss on the mound for Hawley. He allowed two runs on six hits in four innings of work. He struck out three and walked two batters.
Noah Glad, Derian Gerdes, Carter Langer and Alex Bratsch had the hits in the game for the Nuggets.
The offense picked up in game two for the Yellowjackets when they cruised to a 13-2 victory over Hawley for the sweep.
Stevens continued his hot hitting with three hits and three runs batted in. Mulcahy added two hits and two runs batted in, while Maddux Kovash and Josh Jeziorski each drove in two runs as well. Rooney and Still each had a hit in the win.
The Yellowjackets capitalized on eight walks in the second game and put the game out of reach with an eight-run fourth inning.
Stevens pitched three innings and allowed two runs on three hits. He walked three batters and struck out five in the win. Finn Diggins pitched two perfect innings of relief. He struck out five of the six batters he faced.
Stevens gave Perham the lead with an RBI double in the first, scoring Mulcahy, who singled to start the frame. A bases loaded walk to Kovash made it 2-0 in the second. Perham talked on a pair of runs in the third when Tostenson scored on a wild pitch and Jeziorski squeezed home a run.
Hawley scratched a pair of runs across the plate in the third, but Perham broke it open with eight in the fourth. Mulcahy and Stevens each drove in two runs in the inning, while Kovash, Rooney and Jeziorski drove home a run each. Perham added another urn in the fifth on a wild pitch, which allowed Lindberg to score.
Trayton Cossette took the loss. He went three innings and allowed four runs on five hits. He struck out three and walked four for Hawley. Lawson, Glad and Gerdes had the lone hits for Hawley.
Perham returns to the diamond on April 30 when they take on Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton for a road doubleheader. The Yellowjackets were scheduled to play Pelican Rapids on April 24 but that has been rescheduled for May 6.