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Yellowjackets set to take on Paynesville

The big stage shouldn’t face the Perham baseball team when they make its ninth appearance at the Minnesota State Baseball Tournament. The Yellowjackets have players who have played in the Class AAA Football Tournament and the Class AA Basketball Tournament.

The big game experience should help the Yellowjackets when they take on Paynesville at 12:30 p.m. at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud on June 13.

“A lot of our key guys in our line up are two and three sport participants with football and basketball. They have been on the big stage, they have played at the Target Center and US Bank Stadium,” Mulcahy said. “They understand that and with everything that we do in the offseason, the guys who are just baseball kids, have been down to state in junior legion and we play division one in the summer for those sorts of things. I think nerves wise, we are going to be okay.”

It should be an exciting pitching matchup between the Bulldogs (21-2) and the Yellowjackets (22-2). Noah Rooney will get the nod on the mound for the Yellowjackets. He enters with a 6-1 record and a 1.53 earned run average. He struck out 83 batters in 41 innings pitched. The Bulldogs are led by Grady Fuchs and Carter Wessel. Fuchs is 7-1 with a .59 earned run average. He has struck out 87 batters in 58 and 2/3 of work. Wessel has a 7-1 mark as well with a 1.14 earned run average. He has fanned 45 batters in 43 innings of work.

The lone losses for Paynesville came at the hands of Pierz, which was a 3-1 defeat and a 9-1 defeat.

“From what I have seen and understand, their No. 1, should they throw him, is going to pound the zone and he is going to challenge us as hitters,” Mulcahy said. “We are going to have to get the timing right. He will mix it up enough. Rooney will go for us, obviously he is our ace. We are going to give it our best and hopefully get to that second round.”

The Yellowjackets come in hitting .333 as a team and have put up 222 runs during the season. Maddux Kovash and Dawson Stevens lead the team in hitting. Kovash batted .438 during the season while Stevens hit .463. It’s a balanced line up with five guys driving in more than 20 runs during the season. Kovash and Stevens have each drove in 24 runs, while Josh Jeziorski has 23 runs batted in, while Carter Mulcahy has 22 and Rooney has 21.

“What I have seen of them is that they are a very disciplined team at the plate and have strong pitchers,” Mulcahy said. “They are not going to beat themselves defensively. Talking with coaches from their area, they are one of the best defensive teams in the state. They are not going to give us the mistakes, unless they play a game out of their element. They are not going to give us runs and we are going to have to earn them. With the way we have been swinging the bat and the way their pitchers pound the zone, I think we can put up some runs. It’s just a matter of what happens in baseball. An error here or there might change the game.”

The Bulldogs will feature a strong line up as well, led by Wessel and Fuchs. Fuchs led the Bulldogs in hitting with 29 hits and 19 runs batted in. Wessel has 26 hits and 26 runs batted in. The Bulldogs have six batters in the lineup with .300 or batter batting averages.

The Yellowjackets and the Bulldogs square off at 12:30 p.m. at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud on June 13. The winner will play either Duluth Marshall or Glencoe-Silver Lake in the semifinals, the loser will play in the consolation round. Other first round contests feature LaCrescent taking on Minnehaha Academy, while St. Peter will take on Foley.

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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