The Perham Buzz U-19 baseball team kicked off its 2020 season with a doubleheader against the Moorhead Blues on July 7 at Krueger Field in Perham. The Buzz battled closely against the Blues, but suffered a pair of narrow defeats, 6-5 and 7-5.
The Blues, who are a veteran laden team, were playing in their eighth and ninth games of the season, taking advantage of looser restrictions in North Dakota during the early portion of the season.
Moorhead spoiled a strong game from Maddux Kovash in game one. Kovash finished with four hits and drove in four runs. He had three extra base hits, including a two-run home run. However, it wasn't enough as a pair of miscues in the fourth inning led to a Moorhead rally, which helped them grab a lead they would not give up.
Moorhead struck for a run in the first on an RBI single by Hayden Netland. However, the Buzz answered right back. Kovash delivered a two-run double, scoring Jacob McAllister, who walked, and Carter Mulcahy, who singled. Perham added another run in the third when McAllister walked with the bases full, making it 3-1.
However, the lead was short-lived. A double play ball was mishandled kept the inning alive for the Blues. Ryan Luthi followed with a two-run single and Quentin Hegg reached on an error, which allowed another run to score. A balk led to the fourth run of the inning and the Blues held a 5-3 lead after four.
The Blues tacked on an insurance run in the fifth when Jacob Hendrickson grounded in a run, making it 6-3. The insurance run loomed large in the late innings for the Blues.
Kovash continued his strong hitting at the plate in the sixth inning with a two-run home run over the wall in right. Perham eventually stranded runners at second and third, unable to tie the game at six in the inning. Kovash had an opportunity late, but a hard-hit ground ball was scooped up at second for the fielder's choice, ending the game at 6-5.
Mulcahy added two hits and two runs scored for Perham. Stevie Lindberg had a hit as well for the Buzz in the loss.
Kovash was tagged with the loss on the mound. He allowed six runs on eight hits in five innings of work. Mick Meyer pitched a pair of scoreless innings in relief. Chrisanto D'Agastino picked up the win. He allowed three runs on four hits in five innings of work. Quentin Hegg recorded the save for the Blues.
Moorhead started fast in game two and never looked back on their way to a 7-5 victory. The Blues struck for a pair of runs in the first inning on a fielder's choice of the bat of Caleb Saari and Hayden Netland reaching on an error.
Mulcahy cut into the lead when he deposited a pitch over the wall in centerfield. The solo home run cut the lead in half.
However, D'Agastino answered Mulcahy's blast with one of his own in the second inning. D'Agastino hit a towering shot over the fence in right, driving in three and stretching the Moorhead lead to 6-1.
Perham came back with four runs in the fifth inning, two coming in when Chayse Solberg reached on an error, another on an RBI single by Jacob McAllister and one on a double by Alex Stoll.
However, the Buzz could not solve Carson Zimmel in relief. He pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one baserunner to reach on his way to the save.
Wyatt Gunkel picked up the win. He allowed five runs on four hits. He struck out two and walked one. Finn Diggins took the loss for Perham. He allowed six runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out three. Lindberg and Meyer pitched in relief as well. Meyer allowed a run on one hit.
Mulcahy, McAllister, Meyer and Stoll had hits for Perham in the game.
The Buzz return to action with a road trip on July 9 when they travel to Alexandria for a double-dip at 5 and 7 p.m.