By Matthew Davis
Hutchinson made efficient use of its bats with seven runs on seven hits to beat the Marble Mallards 7-2 in Maple Lake.
The Huskies jumped ahead with a three-run first inning as center fielder Marcus Hahn hit an RBI single to score right fielder Matthew Piechowski and get the offense rolling. First baseman Jake Wenland scored to make it 2-0 when third baseman Jake Arlt went to first base on a fielder’s choice. Pitcher Evan Kohli put the Huskies up 3-0 when he scored on a wild pitch by Mallards pitcher Owen Ellefson, a draftee from Crookston.
Ellefson and company regrouped defensively in the bottom of the second inning and retired the side with three fly balls. The Mallards couldn’t repeat the success in the bottom of the third inning as the Huskies loaded the bases and added two more runs. Artl hit a sacrifice fly, which scored Piechowski. Wendland later scored on an error for a 5-0 Huskies lead.
Marble couldn’t get any offense going for its first eight at-bats, but right fielder Jeffrey Moore ended the hitting drought with a single in the third inning. Center fielder John Baker tried to get a second base runner on when a third-strike pitch to him was dropped, but he got tagged out at first by Wendland. The Mallards scored for the first time in the top of the fourth inning when short stop Hunter Shepard scored on an RBI single by catcher Tanner Shephard.
Hutchinson never let the Mallards get closer than four runs after that point, adding a run in the bottom of the fourth for a 6-1 lead. Wendland singled to score Piechowski.
Marble trimmed the lead to 6-2 in the top of the sixth inning when Hunter Shepard reached home on a passed ball. Hutchinson responded with Wendland’s sac fly to score shortstop Jayden Fleck in the bottom of the inning.
Kohli kept the Mallards batters in check for the seventh, ended the top of the inning with his 12th strikeout He allowed four hits and one earned run in the win. Relief pitcher Jeremiah VanDeSteeg earned the save, going two innings and fanning three batters.
Hutchinson will face the winner of tomorrow's game between Sauk Centre and Sartell 5:30 p.m. Aug. 30 at Delano.