MIESVILLE – It is expected, at some point, that Miesville will lose another game. On Wednesday, St. Louis Park may have stumbled on how that loss could play out: hit the ball hard, get some crazy bounces, hope the Mudhens commit a couple errors and try to wear out the pitching staff.
Park did not pull off a victory as Miesville got a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth to walk off with a 6-5 win. But with everything that has happened over the last month leading up to the game, Wednesday’s contest, and how it played out, may as well be a field guide to beating the Mudhens, however unlikely it is to actually turn out that way.
“It was a good game overall. Park is a very good team. The arms we saw (Wednesday night) were freaking good,” said Miesville center fielder Matt Van Der Bosch. “We had some good at-bats and hit some balls hard that didn’t fall in, and we had some hops that didn’t go our way. But you have to figure out a way to win those games. We battled through those middle innings where we gave up some runs and came away with a win.”
After a three-game losing streak from June 19-21, Miesville has run off 13 straight wins. And with the exception of Wednesday’s game, the Mudhens have won each of those games by at least three runs, and have outscored its opponents 152-30 over that span, good for an average of 11.7-2.3 per game.
Park started the game with a 2-0 lead, taking advantage of a single, a double, and a Miesville error. But Mudhens starter Deryk Marks settled in nicely after that, eventually allowing a fourth-inning run on what looked like a routine grounder to second base. But the ball caught a lip in the grass a bounced high over the head of Jordan Lugowski, giving Park a 3-2 lead.
“I thought Marksy did a great job starting the game,” Van Der Bosch said of Marks’ four innings on the mound. “We had a short leash on him because we want to save him for the weekend with our section games. The first inning error led to two runs, but he did a good job getting out. And then they came back and scored a few (in the seventh), we just left the ball up. And they can hit. But we did a good job weathering the storm.”
Miesville had tied the game in the bottom of the first thanks to consecutive singles from Jordy Horsch and Van Der Bosch. Marks doubled home Horsch, and Nate Hammes drove in Van Der Bosch on a groundout.
In the bottom of the fourth, Brian Sprout doubled off the top of the wall in left field – literally off the very top of the wood plank – and Austin LaDoux walked to give Alex LaShomb a chance to drive in a run.
After Sprout scored on an error, LaShomb delivered with a line drive off of the foot of Park’s pitcher, scoring LaDoux from third. In the sixth, LaShomb hit a solo home run deep to right-center field to put the Mudhens up two.
Miesville’s 4-2 lead would last until the seventh when Park scored on a wild pitch and a solo home run.
A quick eighth and ninth innings from Brian Meyers, who had taken over for Aaron Stein, set up the Mudhens to walk off in the bottom of the ninth. A double from Spencer Merle got things started. Merle was limped into second, and was pulled for pinch runner Eric Weber. Van Der Bosch tried to bunt Weber to third, but reached safely when the throw to first was high. Marks, who finished 4-for-4 at the plate, was intentionally walked. Tim Kuzinar then finished the game by lifting a fly ball to left field.
“That was a big leadoff double by Spence, hope he’s OK. He came in for an injured Jordy Horsch, that was a big at-bat. And then we were able to load the bases up and get a sac fly,” Van Der Bosch said.
Of course, a game that saw balls bounce off bags, people, bumps in the grass and edges of walls, Park immediately threw the ball to third, contending that Weber had left early. The umpire upheld the run, and the game was over.
Miesville (21-5) will host Elko on Friday, and head to Hastings on Sunday, in two key Section 1B games. But with the current win streak still intact, the Mudhens feel good about the final five games of the regular season.
“We’re playing good ball. It’s nice when you get a consistent lineup. It’s been good as of late with 13 (wins) in a row,” Van Der Bosch said. “Hopefully we can continue to pitch well and play good defense. The bats have been lively, so hopefully that continues as well.”