The Blue Earth Area Buccaneers were quieted in a 13-3 loss to Worthington (2-0) on Thursday, when the Trojans used a seven-run fourth inning to claim a victory, but the maroon and gold's fortunes were much brighter two days earlier.
BEA 9, MCW 3
Four strikeouts from starting pitcher Logan Jahnke, four scoreless innings from Jahnke's relief and a barrage of hits over the first three frames of Tuesday's matchup with Martin County West left the Blue Earth Area Buccaneers with some Opening Day smiles after a 9-3 rout of the Mavericks in Winnebago.
Zac Schonrock pitches during Blue Earth Area’s 9-3 win vs. Martin County West on April 4.
Moved from Blue Earth's Fairgrounds Field as a result of weather-affected field conditions, the game kicked off the Bucs' 2017 campaign in offensive fashion, as the maroon and gold's nine runs marked the best scoring output for BEA since May 7 of last season, when the team topped MCW in a 15-11 decision.
"For the first time out," Bucs coach Todd Schmidtke said, "we saw a lot of good things. It was a really nice team win."
All but one of the Bucs' runs came within the non-conference contest's first three innings.
A leadoff walk from senior catcher Kaylan Legred set the stage for BEA's lineup after Jahnke (1-0) stranded two base runners in the top of the first. Two batters later, third baseman Jesus Quintero drove Legred home with an RBI single, then scored himself after back-to-back hits from Jahnke and fellow senior Zac Schonrock.
Two more runs came BEA's way in the second, when MCW also added two runs thanks to a pair of walks and wild pitches. A leadoff double from junior Jordan Huse, making his debut in the outfield for the Bucs, paved the way for RBIs from Legred and Quintero back at the top of the lineup, restoring BEA's early lead.
And things really took off in the third.
Senior Chris Jenkins, entering the game to take over at first base, slapped a line-drive single up the middle to kick off the bottom of the inning. Center fielder Joe Schavey, a junior making his varsity debut, then stroked a double to put BEA in scoring position.
Three batters later, another new face to the Bucs' lineup, 6-foot-7 junior Trevor Oppedal, drove in a run on a bases-loaded groundout after a walk from Huse.
Legred followed up Oppedal's RBI with an extra-base hit of his own, and senior second baseman Chris Sanders then did virtually the same thing, doubling in more runs and lifting BEA's lead to six.
A sixth-inning sacrifice fly from C.J. Bonin, who replaced Schavey, handed the Bucs their final run of the day. MCW, meanwhile, added another run in the seventh, but by that point, the Mavericks were on their last leg, totaling just two hits after their two-run second frame.
The pitching staff was mostly responsible for that.
Jahnke, of course, opened on the mound, surrendering two runs and striking out four in two innings of work. Schonrock went three frames without allowing a run. And Oppedal, in his debut, surrendered one run and struck out two over the final two innings.
The defense as a whole, though, drew Schmidtke's praise.
"They did a great job," the coach said. "I think we had one error, and for the first game, that's good stuff."