ROSEMOUNT, MN - The Bay Norse Baseball Team (10-18-1) dropped a pair of games on Saturday afternoon, losing a tightly contested 1-0 contest in the opener, then losing by a final of 7-2 in the second game against Dakota County Technical College (25-13).
GAME 1 - DAKOTA COUNTY TECHNICAL COLLEGE - 1, BAY COLLEGE - 0
In a pivotal matchup that would go a long way in deciding which of the two teams will advance to postseason play, the Norse and Blue Knights found themselves in a well-played pitcher's duel. Bay's Justin Popelka (SO, Escanaba, MI) gave up five hits, one walk, and struck out seven with his effort. The Blue Knights would send Dalton Hoffman (SO, Anoka, MN) to the mound, and he would not disappoint. He would give up just three hits, walk one, and strike out ten for the home team.
The lone run of the game would come early. Bradley Goulet (SO, Cottage Grove, MN) beat out a groundball in the hole to short to lead off the bottom of the first. He would advance to second on the ensuing out, and make his way home on Ian Walker's (SO, Forest Lake, MN) line drive single to right.
Goulet and Walker would each record two hits in the game. DCTC has now won the first three games of the best-of-seven series that will determine which of the two teams will advance to the NJCAA Region XIII Tournament. The remaining four games of the series will be played on May 3 and 4 in Escanaba, MI.
GAME 2 - DAKOTA COUNTY TECHNICAL COLLEGE - 7, BAY COLLEGE - 2
The Norse would run into trouble early as the Blue Knights would pound out five consecutive hits to start the bottom of the first, scoring four runs in the process. The string was finally ended on what looked to be a sacrifice fly to right field, but Ty Ziegler turned it into a double play with a perfectly thrown ball to get the runner attempting to score. While the play would get Bay out of trouble in the first, they would be right back into the thick of it in the second. After putting two on with one out, a ground ball would score another run for the home team. The Norse would work out of it again, but find themselves in a five run hole.
After giving up a run on a sacrifice fly in the third, the Norse were finally able to put together a threat in the fifth. Lucas Weinert (FR, Gladstone, MI) lined a double down the left field line to lead off the inning, and Kyler Moir (FR, Hillman, MI) singled to put two on. With one out Dane VanDenHeuvel (FR, Norway, MI) would get hit with a pitch, and a ground ball would score the first run for the Norse. Owen Hanson (FR, Gladstone, MI) lined a single into center bring in a second run, but the inning would end with a pop out.
Dakota County added an insurance run in the bottom half of the fifth and Bay was never able to string together baserunners after that.
Weinert ended the game with two this in three at bats. Connor Olson (FR, Washburn, WI) was tagged with the loss for Bay. Mason Korhonen (FR, Bark River, MI) was effective in relief, giving up one run and walking one while striking out two in three and a third innings.
The two teams will face each other in Escanaba on May 3 and 4 to wrap up regular season play. Both days' doubleheaders are slated to start at 1 pm.