By Joey Hudson
The Raiders baseball team had their senior night on Monday May 15th as they faced the visiting New Ulm Eagles. Senior Gustavus commit Tyler Hughes started on the bump for the Raiders going six innings and striking out seven. Senior outfielder Zach Morelan started in left field for the Raiders and was pulled after one pitch for junior Austin Koep. Morelan broke his thumb in six different places and had surgery on Thursday after breaking it earlier in the season sliding back to first.
Hughes began his dominant day with a one-two-three first inning and in the bottom half, shortstop Jake Geiger led off reaching on an error by the shortstop after he couldn’t corral a bad hop off the lip on the infield. Spencer Mellgren grounded into a fielder’s choice when New Ulm third baseman Luke Seuss made a great play on a high hop over his head to throw out Geiger at second.
Hughes picked up where he left off in the top of the second with a strikeout swinging on his fastball. With two outs and no one on, Hughes walked the Eagles second baseman, but came back to strike the next batter out on a 2-2 count with a high fastball. After the Raiders were sat down one-two-three in the bottom of the second Hughes sat down the Eagles one-two-three in the top of the third. Hughes’ dominant inning included a strikeout of the lead off batter on some high heat that the New Ulm first baseman couldn’t connect on. Jake Geiger got the Raiders first hit of the game with two outs in the bottom of the third. After the hit, Spencer Mellgren drew a walk to get runners on first and second with two outs, but the Raiders were unable to score.
After a lead off walk in the top of the fourth Hughes struck out the next two batters he faced, and then induced a pop out in foul ground to first baseman Jake Eschen. The Raiders were set down one-two-three in the bottom of the fourth by New Ulm starting pitcher Blaine Olson, as Hughes turned around and shut down the Eagles in the same fashion in the top of the fifth. Senior Joey Sickler got his first hit of the game, and second varsity hit overall with two outs in the bottom of the fifth with a line drive base hit up the middle.
The New Ulm Eagles got their first hit of the game with a one out hit by designated hitter Parker Newbauer hitting a line drive over the third baseman Grant Malecha, who came into the game in the bottom of the fifth. Newbauer reached second when the next hitter grounded into a fielder’s choice to Malecha who retired the batter at first.
In the bottom of the sixth Kam Kaiser smoked a line drive to right for a triple. Kaiser came in to score the first run of the game when Austin Koep ripped a line drive base hit to center field. Koep moved to second on a line drive base hit to right from Jake Eschen. Senior Andy Block hit a ground ball to the New Ulm shortstop who couldn’t field it cleanly, and loaded up the bases. Malecha ripped a fly ball into left center which was caught by the left fielder, and Austin Keop scored on the sac fly giving the Raiders a 2-0 lead. Gabe Sawyer hit a pop up just a few feet in front of home plate that landed after poor communication from the catcher, pitcher and third baseman. Tegan Mellgren, who was running for Jake Eschen, was barreling towards home and seemed to throw the catcher off, after he scored Andy Block came and hopped over the catcher’s glove to score from second, giving the Raiders a 4-0 lead.
Isiah Stiner entered the game to close it out for the Raiders, being the twelfth and final senior to play in the game for the Raiders. New Ulm led off the top of the seventh with a base hit from their right fielder Ethan Thompson. The next batter grounded out to Stiner who threw it onto first as Thomson went to second. Jaxon Buegler who hit a hard ground ball to left field to move Thompson to third. Stiner got the next batter Zach Hubbard swinging on a full count for the second out. Kaden Larson hit a ground ball to the shortstop Jake Geiger who stepped on second to end the game.
The Raiders scored four on six hits and two New Ulm errors, as they took a 4-0 win over the Eagles at home. New Ulm ended the day with three hits on no Northfield errors as the Raiders improved to 12-4 overall on the season. The Raiders stay at 10-2 in conference play, one point behind Red Wing, the Raiders will play the Wingers on Tuesday May 16th in Red Wing. The next baseball game northfieldlive.com will stream is Thursday May 18th, keep up with us for any updates on our website and @northfieldlive on social media.