Sophomore Sam Blevins (St. Paul) and freshman Tyler “T” Ball (North Branch) hit their first home runs of the season Sunday afternoon (April 22) in Worthington, but in the end this welcome long-ball production only produced a split for Anoka Ramsey.
Blevins drilled a two-run homer over the left-center field fence in a 6-4 first-game victory over Minnesota West, while Ball hit a solo homer over the center field fence in an 8-5 second-game loss. Minnesota West, however, countered with two homers in the second game in addition to a pair of two-run, bases-loaded doubles.
The split left Anoka Ramsey with a 2-6 Southern Division record in the MCAC this season going into back-to-back home doubleheaders against Central Lakes (April 23) and Ridgewater (April 24).
In the first game, Anoka Ramsey stranded 11 runners on base, eight of which were in scoring position. The team battled back from a 4-2 deficit by scoring two in the fourth thanks to a pair of two-out RBI doubles by freshmen Luke McKay (Columbia Heights) and Brady Driste (Coon Rapids), otherwise that left-on-base factor would have been greater.
Catcher Kelby Beste (Brookings) provided the game’s most important hit, a sharp run-scoring, two-out single in the sixth to break a 4-4 tie and give Anoka Ramsey a lead it did not relinquish. It was his second single of the game.
A run in the seventh thanks to a base hit off the bat of Andrew Wilmot (Rogers) padded the lead, which was more than enough for freshman right-hander Kent Sipola (Coon Rapids) to pick up another complete-game pitching win.
Sipola, who has signed a letter of intent to continue his academic and baseball career this fall at Jamestown College in North Dakota, came on strong after Minnesota West scored one in the first and three in the fourth. He struck out a season-low four batters, but gave up just five hits.
In the second game, pitcher Dallas Edeburn (Blaine), drove in the game’s first run as a member of the Anoka Ramsey batting order with a screaming RBI double up the right-center field gap in the second inning. On the mound, however, Edeburn surrendered the 1-0 lead when he gave up a two-run homer in the second. Minnesota West then pulled away by scoring five runs in the fourth before Patrick Freese (Coon Rapids) came on to quell the storm.
Ultimately, though, it was too late for Anoka Ramsey, which scored three in the fifth and one in the sixth on T-Ball’s blast. Once again, despite two hits by Driste and Edeburn, Anoka Ramsey could not get a key hit when it needed a key hit. The team stranded another 10 runners on base in losing by three.