Lakers tighten grip on North Star League lead

By Matt Brown:  The Lakers took both the games they played this week and maintained their healthy lead in the North Star League. Based on current standings, Maple Lake needs two more wins or one more win and a loss by Dassel-Cokato to guarantee a spot in the NSL play-offs and a chance at state. With great play from their regulars and additions coming in from the Maple Lake Irish’s state-championship- winning team, the Lakers control their future with an eye on the state tournament.Maple Lake 12 Loretto 0

Maple Lake wasted little time asserting themselves against Loretto on Wednesday, June 27. Riley Decker led off with a single followed by another single from Luke Fobbe and the scoring started thanks to a pair of walks against Donnie Mavencamp and Matt Bergstrom. Derek Rachel brought in two runs with a single and Hunter Malachek added one with a double. Logan Orazem knocked in another run with a single and McRae Haney put the ball in play to score the sixth and final run of the inning. Hunter Malachek just made matters worse, facing only ten batters in the first three inning thanks in part to striking out the side in the second. The offense took it to Loretto again in the fourth with five straight singles that eventually yielded four more runs. The top of the order added another two the next inning as “insurance” for a ten-run game but they would not be necessary because Loretto could not get anything going on offense. Malachek went five innings and allowed no runs on two hits and a walk while striking out ten Larks for his third win of the season. Cole Trager subbed in for Malacheck in the sixth to make his Laker debut. Matt Bergstrom chalked up three RBI’s and Luke Fobbe got three hits and a trio of players counted for two runs in another top-to-bottom offensive showing by Maple Lake. Maple Lake 3 Howard Lake 2

Friday night featured the biggest road-game of the regular season with a trip to Howard Lake to face off against the Orphans. The Lakers made it interesting early on, with guys on second in the first two innings and a pair of plays at the plate in the third that did not work out in their favor, keeping the score at zero. Nick Preisinger made sure the lack of scoring did not matter by locking down Howard Lake, striking out the side in the third and generally dominating their batters. Both teams kept at each other until the Orphans cracked in the eighth, allowing two unearned runs off a series of errors. Fourth-time was a charm for the Howard Lake batters as they were finally able to get on Preisinger in the ninth, forcing a pitching change. Grant Mergen ended the inning but not before the Orphans tied the game. Riley Decker drew a walk to start the extra frame and eventually crossed the plate thanks to more trouble by the home defense. Mergen made quick work of the batters in the bottom half of the inning to secure his first win of the season. Preisinger went eight full innings and allowed one run off one hit, and three walks while striking out eight. Brian Redemske had two of the Lakers’ five hits and a stolen base.

The game scheduled for Sunday, July 1 against Buffalo was cancelled due to rain and will be made up Monday, July 9, at 7:30 pm in Maple Lake.

On Monday, July 2, the Lakers defeated Montrose/Waverly at Irish Stadium 12-0. Maple Lake will have a busy week with games on Sunday, July 8 at 2 at Dassel, then Monday, July 9 at home against Buffalo at 7:30, and finally at Delano on Wednesday, July 11 at Delano at 7:30. The game scheduled for Friday, July 6, against Kimball is cancelled.

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