The St. Benedict Saints struck out zero Prior Lake Mudcats batters on Sunday.
Normally in the friendly confines of St. Benedict, that is a recipe for disaster. That wasn’t the case on Sunday as St. Benedict’s defense was in rare form, turning in a number of dazzling plays that led to rally-killing outs.
Tanner Oakes had seven assists including a couple highlight reel plays.
Nick Heitkamp and Trey Kocher each had good running catches near the outfield wall, while Mitchell Martin stole a hit with a diving catch from second base.
Manager Wade Olsen chuckled about the team’s defense.
“I thought we had 27 realistic chances to get outs. We made all 27 plays... That’s not exactly what we’re known for. All kidding aside we were really good in the field today.”
Offensively, the team pushed across single runs in the first and third innings. A pair of singles and walks to Martin and Oakes plated a run. Zach Bakko homered in the third inning for another.
St. Benedict jumped ahead 4-2 in the fifth. Martin doubled. Kocher and Bakko singled back-to-back, before an Oakes sacrifice fly.
Cole Minnick and Jeremy Heitkamp singled in the sixth, leading to the club’s fifth run. Bakko’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning yielded the game’s 6-2 final score.
Despite the lack of strikeouts, the pitching staff pitched well for the second straight game. After holding league favorite New Market to just two runs over 10 innings in the opener, St. Benedict’s pitchers did much of the same on Sunday.
Four different pitchers split the game. Matthias Duevel picked up the victory working two innings of relief.
Both Mudcats runs came via solo home runs, something Olsen looked at as a positive.
“Our pitchers worked quickly and threw strikes. The free base count was very much in our favor. When they did put good swings on the ball, the bases were empty. We can survive that.”
St. Benedict evened their record at 1-1. They have a big weekend against two good teams. The Saints are at St. Patrick on Saturday at 2 p.m. St. Benedict is back at home on Sunday to host Montgomery, also at 2 p.m.
Olsen talked about the home game.
“Montgomery has great starting pitching. Right there with New Market as the top starting pitching in the league. I’m intrigued to see what kind of at-bats we put forward against them.”