Thursday, July 22, 2010

Eul's clutch single leads Bobcats over Outlaws

An intense rivalry took place tonight as the Cannon Valley League’s top two teams faced up at Alimagnet Park in Burnsville tonight.

The league-leading Savage Outlaws hosted the second-placed Burnsville Bobcats in a tightly contested battle. Pitching and defense sparkled throughout until a late Burnsville hit sparked a Bobcats victory.

Burnsville’s Casey Jacobson pitched hard into the eighth inning before catcher Chad Eul delivered a clutch bases-loaded single to right in the ninth.

“Whenever you get a starting pitcher to go that long into a game and only allow two runs, that’s great,” said Burnsville manager Robby Wiens, following his team’s 3-2 win. “Then, to have our catcher, Chad, get that two-RBI single, that was all we needed for the win.”

Savage led 2-1 entering the ninth before Eul singled in two runs to give Burnsville the lead. From there, Bobcats closer Dan Mielke came in and sealed the deal by retiring the Outlaws in order to end the game.

Burnsville improved to 11-6 overall and 10-4 in Cannon Valley League play, while the loss dropped Savage to 26-6 overall and 10-3 in the CVL.

“We’ve got to execute a little bit better, not getting bunts down, leaving guys on base, hitting in the clutch, that changed the game right there,” said Savage manager Travis Peterson. “We swung the bats alright, just not in the clutch.”

In all, Savage tallied two runs on nine hits. Meanwhile, Burnsville was able to push in three runs on seven hits - including three hits in both the third and ninth innings.

Peterson was very happy with the pitching of his brother, Tony Peterson, who pitched out of the bullpen for Savage earlier this season but was making only his second start of the season tonight. And the hefty 6-foot-4-inch right-hander delivered, posting seven strikeouts while allowing just three hits and no walks in seven innings.

“My arm felt pretty good tonight,” said Tony Peterson, regarding his performance, “I carried it out to the mound, got it going out there, and it was pretty much smooth sailing from there on out.”

Despite his performance, as with his manager brother, Tony was also a bit frustrated with the final outcome.

“We didn’t play good enough to win,” said Tony. “We had our chances but couldn’t make the most of them, [Burnsville] had theirs and they did.”

Savage had one of its prime scoring chances in the second, when Ben Braaten and John Means led off the inning with back-to-back singles. However, the rally was quickly stymied due to a lack of execution and a terrific defensive play.

The Outlaws’ Dylan Peterson failed on two bunt attempts, then shot an 0-2 delivery to right field. Bobcats rightfielder David Keeney scurried to his left to make the catch, then fired a perfect, one-hop pellet to nail Braaten at third base for a double play.

In the top of the third, Burnsville scored the first run as shortstop Matt Trocke roped a two-out single to left to drive in Keeney.

Savage would immediately fight back by scoring the tying run in the bottom of the third, but the Outlaws’ damage was mitigated by some outstanding defense from Bobcats leftfielder Scott Lindner.

With a runner on third and one out, Savage’s Tayler Rahm drove a pitch deep to left field but Lindner made a fantastic running catch just as he neared the fence. A run scored on the sacrifice fly, but that would be all as Lindner followed that catch up with another great play.

Following the deep Rahm drive, Savage’s Tony Peterson drew a full-count walk and Ben Braaten came to the plate. Braaten bashed a Jacobson pitch deep to left. This one sailed over Lindner to the fence, but the Burnsville outfielder chased the ball down, threw a pea to shortstop Trocke, who then gunned down Peterson at the plate to end the inning.

From there, neither pitchers allowed a hit until Rahm broke through for Savage with a single in the sixth and eventually scored on a fielder’s choice to put the Outlaws up 2-1.

Peterson looked like he was in cruise control on the mound, but he took the field at a different position in the eighth inning as he played third base and reliever Travis Pugliese came in to pitch.

Pugliese pitched a harmless eighth, but Burnsville would rally off him in the ninth as two singles and a hit batsman led to Eul’s big hit.

Mielke pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth to save his own win.

Starter Jacobson allowed a lead-off single to Tony Peterson in the eighth before Manager Wiems came out to pull his hurler. Jacobsen would exit the game to a nice applause from the Bobcat faithful as Mielke took over on the mound.

The 24-year-old Mielke issued a walk to his first batter to put runners at first and second, but he quickly recovered by retiring six straight Savage hitters to close out the game.

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