by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Terry Hadden fired his second shutout and had big run support as the Elk River Elks ended a four-game skid by drubbing the Blaine Bengals 10-0 in five innings Monday.
The Elks started the season 5-1, then dropped back to .500 with four setbacks in eight days, before beating Blaine to end the first round of conference play.
“We looked at it as just one of those weeks when we weren’t focused enough,” said Hadden about the 0-4 slump. “It was nice to finally get back in the win column.”
Hadden, junior righthander, gave up just two singles and two walks, and struck out three. Hadden faced only 17 batters in five innings as he picked one runner off base and the Elks turned a 6-4-3 double play (Tucker Morrell to Brady Givens to Garrett Ott).
“I was hitting my sports. I was trying not to think about the umpire’s (strike) zone and just keep throwing strikes,” said Hadden (3-1), whose other shutout was also a 10-run-rule game, against Anoka.
The Elks scored seven runs in the fifth to end the game, highlighted by two-run singles delivered by Tim Sanford and Tucker Morrell.
“We talked before the game about starting over for the second half of the season,” said coach Ryan Holmgren. “We had played 10 games, and there’s 10 more. We treated it like the start of a new season.”
Homgren said the Elks executed their game plan well.
“The main focus was more plate discipline, and make the starter throw a lot of pitches, because we knew that after him they wouldn’t have much left.”
Davis Bryan, the starter, took the loss for Blaine (5-6). Bryan and two relievers gave up the seven runs in the fifth. Blaine’s pitching staff was thinned out when their best guy, Tanner Schumacher, suffered a minor knee injury playing volleyball.
The Elks had seven hits, led by Brandon Meyer, 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI.
“Brandon had been scuffling a bit, so that was good to see,” said Holmgren.
Morrell had three walks and Sanford had two before their two-run hits in the fifth. Brady Givens was 1-for-3 with two runs, and Logan Paige 1-for-2 plus a walk and one RBI.
The Elks (6-4 conference, 6-5 overall) will host Coon Rapids on Tuesday.