by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
A two-run homer by Alex Wjeichowkski was the big blow in what was otherwise a pitchers duel as Coon Rapids edged the Elk River Elks 3-2 Tuesday at Hales Field.
Elk senior Tucker Morrell gave up just six hits and one walk, striking out three, but couldn’t duplicate his memorable season-opening 2-1 win over a Cardinal team that’s gone 8-3 since then.
The Elks (6-6) took a 1-0 lead in the first when Porter Morrell singled and eventually scored on Sam Krick’s single. Earlier, Coon Rapids’ center fielder threw out Tucker Morrell, who had walked and stole second, at the plate on his brother’s hit.
Logan Shore, the Cards’ ace, pitched just that one inning, due to a back problem. Alex Aase finished and earned the win with a six-inning relief stint allowing one run and five hits.
In the fourth inning, Wojcienowski, the Cardinals’ 6-5, 215-pound cleanup hitter, bashed an opposite-field homer to right for a 2-1 lead. Morrell’s lone walk of the game, unfortunately, preceded the round-tripper.
The next inning, Casey Waterman doubled and scored on Tyler Kelm’s single to make it 3-1.
The Elks had five base-runners the last two innings against Aase but got just one of them home, knocked in by Sam Wirtz on a hard single off the third baseman’s glove in the sixth.
Krick was 2-for-2 plus a walk. The senior outfielder is hitting .531 (17-for-32).
The Elks made just one error and turned two double plays, one of them started by Morrell. Coon Rapids made no errors.
The Elks’ main defensive gem was a diving catch of a twisting line drive in center by Corey Collins.
Normally the Elk shortstop, Collins had missed three games after being spiked above the knee while taking a throw in the Andover game. Collins, hitting .414, was back on the field for the first time since then but did not bat.
The Elks will play at Armstrong on Thursday.