by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
It was a “crazy day at the ballpark” as Elk River gave up a grand slam, got four strikeouts in one inning by a pitcher who still gave up two runs, and almost blew a 9-0 lead.
But the Elks held on to defeat Park Center 11-9 on Wednesday in Brooklyn Park.
“Any win is a good win,” said Elk coach Ryan Holmgren, not minding if things got a little “crazy” for a while.
Tucker Morrell (3-3) threw four shutout innings, giving up just two hits and two walks, left the mound with a 9-0 lead and got the win.
Sam Krick drilled a no-doubt homer in the second inning (No. 2 this year). The Elks got five in the third including a two-run double by Porter Morrell and RBI’s by Brandon Meyer (double), Brady Givens (single) and Tim Sanford (single). They pushed home three more in the fourth with RBI’s by Porter Morrell (another double) and Givens.
Holmgren brought in Brandon Meyer, a starter, to get him some action in a week where the Elks have only two games. Meyer gave up three hits, hit a batter, and got tagged for bases-loaded homer by Jordan Stroh on a 3-2 pitch.
“Brandon gave up five runs before he got anyone out, but he settled down and got two ground outs and a strikeout,” said the coach.
The Pirates added two unearned runs in the sixth of Jordan Hollom, a sophomore making his varsity debut. Ahead by just 9-7 now, the Elks got two in the ninth without an RBI, on a double steal and on a third-strike passed ball.
Givens, the Elks second baseman and closer, struck out the first batter in the last of the seventh but he got aboard on a third-strike passed ball. Givens then gave up a double, and wild-pitched two runs home. But while uncorking the wild pitches he struck out three more batters, giving him four for the inning. He got his fourth save of the year.
“Brady was ‘effectively wild,’ and I think he got a couple of them to chase a bad pitch,” chuckled Holmgren.
Givens was 3-for-4 with two RBI, Porter Morrell 2-for-3 with three RBI, and Garrett Ott 2-for-4.
Andrew Gagnon, first of three Pirate hurlers, took the loss. The Elks had 13 hits.
Th Elks are now 8-6 in the NWSC and 8-7 overall, and Park Center is 3-10 and 3-11. The Elks had a similar game with Park Center on April 12, leading 7-2 and barely pulling it out 7-6.
The Elks will host Centennial on Monday.