Baseball: Meyer, Elks open playoffs beating Denfeld 5-1 (again)

Tucker Morrell slid home with Elk River's first run, on the front end of a double steal. (Photo by Erik Jacobson)


by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Same team, same pitcher, same score, a year later.

Brandon Meyer threw a five-hitter as Elk River stymied Duluth Denfeld 5-1 in the first round of Section 7AAA at home Monday.

“I pitched against them last year, too, and it was  actually the same score,” noted the sophomore righthander about last year’s section opener. “Except they were Duluth Central then.”

Elk sophomore Brandon Meyer tossed a five-hitter and beat the Hunters 5-1 for the second straight season. (Photo by Erik Jacobson)

Actually they were Duluth Denfeld/Central then and now they’re just Denfeld as Central has been closed. Whatever.

The Elks (10-11) now face Andover (14-6) in the second round of single-elim there Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Andover has beaten the Elks 5-0 and 10-7 in conference.

Terry Hadden lunges to make a nice catch in center field. (Photo by Erik Jacobson)

“I had command of all my pitches today,” assessed Meyer, who has a 3-2 record. He walked three, struck out three, and gave up one unearned run.  The Elks’ lone error of the game helped Denfeld score in the second inning. Meyer ended that inning by picking off a runner who was breaking to steal too early.

“Brandon did the best job he’s done all year in getting his curves and changeups over the plate,” said coach Ryan Holmgren. “He’s always  been consistent with his fastball while struggling with his breaking pitches. Today he was throwing all three for strikes, and they had a lot of weak at-bats, a lot of ground balls.”

Dylan Rocklin took the loss for the Hunters (7-14), giving up five runs in 5 1/3 innings.

On a chilly Tuesday with a stiff wind blowing toward left field, the Elks didn’t do much hitting either with just five hits. Tucker Morrell (1-for-2, walk, two steals) scored on the front end of a double steal. Sam Krick (0-for-1) drove home two runs with sacrifice flies.  Brady Givens was 1-for-3 with two runs, Corey Collins 1-for-3 (double, run), Meyer 1-for-2 (walk, steal) and Porter Morrell 1-for-2 plus a sac bunt.