by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Not even a 9-2 deficit could faze unbeaten Elk River on Wednesday as the Elks stormed back to defeat the Osseo Oroles 10-9 in nine innings.
Terry Hadden’s gapper to right center knocked in Brandon Meyer, who had singled with two outs and stole second, for the walk-off game-winner in the ninth, on their coach’s birthday.
Those were the Elks 15th and 16th hits as they improved to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in the NWSC.
“I told the guys they couldn’t have given me a better birthday present,” said coach Ryan Holmgren. “Not so much for the final score but for their attitude when they had their backs to the wall.”
The Orioles, who led 1-0 on the first pitch of the game as Grant Sealock homered, paraded eight runs across the plate in the fourth inning off Meyer, the Elk starter. They poked eight hits in that inning including a two-run double by A.J. Lyons. The Elks had a costly throwing error with two outs, and five runs scored after that, as Osseo hits kept finding holes.
Holmgren called a timeout during the inning and told his team “a lot of goofy things were happening” but they should take it as a challenge to get out of the inning and start clawing their way back in the game. Which is what happened.
Joe Gonrowski blanked the Orioles in the sixth and seventh with three strikeouts and Brady Givens fired two more scoreless frames, fanning five, to get the win.
The Elks scored three in the fourth and two each in the fifth and sixth to catch up. They had bases loaded and one out in the seventh and couldn’t score. Hadden, who popped up for the second out, made the best of his second chance to win it two innings later.
Jordan Hollom was 3-for-4 (RBI), Nick Johnson 2-for-5 (two doubles, three RBI), and Meyer 2-for-5 (two RBI). Sam Wirtz, Brandon O’Connor, Givens and Hadden had two hits eacj.
It was the Elks second big comeback of the year. They were down 8-3 against Bemidji and won 11-10.
The Elks have played four below-.500 teams in NWSC play and will face their first opponent with a winning record in conference on Thursday at Centennial.