Baseball: Cougars hand Elks first loss 7-6 on walk-off hit

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Elk River baseball absorbed its first loss after eight wins, falling to Centennial 6-5 on a bases-loaded single in the last of the seventh on Thursday in Circle Pines.

“We got ‘walked-off’ today, after we did the same to Osseo yesterday,” said Ryan Holmgren, Elk coach,  referring to the term for a game-ending hit.

Luke Dentz drilled a single up the middle with one out against Terry Hadden. The Cougars had loaded the sacks with a leadoff single, then two intentional walks after a bunt and wild pitch moved the runner to third.

Nick Johnson belted a three-run homer and Tim Sanford had a solo shot for the Elks, while Morrell went 3-for-3 with two doubles. The Elks tied the game in the seventh on back-to-back doubles by Hadden and Morrell with one out.

Morrell didn’t fare as well on the mound, giving up 12 hits and five runs (four earned) in five innings. Joe Gonrowski pitched a scoreless sixth.

Centennial (4-2 in conference) had 15 hits, including three each by Michael Diggins, Brandon Woznak and Ryley Ellson, who ripped two doubles and drove home two runs. Ryan Spencer and Sam Newton pitched, the latter getting the win.

“A loss is not necessarily a bad thing. It can show where you are vulnerable and work on that,” said Holmgren. “We’ll go back to work tomorrow and move forward.”

The Elks will play at Spring Lake Park on Saturday at 9 a.m.