by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Tucker Morrell, who labored through a 3-21 season with Anoka-Ramsey this spring and is glad to be winning again, led the Elk River Pioneers in a 4-1 conquest of the Albertville Villains at home Wednesday evening.
The righthander held the Villains three hits and no walks, striking out three, in six innings, giving up one unearned run. His catcher was his brother Porter.
“I was spotting pitches pretty well and mixing them up,” said Tucker Morrell, who also picked a runner off second base.
Morrell, a basketball and baseball leader at ERHS, graduating in 2012, said it was a “pretty tough” season for his junior college team, adding that his pitching and hitting stats weren’t very good except that he got on base a lot by various means.
The Pioneers are 6-3 after the win. They will host Big Lake, one of the teams that’s beaten them, on Saturday at 1 p.m., with former Milwaukee Brewer hurler Ben Hendrickson slated to start his fifth game for the Pioneers.
Brady Givens, a strong closer for ERHS the last two years, pitched the seventh against Albertville for the save. (With no lights, the game was designated to be seven innings).
He struggled a bit (a walk, two singles) but was helped by a double-play provided by first-baseman Aaron Pipenhagen, who snagged a line drive at first base and doubled off the runner.
Brandon Meyer slammed a long triple to the right-field corner in the first inning — his second straight game with a triple — and scored on a passed ball.
Meyer gave a run back in the fourth, making two straight errors at shortstop with none out. The Pioneers almost got out of that jam when Tucker Morrell struck a batter out and Porter Morrell threw out a runner trying to steal third, on the same pitch, for a double play. But Jake Saari ripped a two-out double up the right-center gap that drove home the run.
The Pioneers busted the 1-1 tie in the fifth with three runs. Corey Collins and Kam Crandell singled to get it going. Collins scored when Meyer’s ground ball was booted. Josh Juntunen and Pipenhagen followed with RBI singles. On Juntunen’s hit, Crandall slid around the catcher to score after the throw beat him to the plate.
Crandall, Meyer, Juntunen, Pipenhagen, Morrell, Collins and Tucker Morrell all had one hit.
Ryan Klingehofer (who’s on the Elk staff as a pitching coach) pitched two innings for Albertville, giving up one run, and Todd Klaers pitched the last four innings, allowing three runs.