by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Hoping for a payback win, with their best pitcher on the mound, the Elk River Pioneers instead got rebuffed once again by the Big Lake Whitecaps 7-4 at home Saturday.
The Pioneers had been 4-0 in Ben Hendrickson’s first four starts but Big Lake nicked him for seven hits and four runs in five innings. While he struck out nine, the Whitecaps had several hard hits, usually off curves.
Big Lake added two runs off Jim Brown (three innings, four hits) and had a 7-0 lead before the Pioneers chipped away in the last three innings. Sam Krick pitched one scoreless inning.
Big Lake’s Ross Stein went the distance. He struck out only three batters but his sliders and off-speed stuff had the Pioneers beating the ball into the ground all day with just six hits, all singles.
Sam Krick singled home a run in the sixth, Corey Collins laced a two-run single in the eighth, and Corey Kaminsky hit a sac fly in the ninth as the Pioneers closed the gap. Aaron Pipenhagen was 2-for-3 plus a walk and Porter Morrell 2-for-3.
Josh Ledin led the attack for Big Lake, going 3-for-4 with a single and double that each drove home a run plus a triple, after which he scored on a ground out. Mitch Loegering was also 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, and Stein 2-for-3 with an RBI double.
Elk River’s 6-4 record includes an earlier 4-1 loss to Big Lake on May 27 when Stein outdueled Pipenhagen.
The Pioneers will play at Champlin on Wednesday, 8 p.m.