Baseball: Juntunen, Pioneers clip Princeton 4-1, have won 5 in row

Josh Juntunen unleashed a pitch in the first inning. Behind him is shortstop Tucker Morrell. Juntunen worked six innings and got the win. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Josh Juntunen unleashed a pitch in the first inning. Behind him is shortstop Tucker Morrell. Juntunen worked six innings and got the win. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

 

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Josh Juntunen, nursing a sore left elbow, threw six strong innings and led the Elk River Pioneers past the Princeton Panthers 4-1 at home Wednesday evening.

The Pioneers (14-7) got a solo homer from Sam Krick and a perfect squeeze bunt from Tucker Morrell for offensive highlights in their fifth straight win.

Sam Krick gets a handshake from manager Ken Ott while rounding third on his home run. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Sam Krick gets a handshake from manager Ken Ott while rounding third on his home run. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Juntunen limited Princeton to three hits and two walks in six innings, striking out seven, allowing one unearned run. The former Elk and Bemidji State standout picked up his fifth win of the season.

Ben Hendrickson pitched a scoreless inning to cap off the seven-inning win.

The Pioneers took a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Brandon Meyer and Kam Crandall hit back-to-back singles, with Meyer scoring on the front end of a double steal and Crandall scoring when Jim Brown hit into a double play.

Former Zimmerman athlete Kyle Connelly was the starter for Princeton. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Former Zimmerman athlete Kyle Connelly was the starter for Princeton. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Krick hit his fourth homer of the year in the fifth inning. Morrell bunted through charging infielders on the right side in the sixth to knock in Lance Johnson, who had gotten aboard with a single.

Morrell was 2-for-4, and Krick and Brandon Meyer each 2-for-3. Kam Crandall got on base all three trips with a single, walk and hit-by-pitch.

Kyle Connelly, former Zimmerman Thunder standout, took the loss, giving up two runs in four innings. Eric Ostmoe, former Elk, and Brett Becker each pitched an inning and gave up a run.

Princeton (10-9) got an unearned run in the second as errors by Aaron Pipenhagen and Juntunen put two runners aboard and Kyle Norman singled home a run. Norman was 2-for-3.

Elk River has two regular-season games left, at Howard Lake on Friday evening, and against Minneapolis Angels at Loretto next Tuesday evening.

Ryan Carling (20) of Princeton hustles back to first base after a teammate lined out to center field. Aaron Pipenhagen awaits the throw. Carling was safe. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Ryan Carling (20) of Princeton hustles back to first base after a teammate lined out to center field. Aaron Pipenhagen awaits the throw. Carling was safe. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

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