Cambridge-Isanti let a key opportunity slip through its hands in a 7-6 loss to visiting Becker April 25. The setback allowed Big Lake to take over the Mississippi 8 lead by one game after the Hornets whipped Zimmerman 15-0 on Monday after falling to St. Michael-Albertville 4-1 on April 21.
The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the first on a dropped ball in left and a wild pitch which scored the run. The Bluejackets bounced back for a 3-1 lead in the second on Reed Burns’ infield hit, Ryan Epsen’s double down the line and Mike Henderscheid’s triple to right center, with Matt Ziebarth adding an RBI single through the third/short hole.
Things were looking good when C-I went up 5-1 in the third. Garrett Hedberg and Clayton Jennissen reached on errors, and Nick Johnson delivered an RBI single. A 6-4-3 double play turned by Becker ended that threat, however.
Starter Burns (3 Ks, 3 walks) was sitting in good shape in the fourth with two outs and one runner on when a swinging bunt and a base hit gave Becker one run, then another wild pitch made it 5-3.
The Bluejackets ran themselves out of a good scoring chance in the bottom of the fourth. Ryan Miller pitched a scoreless fifth in relief for C-I, but the Bulldogs put up four runs in the sixth to go ahead 7-5. A two-out single up the middle was followed by consecutive errors at third.
C-I battled back with a run in the bottom of the inning when Miller led off with a walk, Henderscheid singled through the hole, then Ziebarth got his third hit of the game with a poke to right to score Miller. Again, the tying run was left at third following a pop-up to third and a grounder to short.
Miller pitched out of trouble in the seventh to keep the Bulldogs close, but Johnson’s infield hit was the only damage the Jackets could muster in their half of the seventh.
C-I 1, Monticello 0
Back on April 21, Cole Bakke came through with another pitching gem, throwing hard for seven innings in the Bluejackets’ win at Monticello April 21. With the tying run at third with one out, Bakke struck out consecutive Magic batters to escape with the victory. Bakke struck out 10, walked 1 and gave up just 3 hits.
The game was tied 0-0 through six innings when C-I’s Nick Johnson reached on a strike-three passed ball. Jordan Locken came in to pinch-run, and he came home on Reed Burns’ single for the lone run in the top of the seventh.
Big Lake 5-1, 7-1; Cambridge-Isanti 4-2, 5-2; Buffalo 4-1, 4-3; Monticello 3-1, 4-2; St. Michael-Alb. 4-3, 4-4; Rogers 2-3, 2-3; Becker 2-4, 2-4; Princeton 1-5, 1-5; Zimmerman 1-5; 1-5.