ARDEN HILLS — In a game with few scoring opportunities for either team, pinch hitter Tanner Voight delivered a base hit in the top of the seventh inning to provide the difference as Stillwater clipped Mounds View 1-0 in a Suburban East Conference baseball game on Wednesday, April 28 at Mounds View High School.
The Ponies ranked No. 2 behind top-ranked Mounds View coming into the season, improved to 8-0 on the season.
Gavin Zurn fired a complete-game five-hitter against the Mustangs, who were coming off a 14-hit, 18-run outburst in a victory over White Bear Lake two days earlier. The hard-throwing senior allowed two walks and finished with seven strikeouts.
It was the fourth shutout in eight games for the Ponies this season, who have outscored their opponents by a combined 44-13.
“To see what Gavin did against that team is pretty impressive because that lineup is pretty good,” Ponies coach Mike Parker said. “He had one of his best days I’ve seen. He didn’t have his good stuff at the beginning of the game, but fought through that and by the fourth inning he was really controlling all four of his pitches. He really did a good job.”
Casey Venske drew a walk to start the top of the seventh for the Ponies. Pinch hitter Ian Hanlon bunted him to second and Voight laced a hard single to left field to score Venske from second with the deciding run. It was the first hit of the season for Voight — and a memorable one.
“It was a clean game by both teams,” Parker said. “The hitting wasn’t that bad, the pitching was just that good and the defense was pretty good. We had a successful bunt and a well-timed hit.”
This marked Stillwater’s eighth consecutive victory over the Mustangs (3-4 SEC, 3-4) dating back to the 2016 season.
“They’ve struggled a little bit this season, but that lineup is unbelievable and that was a really good team,” Parker said.
Stillwater 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 — 1 5 0
Mounds View 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 5 0
WP: Gavin Zurn 7-ip, 5-h, 0-r, 0-er, 2-bb, 7-so
LP: Ben Rosin 7-ip, 5-h, 1-r, 1-er, 2-bb, 7-so
Leading hitters: St, Gavin Zurn 1x3, Tony Ingram 2x3, Mason McCurdy 1x3 and Tanner Voight 1x1 (RBI); MV, Mason Dean 1x3, Will Rogers 1x2, Logan Grimm 1x3, Reid Thurston 1x3 and Cooper Kleppe 1x3.
Stillwater 10, C-D Hall 1
At Oak Park Heights, Alex Ritzer delivered two-run hits in the second and third innings to help boost the Ponies to a 10-1 conference victory over Cretin-Derham Hall (1-6 SEC, 1-6) on Monday, April 26 at Stillwater Area High School. Stillwater scored six runs in the second and tacked on four more in the third to take control.
“We just had two big innings,” Ponies coach Mike Parker said.
Gavin Zurn singled and doubled to join Ritzer with two hits for the Ponies.
C-D Hall 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 — 1 4 3
Stillwater 0 6 4 0 0 0 x — 10 8 5
WP: Josh Wallace 3-ip, 2-h, 0-r, 0-er, 1-bb, 2-so
Leading hitters: St, Alex Ritzer 2x3 (4RBI), Kade Peloquin 1x3 (2B), Gavin Zurn 2x4 (2B), Tony Ingram 1x2 (2B), Casey Venske 1x1 and Austin Buck 1x1.
Stillwater 7, Park 5
At Cottage Grove, in a battle of the only two remaining unbeaten teams in the SEC, the Ponies held off a furious seventh-inning surge from the Wolfpack to record a 7-5 victory on Saturday, April 24 at Park High School.
It was the first loss of the season for Park (7-1 SEC, 7-1), which joins the Ponies as the only conference teams with fewer than four losses.
Stillwater scored a run in the top of the seventh to push its lead to 7-0, but the Wolfpack did not go away without a fight in the bottom half. Park scored four runs and loaded the bases with no outs in the inning.
The Ponies turned to senior Myles Schwerzler, who balked in a run to turn up the pressure even further before striking out the last three batters of the game.
“He threw 18 pitches and 15 were off-speed pitches,” Ponies coach Mike Parker said. “He’s not really known as a strikeout pitcher, but he struck all three guys out and that’s what we had to do to win. He was an unlikely guy to strike out all three, but that was definitely something we needed in that spot. They were hitting the fastball really well so we were lucky we had somebody with really good control off-speed stuff. It was a great save.”
Zach Nelson threw five strong innings for the Ponies, allowing just three hits and one walk with 10 strikeouts.
Stillwater 4 0 0 0 2 0 1 — 7 10 3
Park 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 — 5 9 3
WP: Zach Nelson 5-ip, 3-h, 0-r, 0-er, 1-bb, 10-so
LP: Clayton Beaurline 3-ip, 5-h, 4-r, 3-er, 0-bb, 2-so
Leading hitters: St, Austin Buck 1x3, Alex Ritzer 2x4 (2 runs), Gavin Zurn 2x4 (RBI), Kade Peloquin 0x3 (2 runs), Brayden Hellum 1x4, Casey Venske 1x3 (RBI) and Tony Ingram 3x4 (2B, 3RBI); Par, Tucker Novotny 2x4, Jackson Tessman 2x4 (2B), Jackson Weidner 1x3 (2B, 2RBI) and Noah Janski 2x3.
Stillwater 7, Irondale 2
At New Brighton, four shutout innings by Tanner Pelto and Myles Schwerzler in relief of starter Austin Buck helped lead Stillwater to a 7-2 conference victory over the Knights (3-5 SEC, 3-6) on Friday, April 23 at Irondale High School.
Kade Peloquin drove three hits, including a triple, while Alex Ritzer singled and stole three bases. Mason McCurdy and Casey Venske each drove in two runs for the Ponies, who scored four times in the third inning and added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh.
Stillwater 0 0 4 1 0 0 2 — 7 10 1
Irondale 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 — 2 5 1
WP: Austin Buck 3-ip, 2-h, 2-r, 2-er, 1-bb, 2-so
LP: Jake Bowman 2 2/3-ip, 6-h, 4-r, 4-er, 5-bb, 2-so
Leading hitters: St, Kade Peloquin 3x4 (3B, RBI, 2 runs), Mason McCurdy 1x3 (2RBI), Tony Ingram 1x2 (2B), Casey Venske 1x3 (2RBI), Mason Buck 1x2, Alex Ritzer 1x3 and Gavin Zurn 2x3 (2 BB, 2 runs, RBI); Ir, Owen Maze 2x3 (2B, RBI).
Stillwater 4, White Bear Lake 0
At White Bear Lake, Gavin Zurn was sharp on the mound for the Ponies, finishing with 13 strikeouts in a one-hitter, as the Ponies blanked the Bears 4-0 in an SEC game on Thursday, April 22 at White Bear Lake High School.
Spencer Oxton’s single to lead off the bottom of the fifth was the only hit for the Bears (1-7 SEC, 1-9).
“He was just throwing it by them,” Ponies coach Mike Parker said of Zurn, who did not allow a walk in the game.
Stillwater 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 — 4 7 2
WB Lake 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 1 1
WP: Gavin Zurn 7-ip, 1-h, 0-r, 0-er, 0-bb, 13-so
LP: Spencer Oxton 6-ip, 4-h, 4-r, 4-er, 5-bb, 6-so
Leading hitters: St, Brayden Hellum 2x3 (2RBI), Gavin Madison 1x2, Alex Ritzer 1x2 (2 BB), Gavin Zurn 1x4 (RBI) and Mason McCurdy 2x4 (RBI); WBL, Spencer Oxton 1x2.
Contact Stuart Groskreutz at firstname.lastname@example.org