VFW offense ignitesSouth Suburban League pitchers had serious trouble slowing down the Farmington VFW Post 7662 offense last week.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
South Suburban League pitchers had serious trouble slowing down the Farmington VFW Post 7662 offense last week.
Post 7662 walloped 36 hits and scored 39 runs in a stretch of three league games, tripling their win total to three in nine games to start the summer season. The only thing keeping coach Mike Winters' team from posting a three-game winning streak was a three-run bottom of the seventh inning by Bloomington Gold in last Wednesday's 10-9 loss at Dred Scott Field.
Post 7662 opened last week with a 20-12 rout of Benilde in Farmington, then bounced back from Wednesday's one-run loss with a 10-2 victory over Jordan Thursday at the Mini Met. The team has now scored 58 runs in its last four games since plating four runs in a loss to Shakopee on June 12.
"I just think early in the season we had a break between school and summer ball and as busy as my schedule and the other coaches’ schedules have been, there hadn't been much practice time before those first games," Winters said of his offense's slow start. "We're just kind of getting back in the swing of things, I guess. We're seeing some more pitches and the kids are getting at bats and seeing the ball better and hitting it better."
Post 7662 broke open last Thursday's contest against Jordan with a six-run top of the seventh inning. Cody Carlson started the frame with a single, then Bryan Newberg and Matt Rudorfer followed with RBI singles. Justin Lavey capped off the inning with a two-run double that made it 10-2.
Carlson started on the mound and allowed two runs over the first four innings. He was made a winner when he doubled to lead off the fifth and came around to score on Nick Albano's first home run of the season, a shot over the left field wall. An inning later, Rudorfer doubled and scored an insurance run on a sacrifice fly by Lavey.
Lavey and Kyle Winkleman took over for Carlson on the hill and combined to hold Jordan scoreless over the final three innings.
"In the previous two games we started walking guys. We almost let Benilde back in the game and then we walked guys in the seventh to give Bloomington a chance to win it and they did," Winters said. "This game, Winkleman and Lavey came in and threw strikes. They cut down on walks and gave our team a chance to stay in the game."
Bloomington Gold scored 10 runs over the final four innings Wednesday, the last two coming on a bases-loaded walk and a walk-off infield single, to rally for a 10-9 victory.
Albano got the start for VFW Post 7662 and held Bloomington scoreless over the first three innings before being touched up for five runs in the fourth. Farmington's offense rallied to take leads of 6-5, 7-6 and 9-7 before Bloomington loaded the bases against reliever Phillip Halvorson to start the seventh. Winkleman entered a 9-8 ballgame and recorded a strikeout and a walk before the walk-off single.
Despite the loss, the Post 7662 offense had another strong showing. Christian Martinez went 4 for 4 to pace an 11-hit attack and Matt Schmeltzer added two hits.
Post 7662 ripped five hits and took advantage of six Benilde walks in scoring a season-high 13 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning of last Tuesday's 20-12 drubbing.
Schmeltzer went 2 for 4, but came around to score four times, including twice in the fourth inning. Carlson went 3 for 4 with two runs scored to pace a 14-hit effort and Albano added two hits, three runs scored and two RBI.
Mike Jolliff started on the mound and got the win, pitching the first 4 1/3 innings before running into trouble in the top of the fifth.
Post 7662 played Tuesday night back at Dred Scott Field in Bloomington against Bloomington Blue, then played host to Eden Praire back at home Wednesday in Farmington. The team will be in action all weekend at the Burnsville Tournament at Alimagnet Field. Stories in all of these games will appear in next week’s print edition of the Farmington Independent.