Hamline cruises past North St. Paul

In a District IV American Legion baseball game June 25 at Arlington Field in St. Paul, North St. Paul Legion Post 39 appeared as listless as a hound in the high humidity and 95-degree temperature of the day.

The 39ers began the game without much enthusiasm and finished with less, as Hamline Post 418 posted an 11-5 triumph over the 39ers.

Hamline coach Mike Brown smiled and said of the contest, "Well, it wasn’t what you would call ‘artistic,’ but it was a win. We put the ball in play and took advantage of some of their mistakes. Defensively, we made the plays and that was the difference."

The "mistakes" Brown referred to, accounted for five Hylanders runs when they scored on four occasions after walks. A hit batter also crossed the plate.

"It was a rugged game for us," summed up 39ers coach Ron Adams. "We never showed much spunk. We missed some opportunities and left some guys on base. Then the floodgates seemed to open and we never recovered. It wasn’t a very good effort on our part."

In the bottom of the first inning, Hamline’s leadoff batter, Paul Shawsbury, worked a walk. A sacrifice and an infield out moved him to third. Alex Jones smacked a single to left and the count was 1-0.

Brian Cotroneo started things for the 39ers in the top of the third when he slashed a triple into the left field corner. Designated hitter Cole Hutchens walked in front of a slow roller to the right side off the bat of Bill Ryan. The peg to get Cotroneo at home was off the mark and the score was tied 1-1.

B. J. Thompson then blooped a single into short right to load the bases with no one out. But the opportunity slipped away as the 39ers could not capitalize.

In the top of the fourth, North St. Paul garnered a lead when Mike Richter reached on an infield error. He moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a single — his second hit of the game — off the bat of Cotroneo.

With runners on first and third, Richter and Cotroneo worked a double steal. When the peg to get Richter at the plate went to the backstop, Cotroneo wound up on third.

Hutchens put down a suicide squeeze bunt and Cotroneo came home to give the 39ers a 3-1 lead.

The two-run lead lasted until the bottom of the inning when the Hylanders James Bachmeier worked a walk and stole second. He moved to third on an infield out and came home on a second infield out to pull the Hylanders to within one, at 3-2.

In the fifth, the Hylanders took the lead for good when they scored a pair of unearned runs.

With one out, Shawsbury was nailed with a pitch. Ben Kinne worked a walk. Sam Kinne put a sacrifice bunt on the ground and beat the peg at first to load the sacks.

Jones banged a hard hit ball to the left side that was not handled. A pair of runs came home to give Post 418 a 4-3 lead as play headed into the sixth.

Suddenly, a tight game turned ugly for the 39ers. In their half of the sixth, the Hylanders sent 12 batters to the plate and saw seven of them return.

Just four hits were combined with two walks and four 39ers errors as the game became one of "little doubt" when the Hylanders moved to an 8-run margin, at 11-3.

North St. Paul put the final two runs on the board in the top of the seventh. Thompson led off with a single. Matt Borndale worked a walk and the pair moved up on a passed ball. Scott Horner slammed a shot to right for a double and two RBI. Two more walks loaded the sacks, but the 39ers again couldn’t capitalize as a strikeout and a grounder to first ended the game and the 39ers’ anguish.

In all, North St. Paul had five runs on seven hits. They committed six errors and left nine on base.

The Hylanders scored their 11 runs on eight hits. They committed one error and left seven on base, as the win pushed their season mark to 7-4. The loss dropped the 39ers to 2-7.

North St. Paul has an extended period of games on the road. The 39ers next take on North End Post 474 at 6 p.m. on June 29 at Municipal Stadium, before heading to Alexandria for games July 2-4. They play 6 p.m. games at Rosetown July 6, and at White Bear Lake, July 7.

The 39ers return home to Kuenkel Field July 8 to begin play in the annual Gopher Classic Tournament.

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