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The Carroll Merchants have had a wild start to the 2017 summer. Three games in three days, decided by three runs combined. It was another barn-burner for the Merchants as they finished their two day road trip with a visit to Bancroft and the Bandits.
Zack Ruckman’s single, his fourth hit of the game, in the top of the ninth was the difference as he drove in a pair of runs to lead the Merchants to a 10-9 victory.
It was textbook baseball during the ninth inning rally, as Ben Kiefer worked a leadoff walk which was followed up by an error that allowed Bradley Sanford on base. Mitchell McCallister executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position before the game-winning hit.
Carroll was in cruise control early on, they led 5-0 after the top of the fifth. That’s when the bats came alive for the home team.
Jace Komminsk, just entering the game, hit a solo home run to cut the deficit to 5-1.
Moments later, Kaelen Dowling got in on the fun and crushed a solo home run of his own to right field.
Merchants starter, Tyler Buchanan would throw six strong innings allowing just three runs on four hits and a pair of walks. He struck out nine Bandits in his season debut.
The seventh inning is where the Bandits made their comeback, showing great patience at the plate, Bancroft managed to string together three walks and a single before William Bierlein’s double made the game 8-7. Two batters later Alex Remy delivered a single to left that scored Ben Wilkins and Bierlein that gave Bancroft their first lead of the day.
In the bottom of the ninth, Jeremy Thorson got himself into a jam as the bases were loaded with just one out. The right-hander from Duluth, Minnesota was able to get Dowling to hit into a fielders choice as Ruckman threw out the potential tying run at the plate. Thorson then struck out Colin Brophy to end the game and secure the Merchants’ second win of the season.
In addition to his game winning hit, Ruckman finished 4 for 5, with a double, a run scored and five RBI. McCallister finished with a pair of hits, including a double of his own. Ben McConnell, Sean Moore and Keifer all had knocked in a run in the win.
Komminsk had three hits for the Bandits, including his home run. Bo Fricks had a very good day at the plate, going 2 for 5, with a RBI and scoring twice himself. Remy, off the bench, went 2 for 2 with a couple RBI. Brophy also finished with two hits in the loss.
Both of these teams will play at home on Wednesday night when the Merchants host the Albert Lea Lakers while the Bandits will welcome the Storm Lake Whitecaps.
STORM LAKE, Iowa – The Storm Lake community waited 77 years for Whitecaps baseball return to their town, so what’s one extra inning.
Anthony Stewart turned out to be the hero as his blooper-turned-error scored Mason Pryzbilla to win the game for the Whitecaps, 6-5 over Carroll in 10 innings.
In a game that did not start well for the home squad, they clawed back to tie the game and even take the lead for a brief moment in the later innings.
Casey Berg picked up the win on the hill for the ‘Caps as he threw three innings in relief, allowing just two hits and a walk to go with two strikeouts.
Andrew Blount was the tough luck loser as the game winning run was an unearned one. He allowed a single and a pair of walks before almost getting out of the bases loaded jam in the 10th.
A tough start for Whitecaps saw Carroll bring in two runs in the first inning despite the Merchants not recording a hit.
Storm Lake would get a run back in the bottom of the 2nd as a ground out by Tony Nichols scored* Jason Galleano*.
The home team had a chance to tie it in the third, Berg led off the inning with a double to left field and advanced to third after a ground out by Stewart. Carroll starter, Tristan Steffans was able to strike out Eze Encarnacion on three pitches but then hit Galleano with a fastball to give the ‘Caps runners on the corners. Christian Montero then laced a ball to second base but the ball was snared by Eric Yachinich to end the inning.
That would prove costly as the Merchants got two of their own in the top of the 4th after doubles from David McAnelly and Blount. Zach Ruckman singled home Blount on the very next pitch, on a play that took a wicked hop over Encarnacion.
Storm Lake would respond in the bottom half of the fourth as Pryzbilla set the table with a one-out double and would score on a fielders choice, making the score 4-2.
The Whitecaps would threaten once again in the 7th as Noah Paper reached on an error while Berg reached on a single. They would be moved into scoring position on a passed ball, setting the stage for Stewart as his bloop single cut the deficit to one.
Connor Forsythe would come in to relieve Jeremy Thorson and he would get the ground ball he wanted but an another Merchant error allowed everyone to reach safely and tie the game at four.
Forsythe would strike out Galleano and Montero but a wild pitch would allow Stewart to score the go-ahead run to give the Whitecaps their first lead of the night.
That lead, however, would be short-lived as a ground out from Yachinich scored Sean Moore to even the score at five in the eighth.
The ‘Caps were only 90 feet away from taking the lead as they had runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out, but Forsythe was able to strike out a pair of Storm Lake hitters and got a ground out as well.
After failing to score in the ninth, their luck finally turned in the 10th when the pop up from Stewart was misplayed by the Carroll shortstop resulting in bizarre game winner for the Whitecaps.
Andrew Kasperbauer led the Storm Lake offense going 2 for 5, with a pair of doubles. Berg also collected two hits and a double of his own. Stewart finished his night just 1 for 6 but he’ll take his game-winning RBI any day of the week.
For the Merchants, Zach Ruckman led all hitters with three hits, he also tallied a RBI. McAnelly reached base four times with a couple hits and few free passes.
Storm Lake grabs their first win of the season and they’ll have a few days off to enjoy as they take on the Albert Lea Lakers on Wednesday night.
Carroll will look to shake this one off, they’ll have a late afternoon game against Bancroft tomorrow. The Bandits were rained out in Albert Lea last night.
At long last… summer has arrived!
Tonight the Pioneer League kicks off its inaugural season with a pair of games in the state of Iowa.
In the northern part of the hawkeye state, the expansion Albert Lea Lakers hit the road to battle the Bancroft Bandits. While the population of Bancroft may be small, just 732, they pack the house as the Bandits have become a summer staple in just their second year of competing.
Coach Phil Savage has put together an impressive club, a number of top rated young players join a crafty group of veterans which should make a good mix for the summer.
The Albert Lea Lakers will be a young squad as they start their first season as a team, but Coach Sam Schumacher is confident in his team’s abilities. They boast an athletic core that could smell trouble for the rest of the league.
These two teams meet in the first of two, tonight at Bancroft Memorial Park.
A little ways south, we have another expansion team taking on a second year club. The new Storm Lake Whitecaps will make their return to the diamond for the first time since 1940. They will be led by Storm Lake native Nic Seaman, a 2013 graduate of Storm Lake High School.
The ’Caps will be looking to make a big splash as they take on the Carroll Merchants at Merchants Stadium.
Zak Larkin is at the helm of the Carroll squad, boasting the most out-of-the-area players for the league. They are led by a trio of players from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
June has finally arrived and so has the start of the inaugural season for the Pioneer Collegiate Baseball League! Stay tuned to our website after the game as we recap the action from night one of the 2017 season!
The Pioneer Collegiate Baseball League is excited to announce the creation of the Pioneer League Podcast! The show will be a weekly presentation, talking about the different events taking place in the Pioneer Collegiate Baseball League this summer!
On the very first episode, we talk to the head coach of the Albert Lea Lakers, Sam Schumacher. We talk to him about his background in baseball and what he expects this summer in Albert Lea.
Join us every Monday for a brand new episode!
The Carroll Merchants are proud to announce the signings of Jonathan Lindsey, Tyler Milligan, and Bradley Sanford.
Lindsey, a native of Olive Branch, Mississippi, is currently in his junior season at Delta State. He spent the last two seasons at Northwest Mississippi Community College, making 29 appearances including 10 starts. He posted a record of 5-6 and also notched three saves. He struck out 60 over 68.2 innings in two years at NMCC. In 2016, he was 3-4 with three saves, striking out 37 in 35 innings of work.
At Lewisburg High School, Lindsey won a state championship in 2013 and owns school records for most single-season and career wins. He was a All-State Second Team selection once and was an All-District and All-Shelby Metro honoree three times. For his Lewisburg High career, Lindsey was 26-7 with a 2.84 ERA in 202.1 innings on the hill.
Milligan, also from Olive Branch, Mississippi, transferred to Delta State this season, coming from Mississippi Delta Community College. As a sophomore, Milligan made 21 relief appearances, finishing with a record of 5-5 with three saves. He gave up just 18 earned runs in 55.2 innings pitched, that would be good enough to give him a 2.91 ERA. He was a 2016 MJCAA All-Conference selection.
As a freshman his time on the hill was shorter, but his ERA was even better at 2.82. He struck out 17 in 22.1 innings. A three-time All-District and a two-time All-County honoree at Center Hill High School, he finished with a 16-15 career record, an ERA of 2.64 and 171 strikeouts.
Sanford, a catcher from Grenada, Mississippi, is a true freshman at Delta State University and comes to the Statesmen from Grenada High School.
Sanford was the 2016 NEMCABB 5A/6A Player of the year as well as the 2016 4A/5A team MVP. He was named 5A First-Team All-State and All-District and helped GHS to the 2016 District title.
The Merchants are excited to welcome Jonathan Lindsey, Tyler Milligan and Bradley Sanford to the town of Carroll for the upcoming 2017 season.
Information in this article was provided by Cody Clark, Delta State University Athletic Communications Assistant.