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Warriors fend off Saints in extra innings to take NSAA series

Waldorf Warriors LogoBy Aaron Schneider

FOREST CITY – The Waldorf University baseball team split Sunday’s doubleheader with Presentation College to take the four-game North Star Athletic Association (NSAA) series.

Waldorf (15-25, 11-5) won the opener 11-10 in 10 innings behind a walk-off single from sophomore Jacob Tedesco. The Warriors led 9-3 through one inning, but the Saints (14-32, 4-12) battled back to tie the score at 10-all and force extra innings.

“We took our foot off the gas pedal and let them back into the game,” Waldorf coach Joe Tautges said. “Once we’re up on them big, we need to finish them off. They just kept chipping away and found a way to get back into the game.”

Presentation powered to a 12-3 win in Game 2 to end an eight-game losing streak and avoid the series sweep.

Junior Bruce Mau went 4-for-6 at the plate with a two-run single for the Warriors in Game 1. Tedesco knocked out a solo home run, going 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Junior Michael Keeran went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI single. Waldorf rounded out its hitting with singles from juniors Ryan VillarrealKellan Mick, sophomore Eric Mallo, freshmen Mitchell Keeran and Jimmy Quirk.

Presentation’s Johnnie Morris turned in a 5-for-6 performance. Lane Hovde went 3-for-5 with an RBI single. Albert Castro and Jesse Spangler each contributed a single, a double and two RBIs.

Junior Tony Manna (2-7) pitched two scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. He struck out a batter, walked one and allowed two hits.

Michael Keeran started on the mound and worked eight innings. He fanned four batters, issued three walks and gave up 10 runs (nine earned) on 14 hits.

Tanner Manke (0-5) was charged with the loss. He punched out 11 batters, walked four and relinquished 11 runs (eight earned) on 15 hits in nine and two-thirds innings.

Castro put the Saints on the board with an RBI double in the top of the first inning. Tony Hofman drove in a run on a groundout while Drew Sanders contributed a run-scoring double.

The Warriors sparked a nine-run first inning. A throwing error by the third baseman allowed Mau and Mitchell Keeran to reach home. Tedesco brought in Michael Keeran on a sacrifice fly. Freshman Garrett Gillen drew a bases-loaded walk to put the Warriors ahead, 4-3. Mallo singled in a run and Mau followed with a two-run single. Michael Keeran and Tedesco capped the inning with RBI singles.

Hovde connected on a second-inning RBI single to put the Saints within five runs.

Tedesco went yard in the fourth inning to give Waldorf a 10-4 lead.

Spangler tacked on another run during the fifth after scoring on a wild pitch.

Castro and Hofman delivered RBI singles during the sixth. Spangler drove in a run on a fielder’s choice to cut Waldorf’s advantage to two runs.

Hofman and Spangler each knocked in runs on fielder’s choices during the eighth to tie the game at 10-all.

With two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Tedesco ripped a single to left field. After the left fielder bobbled the ball, Mau was able to beat the play at home for the win.

“We got the right hit at the right time to pull off the win,” Tautges said.

Mitchell Keeran smashed a solo homer and added a double in Game 2, going 3-for-4 at the plate. Michael Keeran went 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI single.

“Mitchell and Michael both keep stroking it,” Tautges said. “I am confident that any time they come to the plate, they are going to reach base. It’s nice to have those kind of guys on your team.”

Waldorf also received an RBI single from Tedesco while senior Ryan McCabe and Gillen contributed singles in the loss.

Hofman went 3-for-5 at the plate with a grand slam and a double while driving in five runs. Sanders produced two run-scoring doubles. Anthony Guzman went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Henry Neils (2-5) recorded the win. He tallied five strikeouts, walked two batters and gave up three runs on nine hits in seven innings.

Mau (2-4) was hit with the loss after surrendering eight runs (four earned) on eight hits in two innings.

Waldorf junior Dean Mick issued two walks and allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits in a four-inning relief appearance. Freshman Michael Miller retired each of the three batters he faced while fanning a batter.

The Saints used their discipline at the plate to capitalize on favorable pitches.

“We got behind [on counts] and they took advantage of some hitting counts,” Tautges said.

Guzman cleared the fence with a grand slam in the top of the first to give Presentation an early 4-0 lead.

Mitchell Keeran cranked his eighth homer of the year with a solo shot to center in the bottom of the first.

Hofman drove in a run on a groundout during the second. Spangler connected on an RBI sac fly, Sanders doubled in a run and Guzman singled in a run to give the Presentation a seven-run advantage.

Tedesco provided an RBI single during the third to cut Presentation’s lead to 8-2.

Hofman roped a fourth-inning single that allowed Castro to advance on a fielding error and score on the throw.

Michael Keeran singled in a run during the fifth, narrowing Waldorf’s deficit to six runs.

Sanders ripped an RBI double during the sixth. Guzman followed with a run-scoring single while Morris drove in a run on a fielder’s choice later in the inning.

The Warriors host Grand View University (22-10) on Wednesday in a 2 p.m. nonconference doubleheader, which marks Waldorf’s final home games this season.

“Grand View is always going to be tough to beat,” Tautges said. “We’ll have to play two good games in order to pull off the sweep.”