Plenty of diamond dust was needed to get the field ready, but the Kenyon-Wanamingo baseball team was able to get its season underway Thursday at Cannon Falls.
The host Bombers (1-0) won the Hiawatha Valley League matchup, 9-2.
“It was nice getting out there, getting back outside in the grass and the sand,” said K-W coach Kirby VanDeWalker. “We did a good job throwing strikes, we threw 60 percent strikes between our two pitchers.”
Mistakes made the difference in an otherwise close game.
K-W scored in its first at-bat to grab an early lead, but CF responded with a four-run frame.
The Bombers put the ball in play and forced the issue on an inexperienced Knights defense.
“We had a couple missed plays in the outfield and infield that gave up some runs,” VanDeWalker said. “We need to start pounding more fly balls (in practice) for these guys.”
An RBI single by Tyler Craig cut the deficit to 4-2 in the top of the second, but the K-W bats went quiet from there with just one hit in the final four innings.
K-W had chances to hang in the game late, but four outs made on the basepaths in the game and runners left in scoring position limited opportunities.
Jack Beulke started on the mound and went five innings for K-W. He allowed nine runs, though several were unearned.
VanDeWalker was impressed with the leadership of his senior who kept his cool after misplays in the field.
“He did a nice job throwing strikes,” VanDeWalker said. “He did a good job controlling what he can control.”
Beulke had the team’s lone extra-base hit, Owen Hilke hit two singles and drove in a run and Luke Steberg had an RBI single to lead the offense. Colin Sviggum had a 10-pitch at-bat and drew a walk.
VanDeWalker said the Knights finished with 42 percent quality at-bats. He’d like to see that number closer to 60.
Micah Johnson threw out a pair of CF runners stealing and was praised for his backstopping abilities behind the plate.
The Bombers outhit the Knights 10-5.
“Our inexperience is going to have to learn on the fly. Guys are getting playing time who haven’t before,” VanDeWalker said. “We’re not going to use it as an excuse. I’m proud of how we played fighting through the adversity we had having to practice in the gym.”
K-W’s games Monday vs. Goodhue and Tuesday vs. Byron were postponed. As of Tuesday morning, Thursday’s game at Triton and Saturday’s doubleheader vs. Zumbrota-Mazeppa were still listed as on as schedule, though they are unlikely to be played.
Next week, K-W starts 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Hayfield.
K — 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 — 2
C —4 1 0 3 1 0 X — 9
K-W batting leaders: Owen Hilke 2-3, RBI; Luke Steberg 1-2, RBI; Jack Beulke 1-3, 2B, R; Tyler Craig 1-2, BB, R; Micah Johnson 0-2, BB; Colin Sviggum 0-2, BB