Rankila struggles in opener; Knights baseball splits first 2 games

STMA’s Henry Berning hits a ground ball during the season opener against Buffalo. (Photo by Jake Schroer).
STMA’s Henry Berning hits a ground ball during the season opener against Buffalo. (Photo by Jake Schroer).

By Jake Schroer

Crow River News Sports


Brandon Rankila gave up six runs as the Buffalo Bison routed the Knights in the home opener.

Rankila’s day started decently enough with a 1-2-3 first inning. The second inning was not as kind to him. He labored as the Bison scored six runs in the inning, knocking him out of the action early.

Things did not get much better for STMA after the second inning. Tyler Engen provided the biggest hit the Knights would get, driving in two runners. Buffalo continued racking up runs in the later innings, eventually invoking the mercy rule after six innings. Buffalo won 14-3.

Head coach Paul Schumm said the opener had few positive things going for it.

“As the game went on, we had a couple better at-bats, but we still have a long way to go to get to where we need to be.”



STMA turned things around and defeated Sartell-St. Stephen in the first game of the at Middle School West Field.

The Knights got a quick run in the first inning on a double by Jordan Joseph which scored Sam Guillou. STMA scored four more runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by a Chris Kartes RBI double.

The Sabres rallied in the fifth inning, scoring three runs on a pair of singles. Jake Bloomstrand worked 2 1/3 innings and pitched his way out of a tough situation in the sixth. Tyler Berg got the win for the Knights, pitching 4 2/3 innings and giving up four runs.

Coach Schumm felt much better about the Friday game than the Thursday game.

“We played a little bit better ballgame today. We had some guys coming through and picking each other up and getting the clutch hits when we needed them, making the plays in the field when we needed it. It was like a whole different team that was out there today compared to yesterday.”

The Knights had a busy week scheduled with games on Monday, Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday.