By Jake Schroer
Crow River News Sports
Brandon Rankila pitched a one-run complete game as the Knights defeated the North Branch Vikings at home.
STMA got its pitcher a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Jordan Joseph drove in a run and later scored himself to give the Knights a 2-0 lead. The Vikings got on the board when Rankila uncorked a wild pitch, allowing a runner to score from third.
The Knights got Rankila some insurance in the sixth inning. A sacrifice fly plated a run for a 3-1 lead, and then Jake Bloomstrand singled home another run for a 4-1 lead. Rankila headed to the seventh with a three run cushion.
In the seventh, the Vikings threatened the lead. Chris Kartes made a sliding catch for the second out with the tying run at the plate. Rankila induced a groundout to end the threat as the Knights won by a final score of 4-1.
Head coach Paul Schumm said that he expected Rankila to battle the way he did.
“That’s kind of what we expect from the senior that he is,” Schumm said.
Schumm added that the team needs to work on a few things.
“We’ve got to work on, keep hitting the ball, keep scoring runs, and not letting teams back into games.”
Rankila said he felt good after the start.
“After a rough start to the season, it’s good to get a three win streak going,” he said. Rankila said his mentality changed after the opening start at Buffalo and now he wants to get guys out instead of playing around with them.
The Knights played Buffalo on Tuesday and Chisago Lakes on Thursday. They travel to Moorhead for a doubleheader against the Spuds on Friday.