by Bob San
Sun Press Newspapers
It was pouring rain in downtown Minneapolis last Saturday morning but Maple Grove High baseball players and coaches were nice and dry as they took infields. The reason they were dry was because they were playing a game at the US Bank Stadium against Bemidji.
“The experience at US Bank was enjoyable especially when it was pouring rain outside and we were playing baseball,” Crimson coach Darby Carlson said.
The experience was unique for both teams for they had never played in a ballpark like this. The Bank felt humongous even though the baseball dimensions were not that different than most ballparks. It’s 338 feet down the leftfield foul line, 370 to left center, 381 to centerfield, 365 to right center and 300 down the right field foul pole. But there is no dirts on the infield, just a couple carpet for a pitching mound and home plate. And when one looks up, there is the vast space and five decks of purple seats.
Carlson was happy his team got to experience the Bank, for the game would have been canceled if it was at Target Field. But an old-school baseball man like Carlson is much more at home on the green grass of Target Field than the artificial turf at the Bank.
“My experience at Target Field was far greater as nothing beats playing baseball outdoors on grass, in the fresh air,” he said.
For the record, Bemidji beat Maple Grove 6-4. Bemidji took advantage of two hits, a walk, and two errors to take a 3-0 first inning lead. That placed the Crimson in chase mode for the remainder of the contest.
Maple Grove had seven hits in the game. Freshman shortstop Nathan Ross collected two hits in his Crimson debut. Bubba Horton finished the game 2 for 3 with one RBI. Curtis Haugen, Hayden Thomsen and Jensen Erickson each chipped in with one hit each.
Early leads defeat Crimson 9
Maple Grove fell behind early and couldn’t come back in a 2-1 loss to Champlin Park April 11. The Rebels took the lead on a home run by Cole Albers in the first inning. Maple Grove’s greatest threat to win came in the bottom of the seventh but a strikeout with the bases loaded ended the game.
The pitching was strong on both sides. However, Champlin Park tallied 11 strikeouts while yielding one walk. Nathan Martinson took the loss for the Crimson. He pitched five innings, giving up two runs, five hits, striking out one, and walking zero.
Jensen Erickson, Luke Hanson, Hayden Thomsen, Joshua Tyler, and Jerome Gooley each collected one hit.
Maple Grove next hosts Park Center Thursday, April 20.
Contact Bob San at [email protected]