Crimson 9 splits against conference top teams

by Bob San

Sun Press Newspapers

Maple Grove won one and lost one against two of the top teams in Northwest Suburban Conference baseball last week.

The Crimson won a classic battle against Coon Rapids 2-1 May 9. The win extended Maple Grove’s win streak to 10 games

With the game tied at one in the top of the eighth, Maple Grove’s Jerome Gooley singled in the winning run. Joshua Tyler led off the final inning with a single and stole second before being plated by Gooley.

The pitching was strong on both sides. Coon Rapids pitchers fanned 11 Crimson but Maple Grove’s Charlie Hutchinson was even better. He tossed a complete game victory, allowing one run, two hits, striking out 10 and walking one.

“That was a memorable pitching performance,” said Maple Grove head Coach Darby Carlson. “Charlie pounded the zone with 78 percent strikes and changed speeds, allowing us an opportunity to win.”

Maple Grove had five hits in the game. Gooley and Tyler each collected multiple hits for the Crimson.

The Crimson fell short of maintaining the conference lead with 3-1 loss to Centennial on May 11. Maple Grove fell to 7-3 while Centennial is 8-3.

Centennial starter Kyle Norby went the distance and struck out 13 Crimson.

“We are in need of consistent offense down the home stretch of the season,” cited Carlson. “Our pitching is allowing us to hang around but we need to hit more consistently up and down the line-up.”

Centennial captured the lead in the second inning and added another run in the third for a 3-0 lead. In the top of the fifth inning a double by Curtis Haugen and an RBI sacrifice by Jensen Erickson closed the deficit to 3-1. But one run was not enough as the Crimson saw their long winning streak come to an end.

Josh Tyler went 2-for-3 at the plate and stole two bases to lead the Crimson offensive attack. The Crimson next host Anoka Thursday, May 18, and travel to Elk River Friday, May 19.

Contact Bob San at sunpressnews@ecm-inc.com