Town team wins season opener at Belle Plaine

Posted June 30, 2020

Town team wins season opener at Belle Plaine

After a delayed start to the 2020 season due to the pandemic, the St. Peter town team played its first league game Friday night at Belle Plaine and took home a 4-3 victory.

Newcomers Owen Little and Josh Robb combined to limit the Tiger batters to just five hits and two earned runs. Little started the game on the mound and got off to a shaky start with three walks and a hit-by-pitch in the first inning, but allowed just one run and stranded the bases full. Little settled in as the game progressed, striking out six and allowing four hits over six innings.

The Saints scored their first run in the third inning as Austin Pinke started the frame with a single, advanced to third on walks to Jeff Menk and Sam Carlson, and then scored on a single by Hunter Wilmes. Billy Hanson led off the fifth with a hit-by-pitch and later scored on an RBI groundout by Pinke. The Saints led 2-1 after five.

Belle Plaine scored an unearned run in the sixth to tie the game, which ended Little’s night on the mound. Robb relieved Little to start the seventh, making his amateur baseball debut before playing a high school varsity game. Robb faced just four batters in his first inning of work.

The Saints regained the lead in the eighth as Carlson reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to second on a pinch hit walk to Chet Olsen, and scored on a fielding error. Brad Morris then delivered the game-winning hit with a single up to middle, scoring Luke Regner. Wilmes was thrown out at home for the final out of the inning and the Saints took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth.

Robb found himself in trouble in the eighth after a walk, hit-by-pitch, and RBI single to start the frame, but got out of a bases-loaded jam with an infield pop-out and two strikeouts. Robb then closed the door in the ninth as the defense turned a 3-6-3 double play followed by a fly-out to secure the win.

Robb earned the win in relief after tossing three innings. He allowed one run on one hit, three walks, and one hit-by-pitch. He struck out two batters. Hanson led the team at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a run and hit-by-pitch.

St. Peter’s Sunday game at Le Sueur was rained out. The next game is scheduled for July 6 at Arlington.

Photo: Owen Little pitched six innings in his St. Peter debut. (Pat Beck/St. Peter Herald)

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