Baseball Roundup...News about Barnum and other area teams
As a kindergartener, Steve Swanson was so into baseball that he decided to skip over T-ball. Now, the Barnum shortstop is just thankful he hasn't had to skip his senior season on the diamond.
"I was nervous that it would get taken away," said Swanson of the much shortened season. "This is kind of it for me; it's my last chance, so I just want to play as many games as I can."
On perhaps the nicest day of the season, the host Bombers lost to Esko 8-6 and Carlton 6-4 on a sunny, 80-degree afternoon at Johnson Memorial Park in Barnum.
The back-to-back losses marked five straight for the Bombers (2-5), despite being neck-and-neck early with Esko and then letting an early 3-0 lead on Carlton slip away to defeat in the nightcap.
"I definitely think we could have come away with two wins, we just couldn't pull it together," said fellow senior Seth Vogt, the starting pitcher against Carlton. "It was just little mistakes."
"It's the little mistakes that kill us," added Swanson, who has played outfield along with his shortstop duties since he started playing varsity as a freshman.
Tony Bender, Barnum varsity coach, agreed with his seniors, noting that miscues also hurt the team in earlier losses to league foes Silver Bay and Two Harbors.
"We're playing tough -- we've been in games," Bender said. "We've just had too many mistakes, and you can't do that in a short season like this. Right now it is April ball, but we're in May."
Zachary Carlson provided the biggest highlight of the day for the Bombers, when the junior jacked a two-run homerun off Carlton pitcher Zach Veno in the opening inning of game two.
The Bombers, who defeated Cook County and McGregor-Cromwell-Wright last week, have just three games left on their schedule. Vogt is optimistic, knowing there is still time ahead.
"There's three games, but we're staying positive and know we have to come away with some wins here," he said. "We've faced some pretty good pitchers already. I think we can make a run."
Swanson, meanwhile, is just pleased to continue his career.
"I don't think I'm going to get to play in college," Swanson said. "Honestly, though, I would play a game every single day."
In other action Tuesday, Carlton started the day by defeating Esko 14-6, as the Bulldogs (6-2) -- winners of five straight -- took advantage of Esko errors and walks. Kyle Gunderson and Erik Adams were winning pitchers. Veno, Brett Balow and Jacob Eggert all had key hits.
"Everything is coming together," Carlton Coach Ryan Schmidt said. "We came home with two wins. We like a day like that."
Nick Emanuel entertained for the Eskomos (6-4), hitting two homers, while Matt Bolgrean and Jared Mattson -- who got the pitching win over Barnum -- homered in Esko's 10th road game.
"We've been on the road every night," Esko Coach Ben Haugen said, as their home field is unavailable because it's being renovated. "We played tired."
Cloquet (7-3) came up short in a 4-3 loss at Duluth East Tuesday, as the Lumberjacks -- scheduled for eight games in the next eight school days -- snapped a previous seven-game win streak. Cloquet remains unbeaten atop the Lake Superior Conference.
McGregor-Cromwell-Wright (1-6) was victorious for this first time this spring, as the host Mercuries -- outscored 78-18 this season -- mercy-ruled Wrenshall 12-2 Tuesday evening.
Moose Lake-Willow River (5-4) ran by visiting Virginia 11-8 Tuesday, as the Rebels slugged past their second straight opponent, marking their third victory in their past four contests.