Lumberjacks leap out of the gates, win three of first four gamesAs he worked his fastball, curve and changeup around the plate Tuesday, Cloquet pitcher Taylor Blundell said he felt great. He felt even better about his teammates.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
As he worked his fastball, curve and changeup around the plate Tuesday, Cloquet pitcher Taylor Blundell said he felt great.
He felt even better about his teammates.
“We have a pretty darn good baseball team,” Blundell said following the Lumberjacks’ 5-3 victory over Duluth Denfeld Tuesday evening at Ed Mettner Field in Cloquet. “We’re all playing extremely well right now.”
Defeating the Hunters marked Cloquet’s third consecutive win of the young season, as the Lumberjacks have now topped Ashland, Mora and Denfeld in less than a week. The quick start didn’t surprise Blundell, though, who picked up his second win of the season on the mound.
“We have a great team here,” he said. “Today was a good day.”
Blundell was effective Tuesday, as the 5-foot-11 heavy-hurler threw a complete game. First-year Lumberjacks Coach Rick Norrgard said his starter has been solid, adding that Blundell threw past Ashland, too.
“Taylor did a nice job for us tonight,” Norrgard said. “He only walked two guys and he stayed around the plate very well.”
Cloquet senior classmate and catcher Trent Moe agreed.
“He’s one of our top pitchers,” Moe said. “He has good movement on his throws and knows where to place them. He did a really nice job for us tonight.”
Like Blundell, Moe said no one individual is standing out, rather it’s taken the efforts of the full team for the Lumberjacks’ stretch of wins.
Moe highlighted on the fact that their squad is scoring runs early on.
“We just try to beat teams every inning and our last couple games here, we’ve been doing it all,” Moe said. “We’ve gotten three, four, five, six, seven runs right away. That’s been a huge momentum boost for us. We did it again tonight, too.”
Tuesday against the Hunters, the Lumberjacks (3-1) strung up all five runs in the second inning. Seniors Derek Anderson, Cole Johnson and Kellin Lamirande were all plated, along with juniors Eric Peterson and Kaleb Kadelbach.
Cloquet Assistant Coach Rick Stowell said the Lumberjacks have been clutch at times, tallying single-inning totals of three runs on Ashland, five on Denfeld and seven against Mora, all ending in victories. (The ’Jacks have only lost to Henry Sibley on opening day.)
“We’re finding ways to put innings together,” added Norrgard. “Right now, we’re getting key hits, a few gifts and taking advantage of things. I think the kids are playing loose.”
Kadelbach, Peterson and Moe had Cloquet’s only hits Tuesday. Despite being out-hit, Moe said defeating Denfeld was pleasant.
“They’re a triple-A team,” Moe said. “Before the game, everybody was saying they’re a good team. But we’re playing well lately.”
New to the varsity level of the sport, Norrgard said the wins over Ashland, Mora and Denfeld were impressive.
“From what I hear about high school ball, those are good programs,” he said. “It’s been a nice start for the boys.
“But we have things to clean up, and have work to do,” he continued.
Blundell said the same.
“We have a lot of experience on this team and are playing well, but we can definitely get better,” he said. “For the most part I hit my spots today, but the first inning I was a little shaky and left a few pitches up that got hit hard.”
Like all good squads do, his teammates then backed him up.