Summer baseball beginning to bloom around the areaCloquet Legion lost to Hermantown Tuesday but plan to win when they host the Lakeview Classic Friday through Sunday. Cloquet plays at 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Friday at Mettner Field (Athletic Park) off 14th Street in Cloquet.
By: Jeff Papas, Pine Journal
Diving toward his right, Cloquet second baseman Eric Peterson extended his body fully before snatching a scorched ground ball and throwing out Hermantown leadoff batter Jared Thomas to begin Tuesday’s game with a highlight-reel play.
The basic plays that followed, however, weren’t as pretty.
Cloquet committed five errors and made several base running mistakes in a 4-2 loss to the Hawks in an American Legion baseball contest Tuesday at Ed Metter Field.
A 4-1 defeat to Proctor a night earlier was also haunted by miscues.
“If we make the plays we’re supposed to make, we don’t go 0-2 this week,” Coach Dennis Conklin said disappointedly. “The routine plays, our defense can’t make. Hermantown scored twice tonight without getting a hit.”
Conklin noted his Lumberjacks (3-2) outhit Hermantown 8-7 Tuesday, but their bundle of errors to the Hawks’ none was the difference in the outcome. Conklin’s son, Brandon, took the pitching loss Monday, and Victor Foxx took defeat on Tuesday.
“Victor pitched his butt off,” said Conklin, later praising middle infielders Peterson and shortstop Kaleb Kadelbach.
“Those two — they’re fun to watch,” Conklin continued. “They’re stellar. Our other kids should watch and learn.”
Peterson, who also plays summer soccer, has learned a lot over his tenured baseball career and knows they can be better. Cloquet next hosts the Lakeview Classic Friday through Sunday.
“We just have to get back to the basics,” Peterson said Tuesday, “and play Cloquet baseball like we have been taught.”
Summer baseball roundup
Cloquet High School baseball Coach Rick Norrgard teaches youth baseball in the summertime. Tuesday he umpired a game, plus he and 31-year-old Nate Windschill of Duluth will coach the Cloquet VFW squad, already having six games completed.
“High school ends and it’s right into summer,” said Norrgard, noting each team will play nearly 25 games or more. “We’re just trying to continue our great baseball tradition left before from Coach [Steve] Jezierski and Coach [Rick] Stowell.”
Baseball doesn’t exist in the summer for Wrenshall, while Moose Lake-Willow River fields just a VFW, coached by Jim Ryan. Esko has just VFW, as well, headed by spring baseball Coach Ben Haugen and softball Coach Brad Emanuel. Carlton combines its American Legion team — coached by Todd Slater — with Barnum and Cromwell-Wright, although Carlton High School Coach Ryan Schmidt said they also have a junior team in Duluth.
Jared Mattson will play in Duluth, as he and three other Esko schoolmates are part of West Duluth’s American Legion, due to lack of players in Esko. Mattson said he likes it already.
“It’s all the same,” said Mattson, a shortstop and pitcher. “Everyone still has nine players. It doesn’t matter who’s on the field with you, just as long as you can get on the field and play.”