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Cromwell-Wright records first varsity baseball win in over a decade

In its first varsity baseball season since 2010, Cromwell-Wright earned a season-opening 3-1 win over Carlton at Chub Lake Field.

Player delivers a pitch
Cromwell-Wright's Eliah Belden delivers a pitch during a game on Monday, May 2, 2022 against Carlton at Chub Lake Field in Carlton.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

CARLTON — Taking the field as a varsity baseball program for the first time since the 2010 season, the freshmen-laden Cardinals earned a tightly-contested 3-1 win over Polar League-rival Carlton on Monday, May 2, at Chub Lake Field.

Cromwell-Wright coach Dean Levinski was excited to see his players notch their first official victory at the varsity level after watching them grow through the junior high ranks.

“It’s been four years since we started at the junior high level and just developing these players,” Levinski said. “We’ve had a really good Little League program, and just picked it up to try to get our older kids to play. It’s just a really good deal to have them experience a win like this.”

Eighth grader Eliah Belden earned the win on the hill for the Cardinals after pitching five complete innings before handing the ball off to freshman Dylan Nyberg, who recorded the final six outs.

The two pitchers drew the praise of Levinski for their control throughout the game.

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“Hitters just aren’t used to hitting yet, so it’s a huge advantage if you can throw strikes, and both Eliah and Dylan did that for us,” Levinski said. “We didn’t walk anybody, and just got the ball in play. Our outfielders made a couple of good catches and we made routine plays.”

The Cardinals drove in the first run of the game in the top of the first inning after Aiden Juhl blasted a single to right field before reaching second on a passed ball. An errant throw on the ensuing at bat brought him home to give Cromwell-Wright a short-lived 1-0 lead.

Carlton pitcher Joey Solomon scored the game-tying run in the latter half of the inning when an error in the field put him in scoring position after reaching with a single. Aaron Ermatinger earned an RBI with a base hit to score Solomon and knot the game up at one apiece.

Player connects for a hit
Carlton's Joey Solomon connects for a base hit during a game Monday, May 2, 2022, against Cromwell-Wright at Chub Lake Field in Carlton.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

A pitcher’s duel between Solomon and Belden ensued for with neither team able to record a hit over the next two innings. The scoring drought ended in the top of fourth when a two-out walk turned into the go-ahead run following a steal and a pair of wild pitches to make it 2-1.

Timely hitting proved to be a challenge for the Bulldogs in their quest for the game-tying run as runners were left stranded in the fourth and fifth innings. Carlton coach Ryan Schmidt said the team’s approach at the plate played a role in their struggles offensively.

“Early on we took way too many good pitches. (We) had some guys looking at balls that they should have been swinging at, and then kind of took the opposite approach later in the game and started swinging early in the count at pitches that weren’t necessarily our balls, and we’d pop them up or hit them right at them,” Schmidt said.

Player reaches for ball
Carlton's Aaron Ermatinger stretches to make a catch during a game Monday, May 2, 2022, against Cromwell-Wright at Chub Lake Field in Carlton.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

The Cardinals went on to score one final run in their last time up to the plate facing Brody Vernon, who took over for Solomon in the top of the fifth. Andrew Kachinske blasted the lone extra-base hit of the contest with a double to center field, and later scored on a foul pop fly out off the bat of Jackson Eastman.

Cromwell-Wright (0-1) is scheduled to take on Moose Lake-Willow River on Tuesday, May 3, on the road at 4 p.m. The Bulldogs (2-1) will battle Two Harbors on Tuesday, May 3, on their home field at 4:30 p.m.

Jake Przytarski is a reporter for the Cloquet Pine Journal covering a mix of news and sports.
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