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Blue Sox start slow, finish strong to beat Albert Lea

The Blue Sox took their time to find their swing, but once they found it they were cruising in an 11-1 amatuer baseball win over Albert Lea in Marcusen Park Wednesday.

The Colonels led 1-0 after four innings and the Blue Sox (5-1 overall) had just one hit in the first four frames, but they put up five runs in the fifth and five runs in the seventh top ut it away.

Darin Wagner knocked in the first Austin run when he hit a grounder to second and reached on an error. Casey Toops added a two-run single up the middle and Aaron Port grounded out for an RBI to make it 5-1.

“I don’t know if it’s the fact that he was a lefty or we were sitting back waiting for the ball to get there,” said Wagner of the team’s early hitting struggles. “But we came around in the second half of the game.”

Jamie Pratt, Kyle Young and Steven Rizzi all singled in runs in the seventh and Wagner scored on a wild pitch to end the game in the eighth inning.

Blue Sox manager Josh Kunze said his squad wasn’t worried about the slow start.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who’ve played a lot of baseball and a slow start is not a big deal,” he said. “We knew we’d get it rolling.”

Weston Hanson gave the Blue Sox a solid start on the mound by striking out six and allowing just one run in the first four innings and Nels Nelson picked up the win in relief by striking out four and allowing just two baserunners in three innings.

“I don’t know if Nels has given up an earned run yet this season and he’s definitely impressing right now,” Kunze said. “His control is there and he’s got three or four different pitches working. We’re just going real slow with him so he’s healthy by the middle of the summer.”

Young, an outfielder who played for Riverland, and Wagner, a 2008 Hayfield grad, both made their debuts for the Blue Sox on Wednesday.

Wagner, an outfielder, is liking his new team so far.

“I played over in Rochester last summer and some people were serious about the game there,” said Wagner, who was 2-for-4 with 3 runs scored. “But here you can tell these guys want to play ball and they’re getting after it.”

Colonels 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 6 3

Blue Sox 0 0 0 0 5 0 5 1 — 11 10 0

Blue Sox pitching: Weston Hanson, 4 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, 6 K, HBP; Nels Nelson (W), 3 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 4 K; Andy Swank, 1 IP, 0 R, 1 K

Blue Sox hitting: Casey Toops, 1-for-4, 2 RBIs; Aaron Port, 0-for-2, RBI, BB; Kyle Young, 1-for-4, RBI, R; Dan Swift, 1-for-2, double, HBP; Craig Selk, 1-for-2; Swank, 1-for-2, R, BB, HBP; Josh Kunze, 1-for-2; Darin Wagner, 2-for-4, RBI, 3 R, SB; Marty Dick, 0-for-2, R, BB; Joe Kroc, 0-for-2, 2 R, BB; Steve Rizzi, 1-for-2, RBI, R; Mark Harber, 0-for-1, RBI; Jaimie Pratt, 1-for-1, RBI, R; Adam McMasters, 0-for-2; Nate Wilson, R