May’s hit lifts Blue Devils

Published 10:17 pm Friday, April 6, 2012

Riverland shortstop Jamie Adams puts the tag on Central Lakes runner Nick Jasmin on a play at second during the first inning Friday afternoon during the Blue Devils' second game of their Crossover Tournament at RCC. -- Eric Johnson/

When Hayfield grad Tyler Krekling played against Southland grad Chris May and Wabasha-Kellogg grad Eric Sandstrom in high school, they each denied him a chance to play in the state baseball tournament.

Now those players are helping Krekling win games with Riverland Community College.

Sandstrom had a quality start and May knocked in the go-ahead run as the Blue Devils edged out Central Lakes 6-4 after they had beaten Fon Du Lac 7-1 in the Crossover Tournament at Dick Seltz Field Friday.

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RCC trailed 4-2 and 11 of its last 12 batters had been retired going into the bottom of the sixth inning when Krekling dribbled a 1-2 pitch to the left side of the infield and beat out an infield hit that kick-started the Blue Devils’ go-ahead rally.

“Once (Central Lakes) scored that second run, I knew I had to get on base somehow and score,” Krekling said. “It was a slow ground ball and I knew I had a chance to beat it out, so I hustled as hard as I could.”

Krekling would score on a sacrifice fly by Aaron Palmer, Michael Knutson doubled in the tying run and May dropped a single into right field to score the winning run.

RCC finished with just six hits in seven innings against Central Lakes after putting up 26 hits in 10 innings against Central Lakes Thursday.

“This was a slow pitcher and I faced a couple of these guys in high school. You’ve just got to sit back and drive it,” said May, who was two-for-two with two RBIs in the nightcap. “I think some guys were getting frustrated and we were getting out in front of the ball. Sometimes bad games are good for you and we’ve just got to come back and forget it.”

Krekling, who starts in center field for RCC and May, who plays in the outfield as well, are glad to be on the same team together again. While they played against each other a lot in high school, they also played together on a state champion Austin VFW team.

Riverland pitcher Eric Sandstrom delivers against Central Lakes Community College during the second inning Friday afternoon during the Riverland Crossover Tournament. -- Eric Johnson/

May said Krekling helped convince him to transfer to RCC this season and Krekling’s glad to be back on the same field as May.

“We’re good friends now and there’s no hard feelings even though he beat me a couple of times,” Krekling said of May. “It’s fun to play with Chris and Eric. Eric pitched really well today, we just couldn’t get the bats going.”

In the opening win, Austin grad Brady Klingfus put together his second straight quality start as he struck out five, walked just one and allowed five hits and one run in his first win of the year.

“I actually had no clue it was even coming,” Klingfus said of the start. “I was expecting to be in the bullpen all weekend and coach told me yesterday that I was getting a start. I was pretty pumped. I came out focused and it kind of fell into place.”

In Klingfus’s first start he allowed just one unearned run in a 1-0 loss to Division II NIACC and RCC head coach Scott Koenigs said he likes what he’s seen from the sophomore hurler so far this season.

“Brady’s improved a lot since last year and the biggest thing he has improved on is his confidence,” Koenigs said. “He’s not afraid to pound the strike zone and let his defense make plays.”

Koenigs was pleased with Sandstrom’s mound effort as well, but he wasn’t happy that his team had just 13 hits one day after putting up 26 hits.

“There’s no excuse for that and they’ve just got to sit back and have a plan at the plate,” Koenigs said. “As good as we hit yesterday, we hit that bad today.”

CL 1 0 1 0 0 2 0 — 4 6 3

RCC 0 2 0 0 0 4 X — 6 6 2

RCC pitching: Eric Sandstrom, 5 1/3 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 K; Jon Mittag (W), 1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 K

RCC hitting: Donte Bledsoe, 1-for-2, SB; Tyler Krekling, 1-for-3, R; Matt Boswell, 0-for-3, R; Victor Claudio, 0-for-2, R, BB; Aaron Palmer, 0-for-2, RBI, R; Michael Knutson, 2-for-3, RBI, 2 R; Chris May, 2-for-2, 2 RBIs; Jason Kezman, 0-for-1; Jamie Adams, 0-for-3; Braden Hunkins, 0-for-1; Kenny Stelter, RBI

Fon Du Lac 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 — 1 5 2

RCC 2 0 3 1 0 1 X — 7 7 0

RCC pitching: Brady Klingfus, (W, 1-1), 6 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 5 K

RCC hitting: Bledsoe, 2-for-3, triple, RBI, R, SB; Krekling, 1-for-4, 2 RBIs, R, SB; Boswell, 0-for-3, R; Hunkins, 1-for-3, HR, 2 RBIs, R; Knutson, 1-for-2, R, BB; Palmer, 1-for-3, Adams, 1-for-2, R