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Blossoms find a win after sluggish start at the plate

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — The Awesome Blossoms took a long time to find their swing, but it was their for them when they needed as BP beat Alden-Conger/Glenville-Emmons (5-13 overall) 4-2 in nine innings Friday.

After tallying just four hits in the game’s first eight innings, BP took the lead for good when Alex Miller singled in a run and Joe Pirkl singled in another run after faking a bunt and swinging away with two outs. Pirkl nearly doubled in the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning, but BP’s Jacob Naatz slipped and fell as he ran from second to third. BP stranded runners on second and third in that frame.

BP struggled early at the plate, but Chris Naatz kept the team in the game as he scattered three hits and three walks, while allowing just one earned run and striking out seven in seven and two-thirds of an inning.

“We’ve had a lot of good days and bad days this year, but we’ve had a lot more good days and that makes it all worth it,” Chris Naatz said. “You have to show no emotion on the mound and once the ball leaves your hand, you don’t have control of it. I just had to make sure to make them put in play and hope that our defense made plays, which they did.”

BP (6-9 overall) committed an error that allowed a run to score in the top of the first inning and the Blossoms struck out seven of their first nine at bats. BP tied the game at 1-1 when Charlie Heimerman scored on a two-out error in the top of the fourth inning and the Blossoms tied the game at 2-2 when Luke Larkoski blooped a two-out RBI single to center field in the top of the sixth.

“We need to get better at the plate,” Pirkl said. “We need to keep our head in the game and we need to be ready for the curve ball and the really, really fast ball. An 0-2 count doesn’t mean anything.”

BP had a little trouble getting going early on after it had won on a walk-off hit against Medford the night before.

“I think we maybe had a little bit of a hangover after yesterday’s dramatic win, but it was good enough,” BP head coach Matt Kittelson said. “You’re disappointed with the game overall, but at the same time, you’re happy with the result. We kept battling and we put it away eventually. Props to ACGE, they played a good game and they didn’t make any mistakes.”

The game was initially scheduled to be played in Alden, but rain moved the contest to BP, which is why the Awesome Blossoms were playing as the road team.

BP 0 0 0  1 0 1  0 0 2  —  4  6  1

GEAC 1 0 0  1 0 0  0 0 0  —  2  3  3

BP pitching: Chris Naatz, 7 ⅔ IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 2 R, 1 ER, 7 K; Drew Kittelson (W) 1 ⅓ IP, 0 R, 2 K

BP hitting: Alex Miller, 1-for-5, RBI, R; Joe Pirkl, 3-for-5, double, RBI, SB; Charlie Heimerman, 1-for-5, 2 R; Chris Naatz, 0-for-3, 2 BBs; Kittelson, 0-for-4; Luke Larkoski, 1-for-3, RBI, BB; Dylan Johnson, 0-for-4; Cole Christianson, 0-for-3, R, BB; Jacob Naatz, 2 HBP, BB