HAUGEN — With storms fast approaching the Haugen Knights scored a lightning-quick 11 runs in the first inning of a 12-2 shortened victory over the Brill Millers in Independent Baseball League action on Saturday.
The Knights added a run in the third and pitcher Travis Thompson held the Millers at bay for Haugen’s fourth victory in its last five games after the oncoming rain caused the game to be called after five innings.
Back-to-back singles by Braeden Verbsky and Turner Swanson got Haugen started as the Knights had 16 batters come to the plate in the bottom half of the opening inning.
Rob Berger, Derek Robarge, Verbsky, Thompson and Ryan Neil each had run-scoring hits in the opening frame.
Thompson drove in a run on a sacrifice fly, Swanson added a run batted in following a bases loaded walk, Berger tallied a RBI being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Callub Paulson knocked in a run on a fielder’s choice.
Brill narrowed the margin in the third as Hunter Ashlin drove in two on single with the bases loaded. Haugen escaped the inning as a lineout to pitcher and throw to first turned into a double play.
Thompson allowed four hits in five innings of work on the mound, striking out three.
Berger led the Knights going 2-for-2 with two runs batted in and three runs scored, while Verbsky, Thompson and Neil also added two hits. Verbsky and Swanson each scored twice.
For the Millers, Jere Fisk had a hit and run scored, Ashlin drove in two on a hit and Bill Brown added a double.
It was the second win for the Knights over the Millers on the season as Haugen blanked Brill 5-0 to open league play on June 14.
Brill drops to 3-4 and into fourth place in the league while Haugen moved to 5-2, staying in second place in the standings.
The Knights remain 2.5 games back of league-leading Spooner, which had the week off from Independent League action.
Haugen has three games left in league play as the Knights host Hayward on Saturday at 7 p.m. before a doubleheader with Osceola on Aug. 2.
Brill resumes play Sunday, July 26 at 1 p.m. as the Millers host Spooner. Brill also travels to Hayward July 31 before ending the regular season Aug. 2 by hosting the Haugen Hornets.
Hayward 3, Haugen Hornets 2
A walk-off single with two outs in the ninth left the Haugen Hornets on the losing side of a matchup with the Hayward last Wednesday night.
The Hornets scored two runs in the first inning as Zack Fisher got Haugen started by reaching on an error. He later stole second. Nolan Rowe added a single and stolen base and Joe Kroeger also reached following a miscue by the Hawks. Fisher and Rowe would each tally runs for the Hornets.
Paul Danczyk’s single for Hayward with two outs in the ninth inning scored Josh Kanters to end the game. Kanters reached base with a two-out double.
Matt Juza suffered the pitching loss for the Hornets going 8.2 innings with five strikeouts, one base on balls and two earned runs allowed.
Rowe led the offense with two singles, with Juza adding the third of Haugen’s three hits.
The Hornets moved to 2-6 on the year and are back on the field Friday when they travel to Spooner. Haugen wraps up the regular season Aug. 2 at Brill.