After their second straight 10-run loss on April 22 and a rain out last Thursday, the Milaca Wolves were finally ready to try to gain something they’ve been missing – confidence.
The Wolves did just that with a 10-0 beat-down of Crosby-Ironton in five innings last Friday in Milaca.
“My goal today was kind of to get our confidence back and score some runs,” Wolves head coach Craig Talberg said. “I knew going into it that Crosby wasn’t as quality of a team, but we needed to get that confidence back.”
The confidence came back quickly as Milaca batted around the lineup in the first inning and scored seven runs. Starting pitcher Brian Kiel helped his cause with a home run in the first inning. It was the first dinger of the senior’s career.
“It was just a fastball, I put a swing on it and it went out,” Kiel said. “I didn’t even know it went out until I got to second base.”
Kiel went 2-for-2 on the day and also drew a walk. He pitched four innings for the Wolves as well and struck out seven, allowing only three hits and three walks in four innings. Nick Wolbert came in for the fifth inning and struck out the side to end the game early. Hunter Johnson and Matt VanSomeren each had a pair of hits and runs for the Wolves. Seven of nine Milaca batters drove in runs, and eight had hits in the contest. Milaca had 12 hits. Offense was something that Talberg was looking for.
“We just needed to come out and get some good quality swings, which I think we had,” Talberg said. “We did that; we hit the ball pretty well.”
The win came on the heels of the Wolves’ second straight 10-run defeat on April 22 in St. Cloud against Cathedral. In that game the Milaca offense got no-hit by the Crusader’s Dominic Austing and Tommy Auger.
The lone Milaca base runner was Wolbert, who drew a walk in the fifth inning. Justin Fransen pitched all four innings for Milaca. He allowed eight hits, four earned runs and walked two in the loss. Eight Cathedral batters earned hits in the contest, with Brindley Theisen the only one to have two hits. It was the second Granite Ridge loss of the season for Milaca. They fell 11-1 to Foley to open the season the week prior.
“We did play Foley and Cathedral, who are probably the best two teams in our conference,” Talberg said. “I know they are good, but I don’t think they were 10 runs better than us.”
However, the losses are in the past for the Wolves, according to Kiel. Milaca is now more worried about the future and what last Friday did for them.
“It was a great feeling to get the first win of the season,” Kiel said. “I think everyone’s confident now; our confidence is boosted.”