LA CROSSE, WI – There’s a hill sitting right at the .500 mark, and the Larks just can’t seem to get all the way over it.
The Larks (13-14) fell to a game under .500 after losing game three of their six game road trip to the La Crosse Loggers (10-17) by a score of 11-3.
Out of the gates, the Larks appeared to be picking up where they left of yesterday in Mankato.
Scooter Bynum gave the Larks a 2-0 lead in the first when he connected on a two-run homerun to right-center field. Bynum’s blast off of Loggers starter Cody Ebert gave him his 13th and 14th RBIs of the season.
La Crosse took a while to get their bats up and running, but once they did, they never stopped.
The Loggers got to Larks starter Andy Lalonde in the third after back-to-back hits to lead off the inning from Korey Lee and Cameron Cannon. Ryan Mantle scored Lee via a sacrifice fly to cut the Larks lead in half, then Grant Judkins doubled home Cannon to tie things up at two.
David Villar singled home Judkins to put La Crosse ahead for the first time in the game.
They never looked back.
The Loggers jumped on Lalonde for two more runs in the 5th inning. Jake Hirabayashi laced a two-out two-RBI single into right center to push the lead to 5-2. A walk to Lee ultimately chased Lalonde from the game.
Trenton Stoltz was called upon, but he rolled his ankle making his way out of the bullpen and was unable to pitch. The Larks instead turned to Noah Luedtke who struck out Cannon to end the threat.
The Larks chased Ebert from the game in the 6th after Ryan Anderson led off with a single and Newt Johnson drew a walk. Chris Boettcher hit Trever Leingang with a pitch, and Brandon Lankford’s RBI single made the score 5-3.
Boettcher struck out Connor Perry, then got Mitch Gallagher to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the rally.
After that, the Larks were not able to get much rolling offensively as they tallied just one base hit.
The Loggers stayed on the throttle and brought one more run home in the 6th, two more in the 7th, and three more in the eighth after the Larks sent Cooper Coldiron to the mound to start the inning.
JC Bonilla finished the 8th inning, and the Larks went quietly in the 9th to end the game and drop them one game below .500.
The Loggers notched their 11 runs on 14 hits and on seven walks. The seven walks added to their Northwoods League-leading total, giving them 144 free passes on the season. Ebert was the winning pitcher of record after he went 5.0+ innings and struck out seven while allowing six hits, three earned runs, and four walks.
Lalonde finished his night after 4.2 innings, in which he struck out four but gave up eight hits, five runs (two earned), and two walks.
Game two of the series is tomorrow night at Copeland Park in La Crosse. Fans can listen in on mixlr.com/larksbaseball at 7:05pm to cheer on the boys of Bismarck.
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The Bismarck Larks are apart of the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The 23-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 20 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 170 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champion Ben Zobrist (CHC) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (BOS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM) and Lucas Duda (NYM). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com or download the Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play