LA CROSSE, WI – The Minnesota Mud Puppies came to Copeland Park on Saturday night for what would be the first of their final games against the La Crosse Loggers this season. Both teams put their offenses on display as they went for a combined twenty hits and twenty-three runs.
The Mud Puppies put three runs on the board in the first inning. They would hit three singles to begin the game before Chayton Fischer hit a bloop single to left field that initially looked to be caught. None of the Mud Puppy runners tagged up and the Loggers executed what would have been a triple play. The umpires came together and ultimately decided that Logger outfielder Colin Bergmann had in fact not caught the ball. There was then much conversation about whether or not any of the three outs caused in the confusion should stand. The umpires ultimately decided that none of the outs counted in a move that puzzled many in attendance, most notably Logger manager Josh Frye. Nonetheless, the game would go on. Minnesota would score three runs before they were done in the first inning. The Loggers would respond with a run of their own to make the score 3-1 after one.
Each team scored three times in the second inning. The Mud Puppies collected a double by Isaac Nett, a sacrifice fly by Carter Hanson, and a single by Charlie Sutherland to score their three. The Loggers would see two balks with the bases loaded score two before a single by Ben Zeigler-Namoa drove in the third run of the inning for the Loggers. After two, the score was 6-4.
After the Loggers pulled the game within one in the third inning, it was time for them to take the lead in the fourth. Aidan Sweatt scored on a sacrifice fly by Ethan Frey before three runs would come in on two bases-loaded walks and one bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. The lead may not have come through swinging the bat, but the keen eye of the Logger batters had put their team in front 9-6.
The Mud Puppies would keep fighting, however. In the top of the sixth inning, four straight walks to begin the inning would score one. Tanner Thompson would hit into a fielder’s choice with a runner on third to score another run before an errant throw on a steal attempt allowed Carter Hanson to cross home plate unearned. After six, the Loggers and Mud Puppies were deadlocked at nine each.
The Loggers would have the last laugh. In the bottom of the eighth inning, a walk and a double by Brandon Fields would put runners on second and third. A wild pitch would allow the runner on third to score and take the lead. Mac Born would come in to pinch hit into a fielder’s choice that would score another run. Another walk and an error would load the bases once again. The third Minnesota balk of the game would bring in the third run of the inning before two more walks and another hit-by-pitch would score two more. The Loggers had scored five runs in the eighth off of minimal hitting. After everything was said and done, the Loggers would come out on top, 14-9.
With the loss, the Mud Puppies drop to 4-18. With the few games they have left, they look to play spoiler across the many playoff scenarios around the league. With the win, the Loggers improve to 22-5, now three and a half games in front of the Waterloo Bucks for first place in the division. The Loggers will play the Mud Puppies once again at Copeland Park on Sunday evening at 5:05 PM.