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ISSUE 118 VOL 17 PUBLISHED 4/22/2005

Postseason push gets underway

By Ryan Maus
Sports Editor

Friday, April 22, 2005

The calendar may say the date is only April 22, but for the St. Olaf baseball team, the regular season is drawing ever nearer to its end.

The Oles took a huge step towards securing a spot in the MIAC playoffs this week, as they went 3-1 against fellow postseason hopefuls Bethel and St. John’s.

Monday, the team faced their toughest conference competition to date as they hosted the Bethel Royals for a doubleheader. The Royals entered the day as one of nine MIAC teams fighting for the coveted four spots in next month’s MIAC tournament.

The games, which were originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, were moved to Monday due to excessive rain. A school policy also prohibits Bethel from competing athletically on Sundays, which is when most rain-outs are made up.

Will Huepenbecker ‘0 gave a gutty performance (6 2/3 innings pitched, 4 earned runs) and got some timely hitting in a 6-4 game one victory. Brett Berry ‘06 went 3-3 with a key RBI double and Evan Klefsaas ‘07 contributed a clutch two-RBI single in the fourth inning. Bethel also committed three costly errors in the losing cause.

Game two saw the lefthander Tobias struggle with his command, as the Oles could not emerge from an early 5-1 deficit, falling by a final score of 6-3.

Wednesday’s twinbill with the Johnnies was even more important for St. Olaf, as St. John’s entered the day second in the conference with a 6-4 record.

Game one was a classic between Paul Johnson ‘08 and the Johnnies’ Dusty Wilfart. Johnson was superb, going all seven innings in the 2-1 Ole victory, while a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth netted St. Olaf both of their runs. Brett Berry ‘06 notched an RBI single when his short fly ball was lost in the sun, and Brett Thoreson ‘06 drove in the second run with a ground ball single.

In the second game, Dan O’Malley ‘06 bailed out a floundering Ole offense by tossing a complete game, three-hit shutout. O’Malley worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the seventh inning. The only run of the game scored on a sacrifice fly by Berry in the third.

The team’s 3-1 record in their third week of conference play moves them into a third place tie in the MIAC standings. The Oles’ record currently stand at 14-9 overall and 7-3 in the MIAC.

Saturday, the Oles travel to St. Peter to take on Gustavus for a pair before traveling to Luther Sunday afternoon for a twinbill with the Norse. Start times are 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

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