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BASEBALL: Blackduck's experience on display in 43-1 win over Cass Lake-Bena in opener

BLACKDUCK — The Cass Lake-Bena baseball program is in a rebuilding phase while the Blackduck program has the potential to match last spring’s success which included a fourth-place finish in the Minnesota Class A state tournament.

On Thursday in Blackduck the teams began their campaigns and the difference in experience and expectations was obvious.

The Drakes took advantage of CL-B’s young pitching staff, scoring 15 runs in the first inning and coasting to a 43-1 victory.

Because the first game of the scheduled doubleheader took so long the second game was played as an exhibition.

Blackduck was leading the game 3-1 after three innings when the contest was stopped because of darkness.

“We have nine kids on the roster now and I was saving my No. 1 pitcher (Daven Staples) for the second game,” said Cass Lake-Bena coach Ken Wittner. “The second game was a different story. Daven pitched well and we were right in it.”

In Thursday’s opener Wittner used four pitchers and none of them had much varsity experience. As a group they had trouble finding the zone and when they did throw a strike the Blackduck hitters were ready.

The Drakes offense had 22 hits and benefitted from 17 walks.

Blackduck head coach Dwight Kalvig went to his bench early and every kid on the roster had at least three at-bats.

“I have 13 kids dressed and we played them all,” the coach said. “Our kids came out ready to play and they played hard. During the entire game everybody on both teams respected the game.”

“I’ve been on both sides of games like this,” Wittner said. “We know our program is going to be down for a year or two but the light at the end of the tunnel is our middle school kids. We have some nice players in seventh and eighth grade.

“I’m not disappointed with Thursday’s game,” Wittner continued. “Blackduck played hard like it should have. We played hard like we should have. Sometimes things just happen this way. We’ve been in a rebuilding phase before and this is something programs go through. I have a group of very nice kids on our team. We didn’t put our heads down Thursday and they gave me their best. That’s all I can ask for.”

Blackduck’s attack was led by the four-hit efforts of Dylan Weisert and Shane Fenske. Fenske scored seven runs and drove in seven more. Weisert had four RBI and scored six times.

Jake Peterson contributed three doubles and five RBI while Jake Krabbenoft had three hits and scored six times. Colton Bales also smacked three hits.

Blackduck will continue its season Monday at Cherry and Tuesday at Bagley. The Panthers will travel to Nevis on Monday and will visit Laporte on Thursday.

NOTE: The 43 runs scored is the third most in MSHSL history, according to the MSHSL’s online record book. Greenway scored 50 runs in a 1994 game, the most in state history.

CL-B 0 0 0 0 0 - 1 1 13

Blackduck (15)9(13) 6x - 43 22 2

Fredrickson (L), Humphrey (1), Drouillard (30, Jones (3) and Yates. K-3, BB-17

Weisert (W), Krabbenhoft (3), Nissen (4), Gustafson (5) and Bales. K-10, BB-3

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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