Lakers end season, begin playoffs with wins

by Rachael Paumen
Finishing up the regular season, the Lakers traveled to Winsted on July 27 before starting the playoffs with a game against Delano.   
Lakers vs. Winsted
Going into the game, Maple Lake was in third place in Section 8B and a win would put them in a three-way tie for first. 
The first four innings were slow and did not produce any runs for either team with players being left stranded in each inning.
Riley Decker was able to reach on a base hit in the top of the fifth. Bert Marsnik then made it on on an error before Chad Raiche connected for a single to bring Riley home. Further down the line-up, Cody Decker sent one over the fence for a two-run home run. An out in left ended the Laker portion of the inning on the next play. 
The sixth inning saw only three Laker batters at the plate, with all three being retired by Winsted's defense. In the bottom of that inning, Winsted got to work, bringing three men around to cut the Lakers’ lead to just one at 4-3.
After making it to first in the seventh inning, Riley was batted into scoring position but was left stranded by three consecutive outs. Again Winsted was able to score, this time tying things up.
In the top of the eighth, Cody Decker was able to draw a walk. An error from Winsted’s shortstop advanced Cody and put Jeremy Schmidt on first. Mitch Wurm stood his ground and was hit by a pitch before a sacrifice from Trent Zachmann brought Cody home. Back to the top of the order, Graham Brown connected for a base hit, scoring Schmidt. This was the end of the scoring for Maple Lake but Winsted answered back, adding two more runs to tie things again, this time at six each. 
In his last at-bat, Cody was walked with a full count. Schmidt followed and, with a full count, connected for a base hit. Wurm then kept things moving with his own base hit. With Zachmann at the plate, a passed ball allowed Cody to score what would be the winning run after the Lakers were able to hold Winsted in the bottom of the ninth. Maple Lake finished the game on top, 7-6.
“This was a great team game,” Manager Dale Decker said. “We went over there with 10 guys and had people playing out of position, but a lot of our younger guys stepped up.”
This win put the Lakers in a three-way tie for first with Winsted and St. Michael, with each team going 8-4 in the section. Since each team had also gone 1-1 against the other two, the tie breaker was determined by least runs allowed in head-to-head games. Maple Lake finished in third after allowing 28 runs and was given the three seed. Winsted was awarded first with St. Michael taking the two seed.
AB R H RBI
G. Brown 4 - 1 1
R. Decker 4 1 3 -
B. Marsnik 4 1 1 -
C. Raiche 5 1 1 1
N. Johnson 5 - - -
C. Decker 3 3 3 2
J. Schmidt 5 1 2 -
M. Wurm 4 - 1 -
T. Zachmann 4 - - 1
Lakers vs. Delano
It was the perfect day for a ballgame when Maple Lake hosted Delano for the opening round of playoffs on August 1. 
Jeremy Schmidt and the Laker defense set the tone right away, retiring the first three batters in Delano’s line-up. Graham Brown then got to work for Maple Lake with a lead-off walk. Up next, Riley Decker connected but was thrown out at first before Bert Marsnik was also walked. Chad Raiche continued the Laker charge with a hit to load the bases. Cody Decker stepped up and wasted no time, sending a two-run single at the Delano defense, which scored Brown and Marsnik. A short while later, with the bases loaded yet again, Schmidt watched two go by before connecting for his own two-run base hit.
With a 4-0 lead, Maple Lake went scoreless in the second. Things picked back up in the third, however. Cody led things off with a base hit. Nate Johnson’s sacrifice sent Cody to second before Tyler Decker was able to bring him around. Dusty Decker was then walked but both he and Tyler were left on to end the inning.
Maple Lake went one, two, three in the fourth but made up for it in the fifth, scoring their final two runs of the game. After watching three balls miss the strike zone, Cody watched one more go by and was walked. Johnson sent one to right for an out, bringing Tyler up, who was hit by the pitch. Schmidt came through again with an RBI single before designated hitter Dusty Decker did the same.
The Lakers were scoreless in the final innings of the game, but were able to hold Delano. The A’s threatened to shorten Maple Lake’s lead in the top of the ninth, with the bases loaded, but all were left stranded.
“Getting the first win in the playoffs is a challenge, but once we were able to score it relaxed the players,” Decker said.
Jeremy Schmidt pitched all nine innings for the Lakers, allowing only five hits, no runs and walking just three of the 35 batters he faced. Schmidt also recorded five strike-outs. “This is the time in the year when you like to have your pitcher step up and Jeremy did that,” Decker said. “He had a great game all-around.”
Maple Lake’s 7-0 win pits them against St. Michael at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 7, at Irish Stadium. In regular season play, the Lakers went 1-1 against the Saints, losing on the road 10-3 but winning at home 9-8.
“St. Michael is a very good hitting team so we’re going to have to have our bats going and keep playing like we have been,” Decker said.
AB R H RBI
G. Brown 4 1 - -
R. Decker 5 - 1 -
B. Marsnik 4 1 - -
C. Raiche 4 - 1 -
C. Decker 3 3 3 2
N. Johnson 3 - - -
T. Decker 2 1 1 -
J. Schmidt 3 - 3 3
D. Decker 3 - 1 -
Finishing up the regular season, the Lakers traveled to Winsted on July 27 before starting the playoffs with a game against Delano.   
Lakers vs. Winsted
Going into the game, Maple Lake was in third place in Section 8B and a win would put them in a three-way tie for first. 
The first four innings were slow and did not produce any runs for either team with players being left stranded in each inning.
Riley Decker was able to reach on a base hit in the top of the fifth. Bert Marsnik then made it on on an error before Chad Raiche connected for a single to bring Riley home. Further down the line-up, Cody Decker sent one over the fence for a two-run home run. An out in left ended the Laker portion of the inning on the next play. 
The sixth inning saw only three Laker batters at the plate, with all three being retired by Winsted's defense. In the bottom of that inning, Winsted got to work, bringing three men around to cut the Lakers’ lead to just one at 4-3.
After making it to first in the seventh inning, Riley was batted into scoring position but was left stranded by three consecutive outs. Again Winsted was able to score, this time tying things up.
In the top of the eighth, Cody Decker was able to draw a walk. An error from Winsted’s shortstop advanced Cody and put Jeremy Schmidt on first. Mitch Wurm stood his ground and was hit by a pitch before a sacrifice from Trent Zachmann brought Cody home. Back to the top of the order, Graham Brown connected for a base hit, scoring Schmidt. This was the end of the scoring for Maple Lake but Winsted answered back, adding two more runs to tie things again, this time at six each. 
In his last at-bat, Cody was walked with a full count. Schmidt followed and, with a full count, connected for a base hit. Wurm then kept things moving with his own base hit. With Zachmann at the plate, a passed ball allowed Cody to score what would be the winning run after the Lakers were able to hold Winsted in the bottom of the ninth. Maple Lake finished the game on top, 7-6.
“This was a great team game,” Manager Dale Decker said. “We went over there with 10 guys and had people playing out of position, but a lot of our younger guys stepped up.”
This win put the Lakers in a three-way tie for first with Winsted and St. Michael, with each team going 8-4 in the section. Since each team had also gone 1-1 against the other two, the tie breaker was determined by least runs allowed in head-to-head games. Maple Lake finished in third after allowing 28 runs and was given the three seed. Winsted was awarded first with St. Michael taking the two seed.
Stats appear in this week's Messenger. 
Lakers vs. Delano
It was the perfect day for a ballgame when Maple Lake hosted Delano for the opening round of playoffs on August 1. 
Jeremy Schmidt and the Laker defense set the tone right away, retiring the first three batters in Delano’s line-up. Graham Brown then got to work for Maple Lake with a lead-off walk. Up next, Riley Decker connected but was thrown out at first before Bert Marsnik was also walked. Chad Raiche continued the Laker charge with a hit to load the bases. Cody Decker stepped up and wasted no time, sending a two-run single at the Delano defense, which scored Brown and Marsnik. A short while later, with the bases loaded yet again, Schmidt watched two go by before connecting for his own two-run base hit.
With a 4-0 lead, Maple Lake went scoreless in the second. Things picked back up in the third, however. Cody led things off with a base hit. Nate Johnson’s sacrifice sent Cody to second before Tyler Decker was able to bring him around. Dusty Decker was then walked but both he and Tyler were left on to end the inning.
Maple Lake went one, two, three in the fourth but made up for it in the fifth, scoring their final two runs of the game. After watching three balls miss the strike zone, Cody watched one more go by and was walked. Johnson sent one to right for an out, bringing Tyler up, who was hit by the pitch. Schmidt came through again with an RBI single before designated hitter Dusty Decker did the same.
The Lakers were scoreless in the final innings of the game, but were able to hold Delano. The A’s threatened to shorten Maple Lake’s lead in the top of the ninth, with the bases loaded, but all were left stranded.
“Getting the first win in the playoffs is a challenge, but once we were able to score it relaxed the players,” Decker said.
Jeremy Schmidt pitched all nine innings for the Lakers, allowing only five hits, no runs and walking just three of the 35 batters he faced. Schmidt also recorded five strike-outs. “This is the time in the year when you like to have your pitcher step up and Jeremy did that,” Decker said. “He had a great game all-around.”
Maple Lake’s 7-0 win pits them against St. Michael at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 7, at Irish Stadium. In regular season play, the Lakers went 1-1 against the Saints, losing on the road 10-3 but winning at home 9-8.
“St. Michael is a very good hitting team so we’re going to have to have our bats going and keep playing like we have been,” Decker said.
Stats appear in this week's Messenger.
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