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Wolverines blank Pillager at US Bank Stadium

Jake Dykhoff delivered at the plate and on the mound, helping the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines to a 1-0 victory over Pillager at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on April 18.

“It was a well played baseball game,” Wadena-Deer Creek head coach Kyle Dykhoff said. “Anytime you play just over an hour is fun baseball.”

Dykhoff outlasted Pillager’s Chris Ringler in earning the victory. Both pitchers went the distance, combining to allow nine hits.

Ringler pitched to contact, allowing just three hits. He didn’t strike out or walk a batter in the quick contest.

Dykhoff pitched seven strong innings, allowing six hits while striking out nine batters. He walked one in his complete game effort. Dykhoff was around the strike zone all game long, throwing 67 of his 95 pitches for strikes.

“He worked well and was able to pitch out of a few jams in the innings that they got a few hits,” Kyle Dykhoff said. “We made a couple of key plays defensively to limit the runs for Pillager.”

With Jake Dykhoff on the hill, the defense has to be prepared to make plays, which they did, playing error free ball in the win.

“They know he is going to throw strikes and they played well behind him,” Kyle Dykhoff said. “They have to be ready when a team puts the ball in play.”

Pillager threatened in the third and fourth innings, but the veteran Dykhoff worked out of trouble. In the fourth, Pillager stranded the bases full when Dykhoff induced a fly ball to first. Pillager had runners at second and third with one out, before Dykhoff escaped the jam. Pillager put runners on first and second in the fourth inning, but could not advance with Dykhoff recording two of his nine strikeouts, ending the threat.

The Wolverines rallied in the fourth inning, picking up two of their three hits. Max Phillips led off with a double down the right field line. He came around to score when Dykhoff followed with an RBI single, scoring the game’s only run.

“When you only have three hits in a game, we were fortunate enough to string two of them into the same inning to get that run across,” Kyle Dykhoff said. “Fortunately, one run was enough.”

Ringler pitched to contact and relied on his defense in the game. He was efficient on the mound, throwing just 48 pitches, 37 of them for strikes.

“Ringler threw a lot of strikes. He worked efficiently and pitched to contact,” Kyle Dykhoff said. “Their defense played well for the most part behind him. It’s tough to score runs when they are playing well defensively.”

Preston Warren had the other hit in the game for the Wolverines, which was the team’s first hit in U.S. Bank Stadium. Kyle Dykhoff said the kids were in awe of the sheer size of the stadium.

“It was a lot of fun to take in the venue,” Kyle Dykhoff said. “When it comes down to it, we were just playing another baseball game. They had fun and took it all in.”

The Wolverines improve their season mark to 5-2 overall. They return to action on Friday, April 21 for their home opener when they take on Parkers Prairie at 4:30 p.m.

Pillager 0 6 4

WDC     1 2 0

WP: Jake Dykhoff

LP: Chris Ringler

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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