The Grand Rapids baseball team came up just short of completing a late rally, falling to Duluth Denfeld, 6-5, in the Section 7AAA tournament in Princeton Saturday.

The Thunderhawks opened up an early 4-0 lead after the first inning, however the Hunters scored three runs in the third inning, then added three more in the sixth inning to take the lead.

Grand Rapids would get a run across in the bottom of the sixth. They loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but a line-out double play ended the game.

The Thunderhawks’ strong start to the game opened with a leadoff single from Gideon Beck. Grant Anderson singled, then Owen Linder reached on a throwing error which allowed Beck and Anderson to score. Collin Dibb reached on a bunt, Wyatt Zuehlke followed with an RBI single, then Alex McBride connected on a single to drive in the Thunderhawks’ fourth runs.

Denfeld pitcher Matt Rukavina settled down from there, shutting the Thunderhawks down until their run in the sixth inning.

The Hunters comeback in the third inning started with a leadoff double, followed by a walk. Thunderhawks pitcher Alex McBride was able to strike out the next batter, however another walk loaded the bases. A catcher interference called on Grand Rapids led to Denfeld’s first run. Rukavina helped his cause with a two-RBI double to cut the lead to 4-3.

In the sixth inning, the Hunters put a runner on with a walk, then Eric Gibson connected on a two-run home run to put Denfeld on top, 5-4. The Hunters put two more runners on before Joe Udd knocked in a run with a single to extend Denfeld’s lead to 5-4.

In the bottom of the sixth, Jack Peart walked to leadoff the inning. Wyatt Zuehlke reached on a fielder’s choice and Wyatt Holcomb singled to put two runners on. Grand Rapids brought in Beau Winkler to pinch-hit and he delivered an RBI single with two outs to make it a one-run game.

The Thunderhawks’ threat in the seventh inning started with a back-to-back singles from Anderson and Linder. Collin Dibb reached on a fielder’s choice, then Peart walked to load the bases with one-out. The game ended when Zuehlke lined a hard-hit ball which doubled up the runner on second for the double play.

Grand Rapids played the winner of Chisago Lakes/Hermantown Tuesday in Princeton.


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