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Superior downs Duluth East

Jed Carlson / Superior’s Justin Reinkall (22) bare hands a ball for an out in the sixth inning of the Spartans win over Duluth East at SHS on Monday afternoon.

Despite temperatures in 30s, pitchers from Superior High School and Duluth East were throwing heat Monday evening at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex.

Fortunately for the Spartans, Justin Reinkall got a little extra help from relief pitcher Gunner Johnson and a game-ending play by a couple of reserve players to defeat the Greyhounds 3-2.

Reinkall, who hit leadoff batter Jack Payette to start the game, held East hitless until the top of the sixth inning. Overall, the senior allowed two hits with five strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter.

“Justin pitched really well,” SHS coach Don Dembroski said. “After hitting the first batter on the first pitch I got a little nervous, but he pitched really well after that.”

With Superior leading 3-1, Johnson took over for Reinkall with one out and runners on first and second base in the seventh inning.

“I won’t say I was nervous, but I did have some goose bumps” Johnson said. “I felt good once I got on the mound.”

Jonathan Sailstad greeted Johnson with a sac bunt that scored Carter Peterson, making the score 3-2. Johnson then walked a batter before second baseman Devin Samarzia made a diving stop on a ball hit up the middle and threw to first, where Michael LaJoie scooped the ball off the turf for the final out of the game.

“At first I thought it was a base hit,” Johnson said. “But Devin made a diving stop, threw it to first and Michael made a nice scoop. It was a good team effort.”

Reinkall was also impressed with the defensive gem, but he said he expects plays like that from his team.

“That was a fantastic play,” Reinkall said. “But we work on individual defense every day, so that was just a routine play for both of them.”

East’s Drew Grindahl was also impressive on the mound, allowing just three hits with six strikeouts, one walk and three hit batters.

“Our hits were very few and far between,” Dembroski said. “But we threw strikes and played better defense than the other team and when you do that it gives you a chance.”

Reinkall also had two of Superior’s hits, including an RBI single. Drake Samarzia had the Spartans’ other hit, an infield single in the fourth inning.

The Spartans took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. C.J. Fortune was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on an error off the bat of Spencer Udeen, who then scored on a single by Reinkall.

Judd Erickson led off Superior’s  bottom half of the second inning getting hit by a pitch. Two batters later he scored on Brandon Wing’s groundout.

East got within 3-1 in the fourth inning when Jake Dubla reached on an error and eventually scored on Mason Elder’s groundout.

Taylor Allen had East’s other hit.

SPARTAN SPIN: The two teams combined for seven errors, including four by East. … Reinkall threw 101 pitches, including 67 for strikes. Grindahl also threw 101 pitchers, including 64 for strikes. … Johnson finished with 13 pitches, including six for strikes. … East won the JV game 6-1. Isaac Rios allowed one unearned run on no hits, two walks and two strikeouts in the first four innings. Austin LeJeune pitched the next two innings, allowing five runs (two earned) on three hits and three walks while striking out one. Wyatt Reed pitched one scoreless inning. The Spartans got two hits from Will Schorr and one by Rios.

Ron Orlandi Invite

The Spartans will host the third annual Orlandi Tournament this weekend.

The tournament opens with Ashland vs. Esko at 4:30 p.m. today, followed by Greenway vs. Superior at 7 p.m.

On Saturday the Spartans play Esko at 10:30 a.m. and Ashland at 5:15 p.m.

The same schedule applies to JV games, which will be played at the Morrie Arnovich Field (Hayes Court Complex).

Duluth East............................ 000      100         1          —   2                      2                      4

Superior.................................. 210      000         x          —   3                      3                      3

3rd Annual Ron Orlandi Spartan Invitational

Friday, April 21

Ashland vs. Esko, 4:30 p.m.

Greenway vs. Superior, 7 p.m.

Saturday, April 22

Esko vs. Superior, 10:30 a.m.

Esko vs. Greenway, 12:45 p.m.

Ashland vs. Greenway, 3 p.m.

Ashland vs. Superior, 5:15 p.m.

NOTE: Varsity games at NBC Spartan Sports Complex. JV games at Morrie Arnovich Field.