Spartans ‘Wing’ it in win over Rails
Brandon Wing used his arm and bat to lead the Superior High School baseball team to a 4-3 win over the Proctor Rails Tuesday evening at the NBC Spartan Sports Complex.
Not only was Wing the winning pitcher, allowing two hits in five scoreless innings with four strikeouts and two walks, but he also knocked in the eventual game-winning run with an infield RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“I’m just trying to go out there and give it all for the team,” Wing said. “I just want to do what I can to put my team in the best position to win games.”
Justin Reinkall, who along with Wing were one batter away from pitching a perfect game against Marshall last week, worked out of jams in the sixth and seventh innings to pick up the save.
Reinkall struck out two batters in a sixth inning that included two Spartan errors.
The Rails then made things interesting by scoring three runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Reinkall struck out two of the first four batters he faced in the seventh, but a bases-loaded walk and a two-run double by John Aase brought the Rails within 4-3.
Reinkall walked another batter to load the bases, but then got a ground out for the final out of the game.
“Justin wasn’t his sharpest today, but give him credit, he definitely had to clutch up at the end,” SHS coach Don Dembroski said. “Errors can take a guy out of his rhythm, but he clutched up at the very end when it could have gone either way.”
Reinkall threw 53 pitches over the final two innings after Wing threw just 64 pitches over the first five innings.
“The errors forced him to throw a lot of extra pitches,” Dembroski said. “Fifty-three pitches are a lot for two innings. He was working hard, and was breathing pretty hard, when I went to talk to him in the seventh inning.”
Gunner Johnson had one of Superior’s three hits, a two-run single in the second inning.
After Wing walked and Judd Erickson reached on an error, both scored on Johnson’s single to right.
“We didn’t have a lot of hits, but they were timely,” Dembroski said. “Gunner got us off to a good start early and Wing was really good on the mound today. This was the furthest he’s pitched. He’s gone three and four innings before and today we got him into the fifth inning.
“He also had good control and good movement, he kept those guys off balance.”
The Spartans took a 3-0 lead in the third when Ben Rhodes reached on an error, hustled to third on Dominic D’Auria’s sac bunt, and scored on Reinkall’s sac fly.
The Spartans’ final hit was D’Auria’s lead-off infield single in the sixth inning.
D’Auria went on to steal second, moved to third on Drake Samarzia’s ground out, and scored the winning run when Wing beat out his grounder between third and short.
“I was just trying to put ball in play,” Wing said. “I haven’t been hitting the ball that well of late so I’ve been just trying to get my contact down. On that at bat, I just put it in play and when you do that good things can happen.”
Mason Flick took the loss for the Rails, allowing three hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
With the win the Spartans improve to 6-7 overall and 4-0 in the Lake Superior Conference.
“This was a big four-point conference win and keeps us in first place,” Dembroski said. “That was one of our early-season goals — trying to win the conference.”
The Spartans have three LSC games remaining — a home doubleheader with Ashland on Tuesday and at Hermantown on May 23.
Up next for Superior is a home doubleheader with Eau Claire Memorial at 11 a.m. Saturday.
SPARTAN SPIN: The Spartan JV defeated Proctor 9-8 with the winning run coming in the seventh inning. Jakob Holmlund led off with a single, stole second and scored the winning run on Tristian Nolan’s single. Austin LeJeune pitched the first four innings, allowing one run on two hits and striking out five. Nolan pitched two scoreless innings for the win. The Spartans had 15 hits, led by Isaac Rios’ triple and two singles. Will Schorr, Joe Barker, Mason Moen and Nolan added two hits apiece.
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