Brennan Kortuem  coils

Host St. Clair held off a Clipper comeback to escape their field with a 7-4 win over on Thursday in Valley Conference varsity baseball action.

On Saturday, the Clippers lost to host Madelia 13-3. They finally get back on their field for the first time since April 18 when they host perennial power New Ulm Cathedral today (Monday).

Trailing 4-3, the Clippers, designated the home team, tied the Cyclones in the sixth when top-of-the order Blake Lyons hit a two-out single and scored on a Brennan Kortuem double.

The stalemate lasted two innings. St. Clair posted three runs in the 10th before holding the Clippers at bay for the victory.

“We were not putting the ball where we need to put the ball,” said head coach Charlie Haugen. “We eventually started hitting it, but we had more than plenty of opportunities to come out on top, but that is part of learning and growing. I am proud of the way we fought back.”

Taking advantage of a pair of Clipper errors, St Clair put up a run in the first. After three hits, the Cyclones scored two more in the second to lead 3-2 before the Clippers got on the scoreboard with two runs in the third on a walk and a trio of Cyclone errors.

Scoring on a single, a pair of stolen bases and a sacrifice fly, the Cyclones responded right away for a 4-2 advantage in the sixth, but the Clippers responded with a run when Caleb Connor led off with a single, moved to second when Gabe Sullivan walked, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored after tagging up after a Kale Kelley sacrifice fly.   

Kortuem hit a single and a double in the first game with an RBI. Carson Lyons, Connor and Blake Lyons each had singles for five total Clipper hits. They walked three times and whiffed eight times.

Alex Kortuem got the start and lasted for six innings on the hill. He allowed five hits and one walk while striking out five. Relieving his brother, Brennan Kortuem walked to and struck out three. He allowed no hits or runs.

Pitching the last three innings, Carson Lyons permitted one hit and walked four and struck out four. All three runs the Cyclones scored in his tenure were unearned.  

Each team committed five errors.

Right after the loss, which was a game originally scheduled to be played in Cleveland on April 16 but was rained out, the Clippers got the merry-go-round spinning for a dozen runs to the St. Clair’s three, but the contest ended after three innings due to darkness.

“It was basically an exhibition,” said Haugen. “We’ll count it in our heads. It was a good three innings for us. We haven’t had a game for a couple of weeks, so it was nice to get some reps and see some live pitching and get back to the game we know.”

Madelia 13, Cleveland 3

In Madelia the following Saturday, the Clippers got on the board in the top of the first when Blake Lyons got hit by a pitch and crossed the plate when Brennan Kortuem followed up with a double.

But scoring 11 runs in the bottom of the first, the Blackhawks wasted no time taking control and 10-runned the Clippers in five.

With three singles, Carson Lyons was perfect at the plate. Kyle Connor hit two singles. Braeden Smith and Alex Kortuem each swung for a single. Brennan Kortuem had a double. The Clippers walked twice, got beaned three times and struck out five times.

Brennan Kortuem hurled the first nine batters for a third of an inning. He gave up three hits and five walks for seven earned runs and one unearned run while striking out one.

In relief, Blake Lyons threw an inning and two thirds. The Cyclones hit him three times and walked twice and struck out twice. Sullivan pitched the fourth inning. He allowed two hits and no walks.

Madelia had zero errors. The Clippers suffered four errors.

Cleveland 15, MCW 4

On April 23 in Welcome, the Clippers walloped Martin County West 15-4 in five innings.

Jumping on pitches, the Clippers took advantage of seven errors and 15 hits and only walked once.

Four for four at the dish, Brennan Kortuem connected for three singles and a triple. Carson Lyons went 3-4 with a single, a double and a triple for four RBIs. Kyle Connor, Smith and Alex Kortuem each dispatched a pair of singles. Brady Bostic and Blake Lyons each had one single.

The Clippers struck out eight times.

Alex Kortuem started on the hill and gave up one hit, a double, three walks and two earned runs, both in the second, while beaning one and fanning five. Smith tossed the bottom of the fifth and allowed one hit, one walk for two runs while striking out three. Fielding was perfect behind both pitchers.

The Maverick’s two runs in the second came on a walk and RBI double with an extra base on the throw. The second run came in after a walk and a double steal. Their pair of runs in the fifth came after a walk, a single, and a passed ball that allowed both runners home.

The Clippers took the lead in the first when Brennan Kortuem beat out an infield single, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball and scored on an error. Courtesy running for Sullivan, Bode Bartell stoke second and third and scored on a Smith sacrifice line drive to left field.

GHEC/T/ML 11, Cleveland 10

Two days later, the Clippers lost heartbreaker in Truman to Granada-Huntley-East Chain/Truman/Martin Luther.

With a Sullivan walk, a Kelley single, an Alex Kortuem double, a Carson Lyons single, a Blake Lyons walk, a Brennan Kortuem single and a Caleb Connor single, the Clippers scored six runs in the second for a 6-0 lead.

But the Jaguars picked their way back with a run in the third, four runs in the fourth and two runs in each the fifth and sixth to deadlock the game 9-9 after the Clippers scored three runs in the sixth on an Alex Kortuem walk, back-to-back doubles off the bats of Brennan Kortuem and Caleb Connor and a Sullivan RBI single.

Neither team scored in the eighth or ninth, and the Clippers got into the driver’s seat in the ninth with a run.

Kelley got hit by a pitch and moved to second when Kyle Connor singled to left field. With an Alex Kortuem single, the Clippers juiced the bases for Carson Lyons, but Kelley got forced out at home on the short hit.

The scenario repeated with Blake Lyons at the plate, and Kyle Connor was forced out at home. But finally, Brennan Kortuem snuck a hit by the third baseman to score his brother. The Clippers left three stranded after a groundout but had the lead.

It wasn’t enough though as the Jags walked off with the triumph after a walk, a hit batter, another walk, an RBI single and a sacrifice fly with one out.  

“The boys battled their tails off from start to finish,” Haugen said. “They stuck with it and never gave up. I’m super proud of the way we competed against one of the top teams in the conference. It just came down to a few plays getting away from us. We hit the ball well and kept the pressure on them the whole game.”

The Clippers walked six times, struck out five times and distributed 17 hits. Brennan Kortuem hit two singles and a double in the effort for three RBIs. Carson Lyons had three singles. Caleb Connor swung for a double and a single. Kelley had two singles. Kyle Connor, Smith, Sullivan and Blake Lyons each had a single.

Brennan Kortuem started on the mound. He allowed two hits and six walks and hit one batter for one earned run. He struck out four.

Blake Lyons took over in the fourth and pitched two innings. He gave up seven hits, one walk and struck out one. The Jaguars scored six runs, four of them earned on his watch. Caleb Connor came in to start the sixth. He allowed four hits and seven walks and hit one batter for three earned runs and one unearned run while striking out three.

The Clippers committed four errors, two more than the Jags.

“We continue to get better and prove to everyone just what we are made of,” Haugen said.  “I love this group of guys and can’t wait to see where they take us.”

Above: Shortstop Brennan Kortuem makes a throw to first during the loss at St. Clair. Beside him is third baseman Blake Lyons. Braeden SmithBraeden Smith slides into second during the partial game at St. Clair.