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DAIRYLAND LEAGUE SMALL DIVISION - Rib Lake knocks off River Bandits, 5-3


Defense mattered Sunday with the Rib Lake Osprey scoring twice on errors and saving the game with two defensive gems in the bottom of the ninth inning in a 5-3 win at Pittsville in Dairyland League Small Division play.

Steve Mann added a key two-run triple as the Osprey improved to 2-0 in the division and knocked the River Bandits down to 1-1. This was the only Small Division game played over the weekend.

Austin Edwards picked up the win with 8.1 strong innings on the mound. The left-hander allowed eight hits and three earned runs while striking out nine. He walked three and hit one.

Up 5-2 going into the bottom of the ninth, Edwards got a groundout but then hit Logan Zickert with a pitch and Dawson Luther doubled to the gap in right-center to score Zickert. Jeff Ziembo relieved Edwards and the first hitter he faced, Dylan Luther, reached on an error to put runners at the corners. Mann, playing third base, made up for that error making a nice over the shoulder catch of a looper into shallow left to rob Ben Friday of a potential RBI single.

The River Bandits then gambled and lost by attempting a double steal. Second baseman Joe Frombach cut off a throw from catcher Bryant Konieczny and threw the ball right back to Konieczny to nab Dawson Luther on a bang-bang play at the plate for the game’s final out.

The Osprey had the edge in base runners, collecting eight hits and drawing nine walks. They left two runners on in each of the first two innings and then got on the board in the top of the third when an errant relay throw on a potential inning-ending double play got away, allowing Ziembo to score. Ziembo led Rib Lake’s offense by going three for four and drawing a walk.

In the fifth, Ziembo drew his walk with one out, Konieczny singled and Mann followed with a single up the middle that was misplayed, allowing Ziembo to score.

In the seventh, Ziembo singled and Konieczny walked, ending the day for Pittsville’s starting pitcher Evan Haley. Mann greeted reliever Sam Schwanebeck with his triple to deep leftfield to make it 4-0.

The River Bandits cut that margin in half in the bottom of the seventh one-out RBI singles by Zickert and Dawson Luther, but Edward ended the threat there with a comebacker and a strikeout.

Joe Frombach’s sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth gave Rib Lake a key insurance run.

Konieczny was two for three with a double and two walks and Mann was two for five. Dawson Luther was two for four with two RBIs for Pittsville. Haley was charged with the loss, allowing six hits and four runs, two of which were earned in six-plus innings. He struck out two, walked five and hit one.

Rib Lake hosts the Medford Moondogs in its next league game. Originally scheduled for Friday, that game has been pushed back to Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Also in the division, Westboro is at Tomahawk Saturday at 6 p.m. and Interwald, which had to postpone its Sunday game with Tomahawk, is at Spirit this Sunday at 1:30 p.m.