Gavin Taylor (24) of DeLaSalle gets to base just ahead of Fridley's Andrew Buirge (44) stretch. Taylor began what would end up being a nine-run inning for the Islanders. Photo by Chris Juhn, SportsEngine
The DeLaSalle baseball team has a motto.
“Thread the needle, that’s our thing,” said Islanders coach Douge Schildgen. “We stay ultimately focused on every single pitch. We try to win every single pitch. And doing that requires the type of focus it takes to thread a needle.”
Though Schildgen’s team fell behind by three runs early in Friday night’s contest, their perseverance was on full display as the Islanders players kept their concentration and chipped at the deficit until it was gone.
“The kids have bought in and you’re seeing the results,” said Schildgen.
On Friday, DeLaSalle came from behind to upend previously-undefeated Fridley 10-5 at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis. The Islanders (4-2, 1-2) overtook the Tigers during a nine-run, eight-hit third inning in which they sent 14 batters to the plate.
At the start, however, the contest appeared to be heading Fridley’s way. The Tigers snagged three unearned runs in the second inning when the rough and tumble Parade infield dirt caused several balls to take last-minute bounces away from the DeLaSalle gloves.
Thanks to spotty defense and field conditions, the Islanders trailed after two innings of play. The third frame, however, was decidedly different.
The stanza began when DeLaSalle third baseman Sam McNosky reached on an error and center fielder Gavin Taylor beat out a bunt for an infield single.
In fact, each and every one of DeLaSalle’s 11 hits on the night were singles.
“That’s who we are,” said Schildgen. “We’re going to have to bunt and hit-and-run. We’re going to have to come up with two-out hits. But we talk a lot about sticking to the process and things will work out if we stay to that.”
After Leo Pfarr grounded to short, the next four Islanders batters all reached base on the strength of three singles and a walk. DeLaSalle cranked out hit after hit after hit, amassing eight total hits and nine runs in the bottom of the third.
Ultimately, the Islanders created an insurmountable advantage. Each side would strike for one more run—DeLaSalle in the fourth and Fridley in the seventh—but both scores proved to be inconsequential.
Despite some early hiccups, the Islanders’ starting pitcher, junior left-hander Leo Pfarr, won the ballgame. The southpaw threw 91 pitches across five innings, allowing one earned run (four total) on five hits while walking two and striking out four.
“The biggest thing that makes me proud of him is that he didn’t lose his composure after getting down three,” Schildgen said of his pitcher. “Maybe it wasn’t his fault [we were losing] but he kept battling and kept us in the game.”
Pfarr’s counterpart, Fridley’s Noah Couwenhoven, fared much differently. Couwenhoven pitched well to start the ballgame, posting two scoreless innings, but unraveled shortly thereafter. He needed 44 pitches to get through two outs in the marathon third.
Ultimately, Couwenhoven was tagged for nine runs (seven earned), eight hits, and three walks in 2.2 innings. He struck out three.
All nine members of DeLaSalle’s starting lineup reached base. Eight picked up hits.
“We’ve got a great core of young baseball players,” said Schildgen. “It’s one of the best groups DeLaSalle has had in a long time.”
Pfarr helped himself at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBI. Second baseman Charlie Rubendall and first baseman Joe Parentau also recorded multiple hits.
Rubendall relieved Pfarr and allowed just one run on two hits while racking up two strikeouts in his two innings of work.
For Fridley (7-1, 2-1), who was ranked No. 12 in Class 3A in the Associated Press poll heading into Friday’s contest, Nate Soto picked up three hits in four chances, stealing three bases and scoring a pair of runs. Couwenhoven also recorded a pair of base hits.
Despite the early struggles, the Islanders staff feels their team is headed in the right direction after a losing season in 2016. Friday’s game showed a level of fortitude previously unseen in this young squad.
“We’ve lost some real tough games the last couple days so it meant a lot to us to win one like we did tonight,” said Schildgen. “These guys really put in the work and we’re just sticking to the process.”
That process yielded a conference win for DeLaSalle, who won just five Tri-Metro games last year.
“We’re trying to win all the games within the game,” said Schildgen. “Each pitch is an opportunity. The kids are buying in and that’s what we’re rolling with."
DeLaSalle pitcher Leo Pfarr threw five innings and gave up only one earned run in the Islanders' 10-5 win. Photo by Chris Juhn, SportsEngine
DeLaSalle erupted for nine runs in the third inning and beat Fridley 10-5 on Friday night at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis.
The Islanders (4-3, 1-2) sent 14 batters to the plate in the decisive frame and all but two of them reached base. DeLaSalle totaled eight of its 11 hits in the third inning.
Junior left-hander Leo Pfarr recorded the win for DeLaSalle, hurling five innings and allowing just one earned run on five hits while striking out four. Pfarr also helped himself at the plate, batting 2-for-4 with two RBI.
Eight DeLaSalle batters recorded hits and all nine reached base safely.
Junior southpaw Noah Couwenhoven started and took the loss for Fridley (7-1, 2-1). He didn’t make it out of the third inning and allowed nine runs on eight hits.
Fridley left fielder Nate Soto was 3-for-4 at the plate, scoring twice and stealing three bases. Couwenhoven also had a pair of hits.
The DeLaSalle bench cheers as Joe Parenteau (3), Sam Kulesa (4), and Gavin Taylor (24) score runs in a nine-run third third inning. The Islanders beat Fridley 10-5. Photos by Chris Juhn, SportsEngine
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