By Steve Undseth - Fergus Falls, MN

Wheaton combined 8 hits with 9 stolen bases and took advantage of some shaky defense by Hillcrest to defeat the Comets 8-3 Monday evening at Legion Field at DeLagoon Park in Fergus Falls. Dylan McCalip pitched the first 6 innings for the Warriors to earn the victory, allowing just 3 hits while striking out 5 and walking just one.

The Comets were able to score in just two innings. After Wheaton drew first blood in the top of the third with 3 runs, Hillcrest answered with two of their own. Mark Undseth led off with an infield hit, stole 2nd, moved to 3rd on a wild pitch and scored on Joe Ommundsen's groundout. Devon Apgar was then hit by a pitch, stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored when the catcher threw the ball into left field.

Austin Gray led the way on offense for Wheaton, going 3 for 4 with 5 stolen bases, 2 runs scored and 1 RBI. Mason Lampe had a 2-run single in their big 5-run outburst in the 5th and later stole home for the 4th run of the inning. Tanner Kirkheider's single scored McCalip to finish the scoring for the Warriors.

Hillcrest put together 3 hits off reliever Brandon Staples in the 7th but were only able to score one run. Frankie Sandnes singled to lead off the inning, advanced on a groundout, and scored on Zach Nersten's single. Joe Ommundsen hit one off leftfielder Kevin Coffman's glove, but he was able to recover in time to throw out Nersten at third for the 2nd out and take the edge off another possible cardiac finish by the Comets.

Coach Steve Undseth summed it up this way, "We played sloppy on defense, did not do a good job of holding runners on, and let Wheaton's aggressiveness set the pace. Devon looked really sharp the first two innings, but couldn't continue after a 25-pitch third inning. Kevin Castro did a nice job of shutting things down and getting the last 8 outs, but the damage was already done. Other than Joe Ommundsen, we are still struggling at the plate. When we do hit it well, it's right at someone, however, I'm confident we'll come around. We get another chance tomorrow night."

Hillcrest drops to 3-2 on the season and will travel to Brandon-Evansville for a double header on Tuesday, May 4.