The Forest Lake Brewers were back to swinging hard at home on Monday night against Blaine, but defensive struggles cost the town-ball team a win as they fell 3-2 to the Blaine Fusion.
Manager Adam Gallatin said he thought his team had a solid showing.
“I was pleased with their play,” Gallatin said. “It was a close game and aside from a few mistakes, I thought we played well. We just needed some more hits and didn’t get them.”
Blaine, who leads the Metro Minny League, popped at the plate in the third inning with three singles to drive in a run. They would come back again in the fourth to reach base on a bunt down the third-base line and an infield error to put two runners on. Following a pop fly to the outfield, both runners scored on an overthrow to home plate to make it a 3-0 ball game.
The Brewers responded in the bottom of the inning, when Kyle Young started things off with a single. Jeff Brooks was then hit in the left elbow by a pitch. Drew Cremisino also walked to load the bases and with one out, John Mollner reached first base on a catcher interference call, bringing Young home for the score.
Forest Lake held the Fusion scoreless the remainder of the game and came close to extending play in both the eighth and ninth innings, where they left a total of three runners on base. Overall, the Brewers had seven hits and left 12 runners on base.
Mike Swenson pitched eight innings for Forest Lake, giving up eight hits and just one earned run before Jeff Brooks relieved the right-hander in the ninth inning.
“I thought Mike did fantastic,” Gallatin said. “He’s the kind of pitcher that’s not going to strike out a lot of guys, but he throws strikes and is very effective.”
Gallatin said the team’s focus is getting out of a slight slump in which they have lost three of four games, including a 4-3 loss to the Isanti Redbirds Wednesday, July 10, and a 2-0 loss to Big Lake on Sunday. Forest Lake defeated the Spooner (Wis.) Bandits Friday, July 12, on the road, 11-8.
The Brewers have six regular-season games remaining before post-season play, which is hosted by Forest Lake and begins Friday, Aug. 2 and ends on the 10th with a mid-week break in games Aug. 5-7.
Blaine is the league leader at 11-2 (20-10 overall), followed by Isanti at 11-3 (18-7 overall) and Coon Rapids at 9-4 (18-10 overall). Forest Lake sits in fourth of the 10 town-ball teams with a record of 7-4 in the league and overall record of 14-6.
Forest Lake faces Champlin at 7:30 p.m. at home on Friday before traveling for a 7 p.m. game at Isanti on Sunday, July 21.