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Patriots edge Aitkin in extra innings

The Pequot Lakes Patriots baseball team, under the direction of new head coach Jon Kostecka, opened the season with a 3-2 extra-inning victory over the visiting Aitkin Gobblers in non-conference action on Friday, April 11.

The Patriots triumphed in the eighth inning on Zach Trottier’s game-winning single after teammate Austin Mesenbrink had tripled. Pequot Lakes did come one out away from a no-hitter combined by three pitchers before the Gobblers scored twice to force extra innings.

The Patriots maintained a 1-0 lead through five innings after they scored in the second inning on back-to-back, two-out doubles by Dalton Rickard and Karl Satterlund. The hosts made it 2-0 in the sixth on an infield single by Josh Buell and a bad-hop single by Mesenbrink and an Aitkin error. Pequot Lakes did leave the bases loaded off Aitkin reliever Jake Lynn.

Jordan Thorson went the first three innings on the mound for the Patriots and didn’t allow a hit while surrendering three walks. Rickard went the next two innings, and also didn’t give up a hit, but did walk two. Pequot Lakes had a no-hitter with Messenbrink taking over on the mound in the sixth. He pitched another hitless inning and then retired the first two batters in the seventh.

Aitkin’s Nathan Ehnstrom and Drew Nordean walked after each hitter faced a full count. A wild pitch moved the runners up when they scored on a seeing-eye ground ball up the middle by Logan Quade for the Gobblers’ first hit.

“It was too bad our three pitchers didn’t get the combined no-hitter, but we did come back a get a big win to start the season,” Kostecka said.

Pequot Lakes went down 1-2-3 in the seventh inning, and then a double play helped the Patriots shut down Aitkin in the top of the eighth.

With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Mesenbrink lined a triple over the center fielder’s head, and Trottier then lined a 2-2 pitch for a walk-off singled to right for a 3-2 victory in front of a large opening-day crowd.

Mesenbrink was the winning pitcher while Lynn took the loss. The Patriots enjoyed a 7-1 edge in hits, but did commit four errors to just one for the Gobblers.

“I thought we played pretty well for it being our first time outside,” Kostecka said. “We really pitched well, and we had some big hits.”

Mesenbrink was 2-for-4 to lead Pequot Lakes, which is scheduled to host Cass Lake-Bena in a doubleheader on Thursday, April 17.