By BRAD SALMEN
WATERTOWN – The Dassel-Cokato baseball team opened the season with a heartbreaking 3-2 loss on the road to Watertown-Mayer.
The Chargers trailed 1-0 heading into the top of the seventh, but a Jackson Martin two-run homer lifted DC to a 2-1 lead.
For a moment, it looked like that would be enough for starting pitcher Collin Krick. Krick had a tremendous game, striking out 11 and walking zero in his first start of the year.
And indeed, Krick got the first two outs of the bottom of the seventh, and appeared to have a third, but a pop fly was dropped, allowing Cale Wabbe to reach first.
Devyn Burns followed with a single, and Tanner Hilten hit a walkoff single to score both Wabbe and Burns and give the Royals the 3-2 win.
DC head coach Cole Flick said he was pleased with Krick’s performance on the hill.
“We can’t ask for anything more from a pitcher. Collin was dialed in all game,” Flick said. “He and [catcher Austin Kantola] were on the same page throughout the game. Watertown had one solid hit all game, and a few well placed balls. If we get that kind of performance out of our pitchers, we’ll be in great shape.
Offensively, however, the team struggled, said Flick. The Chargers struck out 13 times, including 11 from starting pitcher Ansen Dulas.
“We could chalk it up to the first game, but when it comes down to it, we need to put the ball in play,” said Flick. “Eight times we struck out looking. This will get better.”
All-in-all, it was an exciting way to start the season, even if the ending didn’t go the way the Chargers hoped.
“It was a well-played game. Both teams kept fighting,” Flick said. “The game had the excitement of us taking the lead, and it was disappointing to lose in the seventh, but it’s one of 20 games and we don’t put much stock in it.”