DOLLAR BAY - Baseball chatter from the dugout and field tends to revolve around the same theme.
"Put it in there." "Make him get it across the plate." "He has got to come to you now."
In other words, throwing strikes.
Mark Nordstrom delivers for BlueSky Health during Tuesday’s Twilight League game against Pat’s Foods at Dollar Bay. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)
The chance to hit - and then run and then field - are all dependent on the pitcher's ability to put the ball through the strike zone. And when one pitcher manages that feat, and the other struggles, the results can be rather predictable.
BlueSky Health knocked off Pat's Foods 10-6 Tuesday night after BSH drew 10 walks (eight in the first four innings courtesy of starter CJ Lepisto) and opened the game with a five-run first inning.
Conversely, BlueSky starter Mark Nordstrom didn't give up a base on balls until the sixth inning - and then walked three in the seventh where Pat's enjoyed a three-run mini-rally.
Pat's 2000013 - 6 8 3
BSH 01301x - 10 9 0
WP: Mark Nordstrom, 7 IP, 6 R, 8 H, 4 K, 4 BB
LP: CJ Lepisto, 3 2/3 IP, 9 R, 7 H, 2 K, 8 BB
Pat's Foods: Chris Nielsen, 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, 2 runs
BlueSky Health: Chase Sturos, 1-for-2, 3B, 2 BB, 4 runs; Ray Wojtala, 2-for-3; 2B, 4 RBI.
"We drew some walks and then we got those timely hits to help us out," BlueSky Health manager Jason Koski said. "But we drew a lot of walks and that really helps. Because then each hit you get someone is on base from the walks."
Pat's opened the game with a two-run first frame, with an RBI double from Chris Nielsen and RBI single from Clint Heikkala.
But BSH responded with the first seven men in the order reaching base safely - three via the free pass - and took advantage of two outfield errors to plate five runs.
Spotted a three-run lead, Nordstrom retired the next six hitters he faced and cruised until the seventh inning. He induced nine infield pop-ups for the game.
"It definitely helps as a pitcher when you have a little lead to work with," Koski said.
"You can relax out on the mound. I think the biggest thing is the change of speed. He was catching guys off guard with his changeup."
BlueSky Health scored three more in the fourth inning, with every man on base coming with two outs. BlueSky hitters drew four walks in the frame and first baseman Ray Wojtala (four RBIs on the day) drove in a pair with a sharp single to left field.
Chase Sturos tacked on one more run in the sixth with a lead-off triple, coming home on Wojtala's sacrifice fly to center.
Nordstrom tired over the final two innings, giving up three hits and four walks in the final two frames, but had enough left in the tank to close out the complete-game victory with a strikeout.
"He got a little tired, with the few walks, but I didn't want to pull him out, I wanted to let him finish the job," Koski said. "But if the last guy got on I think he was coming off."
The win moves BSH to 3-4 and drops Pat's to 2-4. BlueSky Health will host Mosquito Inn/Computer Mechanix Thursday and Pat's will take on Stanton.
"It was nice to get a win, especially after that last game against Stanton where we really struggled, it was nice to get a win tonight," Koski said.