Late rally falls short for Chiefs in Game 1

When it comes to trailing in baseball, all a team can hope for is to bring the tying run to the plate. Though that scenario played out in the first game of a doubleheader between Sparta and Winona Chiefs amateur baseball team at Gabrych Prk on Saturday, the Chiefs still lost 4-1.

A Josh Knoll two-run home run in the second inning and a two-run sixth had put Winona (9-6) behind by that 4-1 score heading into its last at-bat.

The Chiefs stranded at least one baserunner in six of seven innings, but it was the seventh and final frame that was most difficult to digest.

Chris Pettit led off with a single, then after two quick outs, John DeMarais picked up Winona’s second single of the inning to bring said tying run to the plate. And it could not have been a better batter for the Chiefs than club RBI-leader Zach Benson. Though there would be no theatrics, Benson did work a walk to bring the potential winning run to the dish.

Veteran Brett Schmit faced off against Scott Bahr, who had not given up an earned run on the season, but popped up to short right field to end Winona’s rally and earn Sparta (23-5) its twelfth consecutive victory.

All told, the Chiefs left nine runners on base, five of which were stranded by Schmit, though they did have some strong offensive performances.

Jay Stensgard was 2-for-4 with a double and Owen Burnikel finished 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.

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