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Baseball: Raptors scrap out a win vs. Roseville

East Ridge shortstop Max Gamm makes a diving attempt at a ground ball during Wednesday's game against Roseville. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
East Ridge second baseman Ty Okada puts a tag on a Roseville runner as he steals a base Wednesday. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
East Ridge’s Charlie Larson puts down a bunt during the third inning of Wednesday’s game. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

It wasn't pretty, but the East Ridge baseball team was able to hold its position in third place in the Suburban East Conference standings with a win against Roseville on Wednesday.

Mistakes made the home 8-6 victory an adventure for the Raptors. East Ridge trailed 6-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning its lineup was able to strike for four runs. The biggest hit came off the bat of Charlie Larson, a two-run single that scored Joe Trollen and Max Gamm.

Afterward, Larson explained how it was another win for the team he and his teammates affectionately call the 'Scraptors.'

"It's been since VFW, basically," Larson said. "We call ourselves the Scraptors because we scrap out dubs. That's what we do."

Both starting pitchers were chased from the game by the start of the fifth inning. Roseville trailed most of that time until a three-run home run by Andrew Truong put the Raiders ahead 5-4 in the fourth.

Roseville scored another run in the top of the fifth to take a 6-4 lead.

But the Raptors were able to battle back even after runners were tagged out trying to advance on three separate occasions Wednesday.

The sixth-inning rally was helped by an improved mindset at the plate, plus a little luck from an inning-extending error with two outs.

"If you saw earlier in the game we had an approach where we were coming up there and trying to see the ball and drive it," said Ty Okada, who finished with two doubles. "We kind of got away from that approach and started swinging at strikes that weren't necessary. I think what helped towards the end of the game is coming back to our original approach at the plate."

Cam Hunter, Larson and Okada each collected two hits in the game for the Raptors. Brendan McKevitt and Trollen each scored two runs at the top of the batting order.

The win improved East Ridge to 8-5 in conference play this season, third behind 10-2 Stillwater and 8-4 Forest Lake.

This year's improvement might have been a bit of a surprise for some after East Ridge finished 7-9 in the SEC last year. Coming into this season with a team that has young players, many did not know where they would end up in the standings.

"We didn't come in with too many expectations," Larson said. "All we want to do is just come out here, compete and have fun."

With off days coming up the rest of this week, the Raptors have just three more games left in the regular season. Next week, they will play Cretin-Derham Hall, Park and Forest Lake to wrap up the season.

Then the Class 4A, Section 3 playoffs will start at the end of May. Considering the players had not set sky-high expectations before the season, they just hope to keep playing the type of baseball that allowed them to build an overall record of 12-5.

"I just expected that we came out and played hard," Okada said about his mindset before the start of the season. "And that's what we're doing so far. So far, it is working out in our favor, and that's what I like to see."

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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