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Baseball: Meyer, Royals beat Park to tie season series

Woodbury’s Max Meyer throws a pitch during the second inning of Friday’s game at Park High School. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Park second baseman Jason Greeder throws to first base to record an out. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
Woodbury second baseman Brodie Paulson throws to first base to complete a double play in the bottom of the fifth inning. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

Friday's game between Park and Woodbury had the look of a pitcher's duel.

With the Wolfpack's Brandon Alt facing off with the Royals' Max Meyer, a low-scoring game appeared to be a safe bet.

And for the most part, it was. Woodbury scored all of its runs on two different two-out extra base hits in a 5-0 Suburban East Conference victory over Park on Friday. Meyer was at his ace form once again, pitching a complete-game and allowing only two hits with seven strikeouts.

"I like throwing on warm days," Meyer said. "Everything seems like it is going faster."

Woodbury got its scoring started on a two-run home run in the top of the third inning by Ronnie Sweeny. Meyer reached base with two outs on a single, and the home run in the next at-bat gave the Royals an early 2-0 lead.

"It was a good fastball, outer half of the plate," recalled Sweeny, who now has three home runs on the season. "That's what I was expecting, is for him to try to overpower me like he has in the past. I was ready for it, and I jumped at it and hit it."

Meyer also helped himself out with a two-out, bases loaded double that scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning. With Woodbury holding a 5-0 lead, Meyer was able to set down the final six batters in a row to end the game.

The Royals got a little bit of revenge with Friday's victory after Alt threw a no-hitter in a previous meeting between the two teams in a 1-0 Park win on April 21.

This time, with Meyer on the mound, the Royals did not trail the entire time.

"We knew that Max was going to give us a chance, and it just came down to fighting a little bit more and grinding a little bit more," head coach Kevin McDermott said. "Last time we faced Alt, we didn't do that as well as we would have liked to."

Jordan Strand and Austin Strantz picked up Park's two hits on Friday, both in the bottom of the fourth inning.

The offense has at times been a problem for the Wolfpack lineup this season. But on Friday, they knew a challenge was coming with a future University of Minnesota player on the mound.

"It ebbs and flows," head coach John McGowan said about the offense. "Decent pitching and decent defense, if we can just bring our bats every day. But again, that's a D-1 pitcher we just faced."

The Woodbury baseball team improved to a season record of 9-8 and a SEC mark of 5-8 with Friday's win. The Royals had set some large goals before the start of this season after taking third place in the Class 4A state baseball tournament last spring.

However, after struggling through a stretch of the season that included four losses in five games, Woodbury feels like it is starting to play better baseball.

"Finally we just said, 'Alright, we're not going to get the record that we want, but we can still play the way we want and grind the way we want,'" McDermott recalled about the improved stretch of baseball. "It comes down to getting ready for the playoffs. I think we're starting to see some signs of our offense coming a little bit, and we've just got to keep building towards the playoffs."

Park dropped to an overall record of 10-7 and a conference mark of 6-7.