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East Ridge baseball: Raptors rally back in seventh, beat Hastings 5-4

An afternoon temperature of 42 degrees and nearly 20 mph winds were not the most hospitable conditions for fans gathered in Woodbury for East Ridge High School's baseball home opener on Monday.

But the Raptors, who hosted fellow Suburban East Conference team Hastings, made it worthwhile.

Down 4-3 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Raptors senior Tommy Wermers hit a line drive to right field, batting in Josh Rollins and Matt Wavra. As Wavra was declared safe at home plate, the game was over: East Ridge collected a 5-4 victory in its first regular-season game of the 2012 season.

"We were very nervous at the start of the game," said Raptors coach Brian Sprout. "It was like two halves of the game: We didn't play well [in the beginning]. Then, in the second half of the game, we found our way and began playing our game."

Hastings capitalized on East Ridge errors in the first two innings, taking a 4-0 lead by the bottom of the second. The Raptors answered in the third after a Lance Durand line drive batted in the home team's first run. The Raptors, however, didn't score again until the sixth inning - a Luke Ringhofer walk and a bobbled Wavra hit eventually created two more runs for the Raptors, but also resulted in Raiders' pitching staff changes.

The Raiders appeared to be poised to expand their lead in the top of the seventh. But with loaded bases and only one out, an East Ridge double play at home plate and first base held the Raiders scoreless in their final at-bat.

Sophomore East Ridge pitcher Drew Molin closed the game after senior Mark Landgrebe pitched the first two innings. The Raptors have a big week, with games scheduled against River Falls, Wis.; White Bear Lake; and Mounds View. Landgrebe is expected to be back on the mound in Friday's home game against Mounds View. That game begins at 4:15 p.m. in Woodbury.