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Woodbury baseball: Rexroth helps Royals rack up 3-game streak

Ben Roxroth's big week helped the Woodbury baseball team win three conference games.

The Royals appeared to turn a corner last week in the Suburban East Conference.

After dropping three straight games - all by one run - Woodbury came back last week and earned three straight conference wins.

"This week I thought we continued with good pitching and good defense, and we added offense to the mix," Woodbury baseball coach Kevin McDermott said.

The latest victory came Friday at Stillwater, where the Royals topped the Ponies 10-3. Woodbury beat Hastings 8-6 on Wednesday and dropped Park 9-2 on April 17.

Woodbury is now 4-3 overall and 3-3 in the SEC. Cretin-Derham Hall leads the conference, with the Royals trailing by three games.

This week marks the first Woodbury home game of the season after the Royals went on the road for six straight games while the team waited for new turf to settle at Royals Stadium, which was recovering from a 2011 Asian beetle infestation.

"I know we'll be excited," McDermott said of Woodbury's return to its home field.

Against Stillwater, the Royals fell behind 2-0 in the first inning, but fought back the next inning, closing the gap at one run.

Then Woodbury stepped on the gas.

The Royals scored four runs in the third inning to take a 5-2 lead. Stillwater would score again in the bottom of the third, but that was all the more scoring the Royals allowed.

Meanwhile, Woodbury continued to score runs - adding three in the fifth and one in the seventh.

McDermott said the newfound offensive attack seems to be coming from a more disciplined hitting approach and a renewed competitive fire.

"I'm seeing good signs," he said.

The Royals, who compiled 18 hits in the game, were led by senior shortstop Ryan Fritze, who was 4-for-5 with two RBI. Junior Quinten Strub also collected four hits in the game, including a double.

Senior catcher Chris Hofacker led the team in RBI with three - all batted in on a bases-clearing double.

A total of five Royals recorded more than one hit in the game.

Senior pitcher Noah Danner earned the complete-game win, striking out three, walking two and allowing one run on four hits.

Senior first baseman Ben Rexroth was the week's offensive leader, going 8-for-11 with five doubles and a home run.

"He was rock solid this week," McDermott said.

Hastings match-up

Woodbury took a 1-0 first-inning lead against Hastings, though the Raiders tied things up in the second.

The Royals used a big third inning to claim a 6-1 lead.

Hastings continued to go blow-to-blow with the Royals, posting five runs of its own in the fifth inning. The Raiders' big inning was keyed by a bases-clearing double with two out.

Woodbury took out starting pitcher Brandon Mazur and brought in Fritze, the team's starting shortstop - and experienced varsity pitcher - who has been called on this season to close out games.

"He got us out of the inning and shut down Hastings the rest of the way," McDermott said.

Woodbury scored the go-ahead run in the sevent after Ben Rexroth batted in Sawyer Moon on his third double of the day. Hofacker batted in the insurance run on a sacrifice fly.

Fritze sent the Raiders down in order in the bottom of the seventh, with two of the outs coming on strikeouts.

Rexroth was the offensive leader, going 3-for-4 with four RBI. Fritze went 2-for-4 against Hastings and scored twice. Moon, Hofacker, Ryan Winter and Tyler Trifiletti all recorded an RBI.

Park game

Against Park, Woodbury grabbed a 2-0 second-inning lead and never looked back.

The Royals advanced the lead to 3-0 in the third before giving back one run in the bottom half of that inning.

Then came another mini offensive eruption.

Woodbury plated five runs in the fourth, giving the Royals an 8-1 lead. Park scored a run in the bottom of the fourth, but that was as close as the Wolfpack would get.

The Royals added their final run in the fifth.

Woodbury's Nate Wallgren pitched a complete game, giving up one earned run and striking out two batters.

Rexroth again led the offensive attack, going 3-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and a double. Fritze, who battled a swollen face after taking a baseball to the nose during warm-ups, was 2-for-3 against Park with one run batted in. Senior Joe Wood collected a triple and batted in a run in the winning effort.

Woodbury completes the first half of its conference schedule this week, playing White Bear Lake today and intradistrict rival East Ridge on Friday.

"It's not going to get any easier," McDermott said.