By Shawn DeWitt
Playing three road games last week, the Elk Mound baseball team went 1-2 in those contests including a split of its Dunn-St. Croix Conference games.
Ironically, both losses came at the hands of two prides of Panthers.
Elk Mound, which came into last week with a 2-1 mark, closed out the month of April with a painful 11-1 setback to the current conference leader from Durand. The Panthers are 4-0 in the D-SC and 8-1 overall.
Elk Mound did bounce back to take a 7-2 win in Boyceville last Thursday thanks to the hitting and pitching of Ethan Kjellberg. The senior had three hits including a three-run homer and pitched six solid innings to get the mound victory over a talented and senior-laden Bulldogs’ squad.
The Mounders looked to keep that momentum going when they traveled west to Hammond the following day to face former conference foe and now Middle Border member St. Croix Central.
Unfortunately, Elk Mound fell behind nine to nothing before trying to rally in the later innings only to fall short in a 16-10 loss to the Panthers.
Elk Mound, 3-3 and 2-1 in conference, played in Plum City Monday and hosted Mondovi yesterday. The Mounders will play in Prescott this Friday and have a doubleheader in Colfax against the rival Vikings next Monday, May 14 and got to Wakanda Park in Menomonie to play the Mustangs.
Elk Mound fell behind host Durand early in the much anticipated April 30 showdown of last year’s large division co-champions.
Durand jumped to a 11-0 lead with a run in the first, three in the second, five in the third and a pair of scores in the fourth.
Elk Mound managed to score just a fifth-inning run as Durand pitcher Josh Biesterveld held them to just two hits and that single run in four and a third innings of work. Brett Pelke came in to get the final two outs in the Mounder fifth to close out the contest, 11-1.
Biesterveld also went 3-for-3 on offense with a pair of triples and four RBIs. Christian O’Keefe also had two hits as Durand tallied eight total.
In the fifth, Nate Lew singled and scored on an Ethan Kjellberg RBI hit.
Kjellberg, who had five strike outs and two walks, took the pitching loss surrendering six runs on four hits in two and two-thirds innings of work. Blaze Todd worked the final inning and a third giving up five runs on three hits and a trio of walks while “K”ing two.
With the Bulldogs looking to challenge for this year’s Dunn-St. Croix baseball crown, the Mounders knew that they would have their hands full for Thursday’s contest in Boyceville.
Tied at one run aside following the opening inning, Elk Mound took 2-1 advantage in the third off Chase Rhude’s led-off single and three Boyceville errors.
But the Mounders opened up the game and put some breathing room between them and the Bulldogs next two innings.
With Rhude and Andrews on base, senior Ethan Kjellberg launched a Bryce Boda pitch over the center field fence for a three-run homer and a 5-2 Elk Mound lead.
Dylan Black and Kole Ploeckelman had back-to-back singles in the fifth and score to five the Mounders a 7-1 push.
Kjellberg also held sway on the mound, limiting Boyceville’s hard-hitting offense to just two runs while scattering seven hits over six innings to get the pitching victory. Blaze Todd cleaned up in the seventh, retiring Boyceville in order.
The Mounders held a 12 to 7 advantage in hits with Kjellberg and Dylan Black each going 3-for-4 while Ploeckelman and Rhude had two hits apiece.
St. Croix Central
The host Panthers out slugged the Mounders 16 to 6 in Friday’s non-conference game in Hammond to take a 16-10 win.
Elk Mound trailed 9-0 in the May 4 game before it pushed four runs home in the top of the fourth.
But St. Croix Central answered with a four-spot of its own in the bottom of the inning to lead 13-4.
Elk Mound pulled to within five with four more runs in the sixth. The Panthers added three in the bottom half.
The final two runs for the Mounders came in their final at bat of the seventh, gleaning two runs to make the final tally 16-10.
Ethan Kjellberg had two of the Mounders six hits.
James Javanovich, Logan Bergh and Blaze Todd each threw two innings with Todd taking the loss.