Cloquet scores early, often in Duluth


April 21, 2023

Amber Nichols

Jaden Novy slides safely into home in the front end of a doubleheader against Denfeld last Friday at Wade Stadium. The Lumberjacks started the season strong, getting a comfortable opening with a win over the Hunters but splitting the doubleheader.

With 13 seniors on the roster, the Cloquet baseball team is aiming to take another step up the ladder this season. The Lumberjacks play in a difficult section and they hope their overall depth will come into play as the spring season kicks off.

"This is my third season as coach and we are looking forward to it," said head coach Tyler Olin. "This is a group we are familiar with and just knowing them better will help as the season progresses."

On Friday, April 14, the Lumberjacks opened the season by splitting a doubleheader with Duluth Denfeld. Cloquet won the opener 20-6 before falling in the second game 9-4.

On Tuesday the 'Jacks hit the road once more and came away with a 4-3 eighth-inning victory over Superior.

In the opener the Lumberjacks banged out 14 hits while Alex Omenge and Kollin Bonneville led the offensive charge. Omenge finished with three hits and Bonneville slammed a triple and double and finished with a game-high six runs batted in. Noah Knutson and Brody Dushkin also added a pair of hits.

The Lumberjacks pitched three pitchers in the opening game with Kade Kolodge, Jaden Novy and Omenge combining to give up just six hits.

"We have 13 seniors and a few juniors and sophomores fighting for spots," said Olin.

The 'Jacks will look for Kolodge to lead the pitching staff after having a stellar season a year ago. After Kolodge, it will be a mix of athletes including Novy, Luke Keating, Matt Erickson, Dayne Painovich, Pat Dunaisky, Ashton Stansfield and Brady Anderson who will all see plenty of mound time.

Cloquet led the first game against the Hunters just 7-6 entering the top of the seventh and final inning, but exploded for 13 runs to salt the game away.

On offense, Kollin Bonneville is considered one of the squad's best all-around players.

"He is an impressive athlete," said Olin. "He is just a good all-around hitter and competitor. He is a strong and complete player and he is so confident at the plate."

In Game 2 Friday, the Lumberjacks gave up three first-inning runs and trailed 3-0 entering the top of the fifth inning. Cloquet scored three runs to knot the game at 3-3, but the Hunters answered quickly by putting up a five spot in the bottom of the inning to go ahead 8-3. Both teams scored a run in the sixth inning, but that would be it for the rest of the game.

Offensively Painovich and Dushkin each pumped out two hits, while Bonneville, Omenge and Stansfield each had a hit. Dushkin also had two RBIs in the game.

Against the Spartans Tuesday night, the Lumberjacks pulled off an impressive 4-3 road win.

Amber Nichols

Jaden Novy was one of three pitchers to open the season for Cloquet, a 20-6 win over Denfeld. The 'Jacks fell in the second game, 9-4.

Although Cloquet managed only two hits, they scored four runs and were assisted by Superior pitchers walking 10 Cloquet batters. Painovich had one of the two hits, and he picked up three RBIs in the win.

The Lumberjacks scored three times in the second inning and then gave up single runs to Superior in the fifth and sixth innings, which tied the game at 2-2. Cloquet took the lead in the top of the seventh, but the Spartans plated a run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game 3-3. Cloquet added another run in the top of the eighth inning to grab a 4-3 lead and then relied on Brady Anderson to come in and slam the door in the bottom of the inning, by fanning all three Spartans batters to take the win.


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