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Young pitcher saves day for Cards

An eighth-grade pitcher for the Cromwell-Wright baseball team stepped up in a big way on Friday, May 5 in helping to lead the Cardinals to a 4-1 win over the Carlton/Wrenshall Raptors.

Drew Nyberg was called on to step up for the Cards when starting pitcher Tate Bloomquist had a sore arm and had to leave the game in the third inning with the Cardinals leading 2-0.

"Drew came up huge for us," said Cardinals coach Dean Levinski. "He went four innings and gave up just one run on a couple of hits and we needed that. We already lost Dylan Nyberg for much of the season after he got hit by a pitch, and now to have Tate have some soreness is concerning."

Before Nyberg kept things calm for the Cards, Cromwell-Wright took a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning. With two outs Brady Dahl singled and Carson Hill reached on an error. Both later scored.

While Nyberg was keeping his team in front, Brody Vernon, a junior, was doing his best at keeping the Raptors in the game.

"Brody Vernon pitched the complete game for us," said Ryan Schmidt, coach of the Raptors. "He pitched really well, but we made a few costly mistakes behind him and that cost us the game."

The Raptors got back into the game in the fourth inning when centerfielder Cam Johnson led off with a walk and then stole second. Johnson eventually scored on a single by Jeshua Sjodin.

The Cardinals answered back in the fifth inning with two more runs as Brendon Gronner and Dahl both scored to push the lead to 4-1.

After Nyberg held the Raptors off the scoreboard through the sixth inning, Dahl came in and slammed the door with a scoreless seventh, including a pair of strikeouts.

"I'm really happy with how we are playing so far," Levinski said. "Our pitchers are all battling; our hitters are putting the ball in play, and our defense is getting better although that can run hot and cold for us."

The Raptors are seeing some improvement despite a tough loss, Schmidt said. "We've been playing better the last couple games, but we just need to clean up some of the fielding and hit better. The kids are great and are working together real well. They are a talented bunch that just needs to learn how to win."

The Cards improved to 2-5 on the season, while the loss dropped the Raptors to 1-7.