AUSTIN EDITION Ridgewater sweeps Riverland in baseball

By Scott A. Kolb

Patches of snow surrounded the baseball field on the northwest side of town, but Riverland and Ridgewater still managed to play a Friday doubleheader.

Amid the frigid conditions, the Blue Devils and Warriors opened the season in the Minnesota Community College Conference, South Division. The visitors from Willmar swept the twinbill by scores of 7-2 and 9-4.

An interesting sidelight to the conditions on the field was the first-ever meeting between Ridgewater coach Dwight Kotila and Riverland skipper Dave Meyer. Back in his playing days at Riverland, Meyer was coached by Kotila.


"It was fun to go up against my old coach," Meyer said of the encounter. "Dewey (Kotila) always has good teams and we played right with them until the later innings of both games, so that's encouraging."

The first game reflected the sloppy conditions on the diamond, but it was still close the whole way. The Blue Devils scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings.

Riverland starting pitcher Sean Breslin threw well until the ninth inning. The defense then fell apart and the bullpen couldn't stop the Warriors. Five runs by the visitors put an end to the opening game.

"It was an ugly game," Kotila said of the opener. "We couldn't do anything off their starter. We finally chased him in the ninth, but the game dragged on too long in the cold weather. I'm completely frozen."

John Roesler, the Riverland starter in the second game, also threw well but got no help from his defense. Errors led to multiple runs for Ridgewater in the third and fourth innings.

"Those errors were mainly due to our lack of time outside on the field," Meyer said. "Despite the two losses, we still played hard against one of the best teams in the division."

Josh Kunze had the only extra base-hit for the Blue Devils on the day with a double in the opener. Kunze led off the bottom of the sixth with a single in the late game, but he was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

Riverland baseball (0-4 overall, 0-2 MCCC South) hosts Bethany Lutheran of Mankato on Sunday afternoon.



Ridgewater 000 110 005 -- 7 8 3

; Riverland 000 010 100 -- 2 5 4

; Breslin, Larson (9) and Hebel; Garry and Henke.

2B -- RIV, Kunze.


Ridgewater 103 302 0 -- 9 9 1

; Riverland 100 210 0 -- 4 5 3


; Roesler, Nalan (6) and Kunze.

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