A strong start helped the Menahga baseball team notch its first win of the season on Tuesday, May 14.
The Braves scored five times in the first inning and three times in both the second and third frames in coasting to a 12-2 five-inning victory over Ottertail Central at Menahga. That win snapped a 33-game winless streak for the Braves, who improved to 1-10 in Park Region Conference play and 1-11-1 overall this season.
Corey Haataja (3 for 3, one run, four RBI), Lars Keranen (2 for 3, two runs, one RBI), Jack Pietila (2 for 3, two runs, one RBI), Ivan Anderson (1 for 2, three runs, one RBI), Tom Litzau (1 for 1, two runs, one RBI), Ethan Hendrickson (1 for 3, two RBI) and Charlie Hodge (2 for 2, two runs, one RBI) led Menahga's 12-hit offensive attack. Keranen picked up the win, allowing one run on five hits over the first four innings. Litzau gave up an unearned run on one hit in the fifth.
OTC, which edged the Braves 9-8 on April 30, fell to 3-6 in the conference and 3-9 overall.
"The excitement is high for this first win. The losses over the last two years have not been taken lightly. We knew that we were better than what our record was showing and we just had to put all of the pieces of the puzzle together and that is what we did," said Menahga head coach Nick Jasmer. "We are going to savor this first win but also get prepared for the last couple games ahead to go and get some more wins before the season closes out."
The Braves were involved in some close games prior to picking up their first win.
Pillager edged Menahga 4-3 in the first game of a conference doubleheader on May 3 before both teams settled for a 2-2 tie in the second game. Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale held the Braves to only two hits in a 6-0 conference win on May 7 as Nolan Haataja went 2 for 3. Parkers Prairie scored three runs in the fifth inning for a 3-1 win over the Braves on May 10. Keranen, Pietila, Anderson and Eddie Salmen accounted for Menahga's four hits in that game.
Wadena-Deer Creek tops the conference standings at 11-1 with New York Mills (9-2), Sebeka (9-4), Parkers Prairie (7-6), BHV (3-10) and Pillager (3-9-1) following.