The Magic baseball team expected to contend for a Mississippi 8 championship this year.
They expected to do it on the strength of their pitching and fielding.
That, they maybe aren’t.
Instead, Monticello continued to ride their hot bats Tuesday, beating Buffalo 15-11 after the Bison erased an early 10-2 Magic lead.
“I thought we were going to have to win a lot of games 3-2, or 2-1,” said Coach Cole Deibele. “It’s kind of been the opposite.”
The Magic, who are averaging just under 7.5 runs per game so far this season, scored 10 first inning runs Tuesday afternoon.
“The first inning this year has been a really big inning for us,” said Deibele. “It puts the other team kind of on their heels right away.”
The Bison, however, wouldn’t go away. They got three runs back in the second and two more in the fourth, getting to within 10-7.
As the Magic bats lie dormant through the middle of the game, the Bison struck again in the sixth, scoring four to take an 11-10 lead.
“Buffalo still had some fight in them,” said Magic player Tanner Eckhart.
Trailing by one, with two innings to play, the Magic still believed.
“We’re really confident,” said Eckhart. “We’ve been smacking the ball around.”
In the bottom of the sixth, they did just a little more of that.
Devin Stein started the rally with a one-out single for the Magic. That was followed by Keenan Macek and Andrew Manning both reaching on errors. Stein would come around to tie the game during Manning’s at bat.
Following a fielder’s choice at third base for the second out, Braydon Hanson picked up a clutch RBI single to put Monticello back in front.
After a walk for Michael Revenig loaded the bases, Eckhart hit a bases clearing double to give the Magic breathing room at 15-11.
It was nothing new for Eckhart, who is hitting a blazing .523 this season. Teammate Tyler Mros isn’t far behind, checking in at .477.
“It’s hard to get those guys out right now,” said Deibele. “I can only imagine that baseballs must look like watermelons to [them].”
Eckhart also finished the game out on the mound, helping Monticello move to 8-5 overall and 7-2 in Mississippi 8 play, where they stand one game behind Chisago Lakes and St. Francis with four games to play.
“We’ve really gone after our conference games,” said Deibele. “And we’re going to go after these next four games and give ourselves a shot.”
Monticello’s schedule gets crazy this week, as they play in back-to- back doubleheaders, starting tonight. Monticello is scheduled to play at St. Michael-Albertville at 4 p.m., before heading back to Monti for a rematch at 7 p.m.
The Magic are home again at 7 p.m. Friday to take on Becker.
Contact Clay Sawatzke at firstname.lastname@example.org