The Hinckley Knights will open the 2017 Eastern Minny League playoffs with a game Saturday night at 7 p.m. against the Braham Snappers at Brennan Field. If the Knights win, they'll play the Mora Blue Devils Sunday night at 7 p.m. If they lose, their next game will be Monday at 7:30 p.m. For the latest updates, visit the Knights website hinckleyknights.com and follow the team on Facebook and Twitter @HinckleyKnights.
The Knights were upended by the Chisago Lakes Bulldogs last Wednesday 8-4. The Bulldogs scored six runs in the first inning. The Knights worked hard to mount a comeback, with two runs in the third inning on RBI doubles from first baseman T.J. Johnson and pitcher Shawn Ausmus, and two more in the eighth, when T.J. Johnson doubled to left center and Ausmus followed with a two-run home run. Ausmus started the game at first base but took the mound partway through the first inning and pitched the rest of the game. He had a 3-4 day with 3 RBI. T.J. Johnson went 3-5 with a double and an RBI.
On Friday, the Knights lost a rain-shortened game to the Mora Blue Devils 1-0. The Knights bats stayed quiet, with no hits in the game. The Blue Devils were able to score a run in the fifth inning on a single, stolen base and a single. The Knights did not score in the bottom of the fifth, and the rain started with one out in the sixth. Since five innings had been completed, the game was called.
The Knights got a big win on Saturday over the west division-leading Princeton Panthers 9-1, starting with a four-run first inning, including hits from left fielder Bryce Norby and first baseman Shawn Ausmus, sacrifice flies from second baseman Troy Jones and center fielder Keyan Weaver, and singles from designated hitter Jarrod Brennan and catcher Josh Norby. In the fourth, Ausmus picked up another RBI by singling in Trevor Johnson, and Brennan got an RBI when T.J. Johnson reached home to extend the lead to 7-0. In the fifth, Bryce Norby doubled to bring in right fielder Jordan Woods. And in the sixth, Ausmus led off with solo home run to left field, to give the Knights a 9-0 lead. Princeton got a run across in the seventh, but it was their only run of the game, and it ended 9-1. Ausmus went 3-4 including his home run and three RBI. Bryce Norby went 3-5, with two doubles and an RBI. Trevor Johnson and T.J. Johnson were both 2-4 and Jarrod Brennan was 2-3 with a double, a walk and an RBI. Starter Josh Thom threw a complete game, giving up just one run and seven hits, striking out six.
On Sunday, the Knights lost a close game to the Minneapolis MudCats, a Class 'A' team from the Twin Cities. The MudCats emerged with the win 8-6, but the Knights kept it close. The MudCats scored first with five runs in the third inning, taking advantage of errors in the field and some timely hits. The Knights responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning to make the score 5-3. Minneapolis got runs in the sixth and seventh, and the Knights came back with three more in the seventh, which narrowed the gap to 7-6. The MudCats picked up one more run in the eighth, which ended the scoring for the game. Bryce Norby went 3-5 including an RBI double. Shawn Ausmus was 2-4 with a double and three RBI. T.J. Johnson was 2-4 with a walk and an RBI. Defensively, the Knights turned a double play in the third with a liner to short and a throw to double off the runner on first. Starter Jordan Woods worked eight innings, giving up three earned runs, walking two and striking out four.