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Spring Valley baseball: Nyeggen, Sands homer for Cards in win

Spring Valley senior Levi Sands launches a home run against Pepin/Alma to give the Cardinals a 6-4 victory on Thursday, May 11. Jalen Knuteson / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Spring Valley senior Brock Bune throws a ball across the diamond from his shortstop position against Pepin/Alma on Thursday, May 11. Jalen Knuteson / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

SPRING VALLEY -- Two homers and a big inning were what Spring Valley needed.

Jaydon Nyeggen homered to get the scoring started in a 5-run fourth inning as the Cardinals earned a 6-4 victory over Pepin/Alma in Dunn-St. Croix Conference prep baseball on Thursday, May 11 in Spring Valley.  

The Cardinals had runners on in each inning, but were missing a clutch hit to turn any of those threats into runs.

“I think we struggle a little bit to get our timing in the first couple of innings,” head coach Brad Baker said. “We’ve been working on being ready to change speeds at the beginning of games, but it’s hard to (adjust) right away.”

After Nyeggen’s home run, Spring Valley had two runners on base with two outs. Patrick Cipriano scored when Dylan Bune reached on error and Seth Schlegel made the score 3-3 when Sam Verges drew a bases loaded walk.

Brett Fogarty put the final touches on the rally with a single inside the right field line to plate two more runs and give the Cardinals their first lead.

“We need (our seniors) to be clutch. When you have a team full of seniors, you think everyone should be able to do that,” said Baker sarcastically.

Senior Levi Sands hit the second home run to give the Cardinals an insurance run making the score 6-4 in the sixth inning.

Sands, the No. 9 hitter in the order, is well aware of how opposing pitchers are going to approach the last batter in the lineup.

“Usually, they aren’t going to pitch the nine hitter as well as they pitch other batters,” Sands said. “I was just looking for a good pitch to hit. They think that because I’m in the ninth hitter I can’t hit, so they are just throwing me strikes.”

“I told him, these teams think the No. 9 hitter is the worst hitter on the team and you’ve gotta prove them wrong,” Baker said. “The way the ball was carrying, I knew it was gone right away.”

Cipriano came in to relieve Brock Bune on the mound after Bune tried to pitch through the ill-effects of a laceration on his pitching hand’s index finger.

Cipriano threw 30 strikes and three balls in relief.

“That’s exactly what we need him to do,” Baker said. “Sometimes we have to remind him to be aggressive, pitch with an attitude and throw those strikes. He was on tonight though. He made a couple of mistakes, but he was doing a good job doing what he needed to do.”