Armstrong baseball looks to put it all together

Sports Editor

The Armstrong baseball team has gotten off to a 5-7 start to the season, but less-than-ideal weather conditions have kept the Falcons from playing on a consistent basis.

Armstrong’s Jerick Kuznia delivers a pitch during the Falcons’ 7-1 win over Park Center May 2. Kuznia pitched five innings and allowed just two hits while striking out four batters. (Sun Post photo by Chris Chesky)

Armstrong head baseball coach Brian Sobiech said his team has tried to get creative as it looks to hit, pitch and defend well in a single game.

“We have tried to get creative with drills and stuff like that,” Sobiech said. “We did some stuff in the gym the other day that probably looked crazy to everyone else.

“We just have to get them to buy in, and the more creative we can be, the more into it they are. You have to credit these guys for swinging the bats through the frustrations of being inside.”

With the weather conditions having postponed many games from earlier in the season, Armstrong played five games in five days last week, which allowed Sobiech to put his full roster to the test.

“We’re a little banged up, too, so it’s nice to see some other guys get in the game and see how well they perform,” Sobiech said. “We had a freshman get an at-bat today and he had two at-bats the other day, and we had a sophomore catcher up today and two sophomores in the outfield.

“It’s nice when you get some senior leadership mixed in with the young guys and they all work together. That’s what it takes to win championships.”

The Falcons started the week off well with a 7-1 victory over Park Center May 2.

“That was a nice outing for us,” Sobiech said. “We pitched well, Jerick [Kuznia] did a good job of just taking a little off his fastball to locate his spots.

“Offensively, it wasn’t our best hitting day, but we run the bases well enough and we can do some things on the bases to help us put up seven runs. We’ve had some better hitting days, but I thought we hit the ball pretty well.”

Kuznia allowed just two hits in five innings, while striking out four batters in the victory.

“I was feeling great, all my pitches were working,” Kuznia said. “I’ve been feeling good lately and I felt like I was hitting my spots well in the bullpen before the game.”

On offense, Armstrong collected 10 hits, with Brayden Gray, Eric Goldman and Dawson Dee recording two hits apiece. Nate Perttula recorded three RBIs in the win, while Gray, Michael O’Malley, Kuznia and A.J. Sturnieks adding one RBI each.

The Falcons, while they have waited for their bats to come around, have worked on their base running, which led to run-scoring opportunities for the Falcons.

“We work hard on base running a lot,” Sobiech said. “If we get guys on base, we want them to know what they’re doing and I think that shows in that we were able to take bases and how we were creative in doing that.

“We know we’re not going to get 15 hits every game, so we have to find ways to score on the days where we don’t get hits.”

Armstrong was able to carry some of its offense into its next game with 11 hits, but the Falcons fell 6-2 to Eden Prairie May 3.

Alex Proctor, Dee, Goldman and Mitchell Waletzki recorded two hits apiece, while Waletzki recorded the lone RBI.

The Falcons fell 4-3 to Andover May 4 and 7-1 to Centennial May 5, before picking up a 3-0 win over Legacy Christian Academy May 6.

Despite just two wins in the five games, Sobiech has been pleased with what he has seen from his team.

“These guys are great,” Sobiech said. “”They’re working hard, they know we need to improve on some things.

“We can hit the ball and as a team we don’t give away a ton of at-bats. If we can put our whole game together, we can compete with a lot of teams, so we’re just working on doing that and on consistency game in and game out.”

Armstrong will play its next game of the season against Osseo at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 11, at Osseo High School.

Contact Chris Chesky at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @MNSunSports or @SunSportsChris.