Entering the final week of the regular season, the Wanamingo Jacks remain squarely in contention to claim the Twin Rivers League title.
That’s thanks in large part to the Jacks rattling off a seven-game winning streak against league opponents, capped off by Monday’s 10-0 seven-inning victory against the first-place Rochester Roadrunners in Rochester.
Rochester was the last Twin Rivers team to beat Wanamingo, way back on June 6 in a 3-2 game.
Now, the two teams are separated by only half a game entering the final week, with Rochester still narrowly in first place at 9-3 and Wanamingo just a tick behind at 8-3. The Roadrunners finish their regular season with a pair of road games, first Wednesday night at the Dodge County Diamondbacks and then Friday night at the Stewartville-Racine Sharks.
The Jacks, meanwhile, finish their 2021 campaign off with a home doubleheader Saturday against the Owatonna Aces and a Sunday afternoon home game against the Winona Chiefs.
No additional information was available about Monday’s victory as of publication, but listed below are recaps of Wanamingo’s Sunday and Friday victories, as well as a preview of the final week of action.
Wanamingo 3, Dodge County 0
Brady Anfinson must have had dinner reservations Sunday night, as he fired a complete-game shutout Sunday afternoon in a game that took just over an hour to play. Anfinson allowed only five hits and no walks while striking out six batters.
He was staked to an early lead, thanks to Eric Swiggum launching a solo home run in the bottom of the first and Braxton Baker driving in Gavin Roosen in the bottom of the second.
The Jacks stretched that lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth when Baker raced around from first base to score when a sinking line drive off the bat of Peder Sviggum snuck under the glove of Dodge County’s right fielder.
Alex Roosen also singled and tripled to account for two of Wanamingo’s five hits.
Wanamingo 4, Austin 3
The Jacks landed the final blow in a back-and-forth affair Friday night in Austin, thanks to a pair of runs in the top of the eighth flipping a one-run deficit into a one-run lead.
The Roosen brothers Sam, Alex and Gavin all finished with two hits apiece, with Alex and Gavin both doubling as part of their two-hit nights. Alex Roosen also accounted for an RBI, while Peder Sviggum drove in a pair of runs with a single.
Aaron Holmes singled and worked three walks while scoring a run, while Aaron Bauer, Sam Roosen and Gavin Roosen all scored one run each.
On the mound, Gavin Roosen started and allowed three runs (two earned) with four strikeouts, four walks and nine hits allowed. Braxton Baker earned the win in relief by firing three scoreless innings while surrendering only one hit and no walks with three strikeouts.
Thanks to no weeknight games, the Jacks are able to enter their three-game weekend with a fully-rested pitching staff with a chance to win a league title.
Anfinson will no doubt start one of those three games, as the 60 2/3 innings he’s thrown this summer double the team’s second-highest total (Gavin Roosen at 30 1/3 innings). With that heavy workload, Anfinson has maintained a sterling 1.04 earned run average, a 7-2 record with 50 strikeouts compared to only nine walks.
The other two starts will likely be taken by Gavin Roosen and Alex Roosen. Gavin’s put up a 3.56 ERA across his 30 1/3 innings with 26 strikeouts, but 20 walks. Alex Roosen, meanwhile, has a 4.50 ERA in 22 innings with 21 strikeouts and eight walks.
That trio will face Owatonna (twice) and Winona. Owatonna has struggled to a 2-8 record in the Twin Rivers this summer, with a 2-1 win against Winona and a 12-6 win against Dodge County in the first game of the season. Since that season-opening win, the Aces have lost 10 of their 11 games against all competition.
Winona presents the largest obstacle to Wanamingo’s title hopes, given the strength of their pitching staff this summer. The three most-used pitchers for the Chiefs all feature an ERA of 3.00 or below, led by Sam Nascak’s 0.48 in 18 2/3 innings. He tossed three scoreless innings of relief in Wanamingo’s 3-1 win against Winona earlier this season.
In that game, Gavin Roosen enjoyed his best pitching performance of the season for the Jacks with a complete-game shutout with 13 strikeouts.
Twin Rivers standings
Dodge County, 5-7
Pine Island, 3-9