Justin Wohlers (11) is congratulated after striking out the side during a game against Z-M on April 12, 2021 at Zumbrota-Mazeppa High School. Jake Pfeifer / Republican Eagle

ZUMBROTA — A fast start by Zumbrota-Mazeppa didn’t last Monday evening as the visiting Lake City Tigers recovered nicely to steal a 12-6 win on the road.

To open the game it looked like Lake City starting pitcher Justin Wohlers was going to have a short stint on the mound as he walked four of the first five batters. The lone holdout of that group was Willie Holm, who hit a 2-RBI single. Wohlers settled in to strike out the final two batters of the inning, but the Cougars had built an early 3-0 lead. After struggling through his first seven batters faced, there was no indication that Wohlers would dominate on the mound the rest of the way. Yet, that’s exactly what happened as he struck out eight of the next nine batters he faced, getting a flyout in the other at bat.

Z-M wouldn’t get another baserunner until the fifth inning when Jon Harvey came in to relieve Wohlers. The Cougars scratched across two runs that inning, but Lake City had already built a 9-5 lead by that point.

For the Tigers, the first inning was not as kind as they were put down in order, but once they figured out Z-M starting pitcher Kaleb Stensland in the second inning, the runs were consistent the rest of the way. Max Balow scored Lake City’s first run in the second inning on a Riley Forbes RBI single. Balow scored again in the third inning along with two other Tigers to give Lake City a 4-3 lead through three innings.

Owen Meyers scored his second run of the game in the fourth inning after being walked to give the Tigers a 5-3 lead and then came Lake City’s game-sealing four-run fifth inning. Meyers was a focal point once again as he took a two-out walk to load the bases for Wohlers, who had hit a double and single in the previous two innings. He reached safely once again, this time aided by an outfield error. Between that error and the proceeding RBI singles by Zach Dater and Balow, suddenly Lake City was up 9-3 midway through the fifth inning.

Z-M showcased its resilience in the bottom half of the inning, beginning with a leadoff double by Jake Mehrkens. Mitchell Meyer brought him home with a one-out single, followed by Holm’s third RBI of the day on a two-out single to trim the deficit to four runs with two innings left to play.

That was as close as Z-M would get the rest of the way though as Lake City added three more runs in the sixth inning to give it plenty of cushion with little game to play. A pair of walks and an error loaded the bases for Harvey, who plated two runs with a single, and scored a run himself two batters later on a sac fly by Wohlers.

Trailing 12-5 with three outs left, the Cougars faced a tall task to pull off the win. Stensland scored one run when Caden Mercer lined a single but Z-M was retired two batters later.

Lake City, 2-1, is next scheduled to host Kenyon-Wanamingo on Thursday.

Z-M, 1-1, returns to action Tuesday with a trip to Plainview-Elgin-Millville.

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