By Ray Hamill — The Fortuna Huskies have made a habit of starting slowly in games this season.
Fortunately for them, they’ve also made a habit of finishing strong.
On Wednesday afternoon they did what no other team has managed this spring, beating Eureka 3-1 at Bomber Field.
The visitors trailed early but rallied to score three times in the top of the sixth, and made it count in what was a highly-entertaining matchup.
Senior pitcher Aaron Head-Mason overcome a slow start on the mound with an outstanding complete-game performance for the win.
Head-Mason got plenty of help from his defense, which made several big plays, most notably Matt Berti at second base, Cole Ayala at third and Matt Letter in left field.
“Aaron pitched a great game for us and kept them off balance,” Fortuna head coach Andy Olsen said. “He’s pitched that way all year. I’m glad he’s on our side.”
Head-Mason held a potent Eureka offense to just three hits, while walking two and striking out five.
He threw 24 of his 93 pitches in the first inning, as the Loggers got on the board early when Jackson Giacone drove in Keenan Morris for the opening score.
The Huskies, however, settled into the game and had their chances to even things up before a big sixth-inning rally gave them the late lead.
Daniel Osborne was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and scored moments later on a Regan Nyberg double.
Nyberg was then advanced to third on a Letter sacrifice bunt, before reaching home plate on a Branson Gans double to give the visitors the lead.
Ayla then singled to score Gans.
“It was nice to have a rally like that,” Olsen said. “We haven’t had too many innings like that this year.”
The win lifts the Huskies to 7-2, while the Loggers dropped to 7-1.
“It was a nice win for our school,” Olsen said. “It’s been a while since we knocked off that team.”
Sophomore pitcher Myles Standish had another big game for the Loggers, pitching six strong innings.
He allowed six hits, four of them in the sixth, while walking two and striking out six.
“He’s got a bright future,” Olsen said of Standish, who had not allowed a run in three appearances heading into Wednesday’s game.
Nyberg and Ayala both finished with two hits in the win, including a double each, while Letter also doubled and Wyatt Wilson had a hit.
Giacone, Brayden Youkey and Rogan Bode each had a hit for the Loggers.
Eureka had averaged more than 10 runs a game coming into the week, but have now been held to just one run in two of their last three outings.
The two clubs will close out a three-game series with a doubleheader at Newburg Park on Friday, beginning at 4 p.m.
“I know they’ll give us two more great games and come back even stronger,” Olsen said.
Gans and Joey Quen will get the starts on the mound for Fortuna, with Hayden Bode and Ethan Pesch expected to start for Eureka.