Faribault Flames: My Site News

Monday, July 14
Faribault Flames drop pair of weekend games, eye late-season run to AAA bracket

Thursday, July 10
Faribault Flames looking for pair of Federal League wins in crucial stretch
Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2014 6:44 pm Updated: 12:02 am, Fri Jul 11, 2014.
By SAM THIEL sports@faribault.com

Faribault manager Rick Vogel knows that winning the next two games could go a long way for the Flames.

The Faribault Flames are looking to put some heat on the competition in the next few days in hopes of competing for a spot in the AAA Federal League State Tournament in August. Faribault hosts the Lonsdale Jokers at 7:30 p.m. Friday and the Webster Wildcats at 7 p.m. Sunday. Both games will be played at Bell Field.

After switching last year to the Federal League, the Flames (5-5) have posted a .500 record so far this season.

Vogel knows that the road ahead will not be an easy one.

“If we can win Friday at home against Lonsdale, which every game seems to come down to the last pitch when we play each other home or away, and defeat Webster on Sunday, for sure we will be back in the thick of things at 7-5,” Vogel said. “If we split, we still have a chance to get in the AAA bracket. If we lose both, it will be a hard mountain to climb.”

And after scoring double-digit runs in a pair of wins against Veseli and St. Anthony last week, Vogel is excited for the upcoming matchups.

“After I saw what we did last weekend to climb back to .500 I think, if nothing else, we will have a lot of fun trying to reach our goals,” Vogel said. “The one thing I do know, I will always be proud of the Faribault Flames. It is the best bunch of guys and families I could ever hope to be associated with.

“We will give it our best. It is an honor for us to represent Faribault, and the game of baseball.”

Sam Thiel is a Daily News sports intern.

Jay Herman
Monday, July 7
Faribault Flames slug their way past St. Anthony
Posted: Monday, July 7, 2014 5:40 pm Updated: 11:33 pm, Mon Jul 7, 2014.

By MILES TRUMP mtrump@faribault.com

It didn’t matter that the Flames were without 11 players on Sunday.

The ones who made the trip to St. Anthony had little trouble slugging their way past the Norsemen.

Six Faribault Flames players each had two or more hits and two RBIs in a 13-3 road victory over the St. Anthony Norsemen. The Flames were led at the plate by Randy Grunseth, who went 4 for 5 with three runs scored and two RBIs in the victory, which pushed the Flames (5-5) back to .500.

“The one thing I found out Sunday is we have a team that went into a game with 11 roster players missing against a good team, and we won convincingly,” Faribault manager Rick Vogel said. “The reason we won is simple: They all believe in themselves.”

Dusty Dienst, Kyle Green, Jay Herman, Scott Morrissey and Dave Custer each had two of the Flames’ 17 hits and two RBIs in the victory. Green also scored three runs and Dienst scored two.

“Seventeen hits in one game even in our league is unreal,” Vogel said. “I really admire the guys that play for Faribault. The will of this team astounds me.”

Tied 1-1 through three innings, Faribault scored twice in the top of the fourth inning before the Norsemen tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom half of the frame. St. Anthony didn’t score again, and the Flames were far from finished.

Faribault added two more runs in the fifth inning, taking a 5-3 lead it would never surrender, before scoring seven runs in the sixth and adding one more in the seventh.

Barry Fritz got the start and the no decision, allowing one earned run in three innings. He gave up three hits, walked one, hit one and struck out two. Dave Custer earned the win in relief, giving up two runs – one earned – and four hits. He also walked two, hit one and fanned three.

“Fritz and Custer pitched well,” Vogel said. “Both mixed their pitches and kept the ball down in the strike zone. Defensively, we played very well. Scott Morrissey played first base in the absence of Terry Schwichtenberg and played an amazing defensive game.”

The victory was the Flames’ second in a row, and it put them at .500 for the second time this season. They’re back where they want to be, Vogel said.

“We have a long ways to go, and we will see what happens,” Vogel said. “The thing I do know about our Faribault Flames team is every player has a lot of heart. We don’t have a team of individuals.”

Faribault hosts Federal League rival Lonsdale (5-4) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. at Bell Field.

FAR 0 1 0 2 2 7 1 13 17 1
STA 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 3 7 2

Pitching lines:
Barry Fritz 3IP, 1R, 1ER, 3H, 1BB, 1HBP, 2K
Dave Custer (W) 4IP, 2R, 1ER, 4H, 2BB, 1HBP, 3K

Hitting leaders: Dusty Dienst, 2-5, 2RBI, 2R; Kyle Green, 2-4, 3R, 2RBI; Randy Grunseth 4-5, 2RBI, 3R; Jay Herman 2-3 2RBI, 1R; Scott Morrissey 2-4, 2B, 2RBI, 2R; Dave Custer 2-3, 2RBI

Reach sports reporter Miles Trump at 333-3129, or follow him on Twitter @FDNmilestrump

Dusty Dienst
Thursday, July 3
Faribault Flames bounce back with 10-6 victory over Veseli
Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 9:31 pm Updated: 10:22 pm, Fri Jul 4, 2014.
By MILES TRUMP mtrump@faribault.com

The Faribault Flames bounced back from back-to-back losses with a 10-6 road victory over the Veseli Vulcans on Wednesday night.

Scott Hanson scored four runs and had two RBIs and Jay Herman went the distance in the Federal League game, which Faribault manager Rick Vogel called a must-win in order for the Flames (4-5) to stay in the race for a AAA Federal League State Tournament spot.

“Normally, you wouldn’t think the ninth game in a season would be so important, but having a 3-5 record going into this game meant a lot,” Vogel said. “It has been a weird season because of all the rain outs. Having a 3-6 record with 10 league games left to play would be tough to overcome to reach that goal.”

Herman allowed six runs – five earned – and nine hits in seven innings. He struck out nine, walked two and hit two more in the win.

Hanson (2 for 3) led the way at the plate and was one of three players who had two hits in the game. Dusty Dienst (2 for 4) and Greg Pyle (2 for 3) were the others. Ross Spicer had two RBIs and Tim Wagner had one.

Faribault, which was missing several players on Wednesday, took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning before the Vulcans trimmed the score to 2-1 in the bottom half of the frame. The Flames scored once more in the third and added three more runs in the fourth inning for a 6-1 lead.

Veseli plated three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, cutting the lead to 6-4, until Faribault answered by scoring four runs in the fifth and pushing its lead to 10-4. Neither team scored until the Vulcans added two in the bottom of the seventh, but it wasn’t enough.

“We played really good baseball,” Vogel said. “We only made one error. ... We’re deep enough where we could compete even with key players gone, because the guys on the team love the game and they give it 100 percent all the time. For the most part that’s the one thing that keeps us going.”

The Flames now enter a stretch of 11 scheduled games in the next 30 days, including a home doubleheader to end the regular season that could impact the Flames’ postseason seeding, Vogel said.

Faribault will play next at 7 p.m. Sunday at St. Anthony before hosting the Lonsdale Jokers at 7:30 p.m. Friday and the Webster Wildcats at 7 p.m. July 13.

“I guess you could say, we will find out what we are made of during the next four weeks,” Vogel said. “We have a deep roster and pitching staff. I am thinking we will be where we want to be in the end.”

FAR 2 0 1 3 4 0 0 10 11 1
VES 1 0 0 3 0 0 2 6 9 4

Pitching line:
Jay Herman (W) 7IP, 6R, 5ER, 9H, 1HR, 2BB, 2HBP, 9K

Hitting leaders: Scott Hanson 2-3, 2B, SB, 4R, 2RBI; Dusty Dienst 2-4, SB, R; Greg Pyle 2-3, 2B, 2R; Ross Spicer 1-3, 2RBI; Tim Wagner 1-3, RBI

Reach sports reporter Miles Trump at 333-3129, or follow him on Twitter @FDNmilestrump

Monday, June 9
Faribault Flames climb back to .500 with win over Veseli
Posted: Monday, June 9, 2014 7:09 pm Updated: 11:42 pm, Mon Jun 9, 2014.

By MILES TRUMP mtrump@faribault.com

A three-run first inning helped the Faribault Flames shake off a three-game losing skid on Sunday.

The Flames rode a 3-1 first-inning lead to a 5-3 Federal League victory over Veseli at Bell Field and climbed back to .500. Faribault (3-3) had four players with at least two hits in the win.

“I was really pleased with the way the team played (on Sunday),” Flames manager Rick Vogel. “We hit the ball very well and got some clutch hits. On the defensive side we made some very good plays, and the pitching staff put in a solid performance as well.”

Barry Fritz (2IP, 3H, 1ER) got the start, but Dave Custer (3IP, 3H, 1ER, 2K, 2BB) earned the win. Jay Herman (2IP, 3H, 1R, 0ER, 2K) was credited with the save.

After trailing 1-0 in the first inning, the Flames scored three runs on four hits, a sacrifice bunt and a walk. Faribault also scored once each in the third and fourth innings.

Ross Spicer went 3 for 4 with an RBI and Tim Wagner finished 2 for 4 and two RBIs. Pat Nelson and Chris Howell each had two hits, and Nelson had an RBI.

“We are back on track,” Vogel said. “I like the way the guys don’t get down on themselves, or on each other. They don’t let things bother them, like an 0-3 skid we suffered losing two games by only a run. The goal is to continue to improve, get into the AAA bracket in the (state) tournament, and see what we can do from there. Being at .500 right now is not a bad place to be.”

Faribault hosts the undefeated Mill City Flour Stacks (6-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

VES 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 9 1
FAR 3 0 1 1 0 0 X 5 11 2

Pitching lines:
Barry Fritz 2IP 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0K, 0BB 1WP
Dave Custer (W) 3IP 3H, 1R, 1ER, 2K, 2BB 1WP
Jay Herman (S) 2IP 3H, 1R, 0ER, 2K, 0BB

Hitting leaders: Chris Howell 2-3, R, SB; Ross Spicer 3-4, RBI, R; Tim Wagner 2-4, 2RBI; Pat Nelson 2-2, RBI

Reach sports reporter Miles Trump at 333-3129, or follow him on Twitter @FDNmilestrump

Jay Herman
Wednesday, May 28
Union Hill rides early lead past Faribault Flames
Scott Hanson
Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 3:57 pm Updated: 11:57 pm, Wed May 28, 2014.
By MILES TRUMP mtrump@faribault.com

The Flames strung together two runs in the seventh inning, but by then it was too late.

Union Hill’s early lead was too much for them to bounce back from.

The Pit Bulls, who entering the game had beaten the Flames five times in the previous two seasons, scored four runs in the first inning and rode that lead to a 5-2 Federal League victory over Faribault on Saturday on the road. Those four runs came thanks to a lead-off error, two doubles, a home run and a single.

Jay Herman took the loss, but he settled in after the first inning. He allowed just one run – which was unearned – after the first inning and finished with three earned runs on six hits and six strikeouts. He walked two and hit one.

“It is a combination of things,” Flames manager Rick Vogel said. “I think Jay has to warm-up more, break a sweat. In his first two starts, he has given up his runs in the first few innings. He has been untouchable after that. I have noticed his pitches are up the first inning. When Jay Herman is down in the zone, he is the best I have seen in a long time. He really has some nasty stuff.”

Facing a 5-0 deficit in the seventh inning, the Flames (2-3) scored two runs despite having two outs with no one on base. Kyle Green had a two-run hit off the left field fence that nearly cleared it to score Dusty Dienst and Eric Sammon. Sammon and Green each had two of the Flames’ eight hits.

“These guys didn’t want to get shut out, and they still thought they could win,” Vogel said.

After winning their first two games of the season, Faribault has lost three in a row. The Flames suffered one-run losses to the Crystal Chargers, 3-2, on May 16 at home and to the St. Patrick Shamrocks, 5-4, on May 18 on the road.

However, the Flames are a dangerous team with a never-say-die attitude and will be stronger when Faribault Academies coach Scott Hanson joins the team when the Cardinals’ season ends, Vogel said.

“I have a good feeling about the rest of the season,” Vogel said. “We are 2-3 right now, but could easily be 4-1.”

Faribault hosts the division rival Veseli Vulcans at 6 p.m. June 8.

FAR 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 8 5
UNH 4 0 0 1 0 0 X 5 6 2

Pitching line:
Jay Herman (L) 6IP, 5R, 3ER, 6H, 6K, 2BB, 1HBP

Hitting leaders:
Chris Howell 2-4; Dusty Dienst 1-4, R; Eric Sammon 2-4, R; Kyle Green 2-4, 2B, 2RBI; Pat Nelson 1-3

Thursday, May 15
Faribault Flames baseball swings hot bats in road win
Posted: Thursday, May 15, 2014 3:33 pm Updated: 11:28 pm, Thu May 15, 2014.
By JOSH BERHOW jberhow@faribault.com

The Flames made good use of their bats in their first road game of the season.

Faribault smashed 11 hits and put up 14 runs – scoring in every inning except the first – to beat the South Metro Saints 14-6 on Wednesday.

“It was nice to see the bats come alive and put double-digits on the scoreboard,” said Faribault manager Rick Vogel. “I don’t believe we did that more than once or twice all last year.”

Faribault (2-0) led 3-1 after three innings but put up three runs in the fourth and five in the fifth to take a commanding 11-1 lead after five innings. The Saints scored five of their six runs in the bottom of the seventh off starter Barry Fritz, who earned the complete-game win. Fritz allowed six earned runs on six hits and two walks. Fritz was also aided by zero Faribault errors.

“We played error-free baseball, which is always a big plus,” Vogel said. “Fritz bounced back from his start this past Friday that wasn’t up to his standards. Barry delivered his usual solid, complete-game performance.”

Faribault hosts the Crystal Chargers at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Bell Field.

“It’s early in the season, but we have achieved our first goal of winning our first two games to get a good start,” Vogel said. “The next step is to win the next game of course. If we can accomplish that Friday at home, it would be our best start in our still young team history. In baseball, like in any sport, it is a game at a time.”

FAR 0 2 1 3 5 2 1 14 11 0
SMT 0 0 1 0 0 0 5 6 6 1

Pitching lines:
Barry Fritz (W) 7IP, 6R, 6ER, 6H, 2K, 2BB

Hitting leaders:
Terry Schwichtenberg 2-3, 2BB, SB, R, 2RBI; Pat Nelson 3-4, SB, R, RBI; Greg Pyle 2-4, R, RBI; Kyle Green 1-4, 3R, 2SB, 2RBI
Reach Sports Editor Josh Berhow at 333-3119, or follow him on Twitter.com @FDNjoshberhow

Barry Fritz
Monday, May 12
Faribault Flames baseball opens season with walk-off win
Kyle Green
The Faribault Flames started their season with a bang.

Dave Custer pitched five strong innings of relief, and the Flames rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings and then picked up the walk-off win in the bottom of the eighth to beat the Lakeville Lobos 9-8 in their season-opener on Friday at Bell Field..

“It is always good to start a season with a win, and the team did some very positive things,” said Faribault manager Rick Vogel. “For one, and most importantly, they didn’t give up. Two, we played very well defensively. Lastly, the pitching staff will be deeper this year from what I have seen at practice.”.

Lakeville took an early lead after scoring twice in the top of the first and the Lobos added five more runs in the top of the third off starter Barry Fritz..

“It certainly was a different kind of game Friday night – nothing like I expected,” Vogel said. “Barry Fritz gave up seven earned runs in three innings. Usually he might give up that many runs in 28 innings.”.

Custer relieved Fritz in the top of the fourth and gave up a run, but the Flames didn’t allow another run all game..

“It was lights out after that,” Vogel said..

Custer allowed four hits and didn’t walk a batter in five innings, and he gave up just two hits in the final four innings..

Trailing 8-2 after 3 1/2 innings, the Flames scored three in the fourth to make it an 8-5 game. After leaving the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings, Faribault pushed three across in the seventh to force extras. The tying run scored on a wild pitch, and the winning run in the eighth came in on a wild pitch as well..

“The Lobos’ pitching staff was effectively wild, but it did catch up to them in the end,” Vogel said..

Faribault is away on Wednesday, when it faces the South Metro Saints at 7:30 p.m..

LAK 2 0 5 1 0 0 0 0 8 11 3
FAR 0 2 0 3 0 0 3 1 9 7 1.

Pitching lines:
Barry Fritz 3IP, 7H, 7R, 7ER, 2K, 2BB
Dave Custer (W) 5IP, 4H, 1R, 1ER, 3K, 0BB.

Hitting leaders:
Eric Sammon 2-3, 2B, SB, R; Shultz 1-1, RBI; Dusty Dienst 1-2, RBI, SB, 3BB; Kyle Green 1-4, 2B, RBI

Wednesday, May 7
Faribault Flames hope for hot start
Posted: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 3:36 pm Updated: 11:43 pm, Wed May 7, 2014.
By JOSH BERHOW jberhow@faribault.com

Flames manager Rick Vogel is happy Faribault can kick off its season at home, and his club won’t have to wait more longer.

The Faribault Flames open their season by hosting the Lakeville Lobos at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Bell Field. It’s the first of two straight home games for the Flames, who also host the Mill City Flour Stacks at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

“I always do my best to start our season at home,” Vogel said. “I was able to do that again this year. It is really important to start a season on the right foot. We are like any other team in any league − we play better at home.”

Faribault begins the season with its largest roster in club history with 22 players, 10 of which are under 40 years old. Vogel said the Flames should have more depth in their pitching rotation, and they also will have speed on the base paths and strong arms in the outfield.

“I’m always excited when a season of baseball starts, but I’m even more so this year,” Vogel said. “… We should be a fun and exciting team to watch this summer. I’m hoping we can go deep into the state tournament this year.”

Reach Sports Editor Josh Berhow at 333-3119, or follow him on Twitter.com @FDNjoshberhow

Tuesday, March 18
Faribault Flames one of host teams for state tourney
When the Faribault Flames started up four summers ago, Rick Vogel always envisioned a state tournament in the team’s future.

It took a few years, some lobbying and a league change, but the Flames got their wish.

Vogel, the Faribault manager, said the president of the Federal League recently emailed him to tell him that Faribault will be one of the sites for this summer’s Federal League State Baseball Tournament, which will likely be in mid- to late August.

“This last year everyone came out and saw how nice our field was, and there’s a history of Bell Field,” Vogel said on Friday, wearing a Flames jacket with a maroon hue. “A lot of coaches, they saw how nice the field still was and it brought back memories, and (their decision) was real easy once they came to play us at Bell Field. They realized, ‘Yeah, this would be cool, let’s put it in Faribault.’”

The Federal League State Tournament had three brackets in A, AA and AAA last season. Of the 16 teams that qualified for state, winners of their first-round games headed to the AAA bracket, and the losers went to the AA bracket. The teams that didn’t make the AA or AAA brackets were put into the A bracket.

The snow was still melting outside on Friday, but Vogel’s enthusiasm hinted that summer was just around the corner. The state tournament bid was a big accomplishment, he said, because of what it means for the team and town.

“It’s not all about the Faribault Flames, it’s something I want to do to bring into the community,” Vogel said. “People are coming into town, some from far away, and they might stay in hotels … they’ll spend money. It’s basically bringing money not into the Faribault Flames, but the community. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Having a chance to host a state tournament is one of the reasons the Flames left the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association for the Federal League 35 after the 2012 season.

“We left so we could get a chance to do something like this, and it happened,” Vogel said. “Not in our first year, but it happened this year.”

The Flames, who will sport a new logo this season, will also enter this summer, their second in the Federal League, with some holes to fill. Long-time player Chris Howell, who Vogel calls the best second baseman in the league, is among a few of the players who won’t return this season, according to Vogel. Vogel said that’s expected, though, as players make decisions to spend more time with family, complete household projects or simply leave because their bodies can’t handle the grind as they once did.

Todd Underdahl, who is a player/assistant coach for the team, suffered an injury at work and his status was uncertain, but Vogel – who calls Underdahl one of the pillars of the team – said he will be back at the very least to help coach again.

“Even if he doesn’t throw or hit all year, he’s still going to help the team,” Vogel said.

The Flames have yet to set their complete schedule for the summer, but those interested in trying out can contact Vogel at faribault_flames_baseball@hotmail.com.

“I really think that if it all comes together, we can put on a heck of a show for Faribault as far as league games, our Honor Our Vets game and hosting the playoffs,” Vogel said. “I’m really excited about the season.”

Reach Sports Editor Josh Berhow at 333-3119, or follow him on Twitter.com @FDNjoshberhow

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Saturday, July 13
FEDERAL LEAGUE BASEBALL • Union Hill 14, Faribault 3
Flames paying respect
Posted on July 12, 2013
by Josh

Chris Howell saves his best performances for the Honor Our Veterans game at Bell Field.

He knows his grandpa might be watching.

Howell, a Faribault Flames second baseman, finished 3-for-3 and scored two runs in the Flames’ 14-3 loss to Union Hill on Friday night. But, if you ask Howell, manager Rick Vogel or anyone else on the team, the result of the game was secondary to the cause, which is honoring those who have fought for their country.

“It’s kind of a way for me personally to feel that (connection) today,” Howell said. “So I try to give a little extra. It’s a big deal.”

Howell’s grandpa was a World War II veteran and passed away when Howell was a senior in high school. Howell, who served in the Air Force from 1988-92, said his most prized possession is his grandpa’s flag pole, which now sits in Howell’s front yard, just outside his bedroom window. It’s a daily reminder for him, and it brings tears to his eyes just talking about it.

“Every night I go to bed and grandpa’s flag is still flying,” he said. “It’s because of people like that why we are free today. You can’t discount that in any way.”

Howell is one of two veterans on the Flames’ roster, along with Vogel, who was the starting pitcher on Friday night. Veterans were honored between innings over the loudspeaker and the Color Guard presented the flag. Veterans were also encouraged to wear their uniforms.

“It’s the best thing that we can do to show our appreciation,” Vogel said. “We lost the game, but everyone that was there had a heck of a good time.”

Vogel gave up one run in the first inning but left with two outs in the second as a hard-hitting Union Hill team took advantage of some Faribault errors that extended the inning.

“These guys can hit the crap out of the ball,” said Chris Reuvers, who pitched the final four innings and allowed just one earned run. “If you are going to give them extra outs you are doomed. We gave them a lot of walks and a lot of free bases, and they are a good team.”

Dave Custer relieved Vogel in the second and retired the first batter he faced to end the inning, but he let in three runs in the third and gave up four straight hits to begin the fourth before Reuvers came in. The Pit Bulls, who ended the Flames’ perfect 3-0 record during their Honor Our Veterans games, finished with 16 hits, but only six of their runs were earned.

Faribault’s first run came in the first when Randy Grunseth singled home Howell, but the Flames didn’t score again until the sixth. Howell led off with a single and later scored on a John Carlson pinch-hit single. Scott Hanson singled to score Grunseth, who reached earlier in the inning on a fielder’s choice.

“It’s not so much that we lost, but what’s important is that we honored our veterans,” Vogel said. “They came out and had a lot of fun and enjoyed the evening, and that’s what it’s all about — more than winning.”

The Flames play at St. Paul at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

UNH 1 5 3 4 0 0 1 14 16 1
FAR 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 3 7 5

Hitting leaders: Chris Howell 3-3, 2R; Ross Spicer 1-3; Randy Grunseth 1-3, RBI, R; John Carlson 1-1, RBI; Scott Hanson 1-3, RBI

Pitching lines:
Rick Vogel (L) 1 2/3IP, 6H, 6R, 2ER, 4BB, 2K
Dave Custer 1 1/3IP, 8H, 7R, 3ER, 0BB, 1K
Chris Reuvers 4IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 3BB, 0K

Chris Howell

Tuesday, July 9
Faribault Flames prepare for annual Honor Our Veterans game
2012 Vets game
Posted on July 9, 2013
by Brendan Burnett-Kurie

Correction: Story has been updated with a 7:30 game time instead of 7 p.m.

The Faribault Flames are looking to extend their unbeaten streak while playing in their annual Honor Our Veterans game.

In order to do that, they’ll have to beat a team they never have.

The Flames host the Union Hill Pit Bulls at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, carrying into it a 3-0 record on Honor Our Vets day, but also an 0-6 record against the Pit Bulls. Something will have to give.

“I am hoping we can pull out a win and get some momentum moving into the ‘dog days’ ahead where we play nine games in 16 days,” manager Rick Vogel said.

The Flames enter the game with a 4-2 record, but have lost two of their last three, despite averaging seven runs per game and hitting .322 as a team. A 2.90 team ERA has been solid, but the team has allowed 17 unearned runs in six games.

“Our downfall thus far has been our errors in the field, which have been of the physical type, not mental,” Vogel said. “I am hoping with the right players playing in their rightful positions, we will eradicate this problem on Friday night.”

Veterans are encouraged to wear military caps and uniform tops and a color guard will present the flag before the game.

Monday, July 1
FEDERAL LEAGUE • Mill City 8, Faribault 2; Faribault 8, St. Anthony 4
Tim Wagner
Posted on July 1, 2013
by Brendan Burnett-Kurie

Despite playing with just nine position players in each game and committing seven errors in 13 innings, the Faribault Flames emerged from the weekend with a win and a loss to push their season record to 4-2, just three wins short of their total from last season.

The Flames picked up 10 hits on Friday but gave up six unearned runs in an 8-2 road loss to Mill City, then followed that up with eight hits in an 5-2 win over St. Anthony on Saturday at Bell Field.

“We’re continuing to hit the ball well,” manager Rick Vogel said. “We are hitting the ball even better than the stats indicate. We are hitting shots on a regular basis and when they fall, that is when we bunch our runs.”

While the swings were sweet, the defense wasn’t. Playing with a few guys out of position didn’t help as Faribault committed three errors against Mill City and four against St. Anthony.

“The story thus far this year is giving up unearned runs,” Vogel said. “I’m not making excuses, but I am sure it has a lot to do with guys not playing in their normal positions to fill in for players who cannot attend the game. That’s why you like to have a large roster in this league, so you can always be competitive.”

On Friday, Faribault trailed 3-0 heading into the top of the fifth when the Flames managed to put two runs on the board. But the Flour Sacks answered with five runs on four hits, a walk and two errors in the bottom of the fifth. Dave Custer was handed the loss after giving up three unearned runs in 4 1/3 innings. Chris Howell, Kyle Green and Chris Reuvers all had multiple hits.

On Saturday, with the game tied 1-1, the Flames looked to break the game open in the fourth when Todd Underdahl singled, Dave Dillon bunted for a single and Barry Fritz advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. But Rick Bauer followed by lacing a rope to third base that turned into a double play.

“If it would have been 12 inches either side (of the third baseman), I don’t think he would have made the play,” Vogel said. “It was a blur going down the third-base line.”

St. Anthony took its first lead with a run in the top of the fifth, but the Flames answered immediately with four runs in the bottom of the frame. Howell started things off with a single, followed by Scott Hanson walking and Tim Wagner scoring Howell with an RBI single. Green walked to load the bases for Underdahl, who made up for the previous inning by launching a three-run double to left field.

Rick Vogel pitched two hitless innings to open the game and Fritz earned the win in relief, allowing just one earned run on four hits and one walk in five innings.

The Flames are off for the next 11 days before hosting Union Hill in the annual Honor Our Vets game at 7:30 p.m. on July 12 at Bell Field.

FAR 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 10 3
MC 1 0 0 2 5 0 X 8 5 0

Hitting Leaders: Chris Howell 2-4, 2B, R; Todd Morris 1-4, RBI, R; Kyle Green 2-3, RBI; Chris Reuvers 2-3

Pitching Lines:
Dave Custer (L) 4IP, 2H, 4R, 0ER, 3BB, 0K
Barry Fritz 1IP, 3H, 4R, 2ER, 0K
Chris Reuvers 1IP, 0H, 0R, 1BB, 0K

STA 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 2 4 0
FAR 0 1 0 0 4 0 X 5 8 4

Hitting Leaders: Scott Hanson, 1-2, 2B, R, BB; Chris Howell, 1-4, R, SB; Tim Wagner, 1-3, RBI; Todd Underdahl 2-3, 2B, 3RBI; Rick Bauer 1-3, RBI.

Pitching Lines:
Rick Vogel 2IP, 0H, 0R, 2K, 3BB
Barry Fritz (W) 5IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, 0K 1BB

John Carlson

Monday, June 24
Federal league Faribault 15, Chaska 9 Nine-run third inning leads Faribault Flames over Chaska
Terry Schwichtenberg
Posted: Monday, June 24, 2013 3:52 pm Updated: 4:53 pm, Tue Jun 25, 2013.

By JOSH BERHOW jberhow@faribault.com

Chaska just couldn’t recover.

The Faribault Flames brought 14 batters to the plate in their nine-run third inning, and that cushion helped them endure the Diamonds’ late rally as Faribault won 15-9 on Saturday at Bell Field.

The crucial third inning broke open a 2-2 tie and gave pitcher Barry Fritz more than enough run support to work with. The Flames (3-1) finished with eight hits in the inning, and the rally started with a Chris Howell single which was followed by an error. Six consecutive runs then came across on five hits and a fly ball.

“I am happy with the way our team continues to bunch hits together,” said Flames manager Rick Vogel. “I hope we can continue to do that throughout the season. If we do, we should be able to win some games here and there.”

The game’s first pitch was delayed by about 40 minutes as Chaska (5-2) had some late-arriving players. The Diamonds had just enough to play the game, though, and Vogel said that worked in his team’s favor.

Fritz earned the complete-game win, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits and five walks. He struck out one and beaned two. Seven of his runs allowed came in the last three innings, but by then the damage was already done.

Despite the win, Vogel said the team needs to clean up its play defensively. The Flames committed three errors and have seven in their past two games.

“It really hurts when you give a good hitting team like Chaska second chances or another at-bat,” he said. “On the other side of that, we do make some timely defensive plays as well.”

The Flames’ first two runs came in the first inning when Kyle Green doubled to score John Carlson, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning. One batter later Green scored from second on a heads-up base running play off a Ross Spicer dribbler in the infield.

Faribault was scheduled to play at Union Hill on Sunday but the game was rained out. A makeup date has not yet been set.

The Flames play at Mill City at 7:45 p.m. on Friday before returning to Bell Field to host St. Anthony at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Faribault also received a boost earlier in the week, as Scott Hanson rejoined the team.

“It will be nice to have him back,” Vogel said. “We have a lot of games left to play. So we’ll see what happens when we have to start bunching games together in a short period of time. The fact that I think we have the most depth we’ve ever had should help us.”


CHA 0 2 0 0 2 3 2 9 10 4
FAR 2 0 9 0 1 3 X 15 15 3

Hitting leaders: Kyle Green, 3-5, 2B, 2RBI, 2R; Chris Reuvers, 3-4, 2RBI, 2R; Randy Grunseth, 2-5, 2RBI, R; Ross Spicer, 2-5, 2RBI, 2R, SB; Tim Wagner 2-4, 2R

Pitching line:
Barry Fritz (W) 7IP, 10H, 9R, 6ER, 5BB, 1K, 2HBP

Kyle Green

Friday, June 28
FEDERAL LEAGUE BASEBALL • Lumberjacks 8, Flames 5 Sixth-inning blow from Lumberjacks cools Faribault Flames' hot start
Ross Spicer
Posted: Monday, June 17, 2013 4:07 pm Updated: 9:41 pm, Tue Jun 18, 2013.

By BRENDAN BURNETT-KURIE bburnett-kurie@faribault.com

In the words of manager Rick Vogel, “it started out like a boxing match with both teams landing painful punches that put the other on the canvas.”

But the last blow came from the Minneapolis Lumberjacks on Friday night at Bell Field when a four-run sixth inning propelled the All-Star team from the cities to an 8-5 win over the Faribault Flames, who suffered their first loss of the season.

After a 2-0 start mixed in with four rain outs, the Flames (2-1) went into the game looking to throw four pitchers and rest ace Barry Fritz. Manager Rick Vogel penciled himself in as the starter and he pitched the first two innings, giving up one run.

The Flames countered with a run of their own in the bottom of the first, then took a 3-2 lead with two runs in the third. After the Lumberjacks gained a 4-3 edge, the Flames threatened in the fourth with runners on second and third and no outs, but an infield fly was followed by two strikeouts.

In the fifth, Faribault regained the lead with two runs, but left two runners on and weren’t able to land the knockout blow.

That came in the top of the sixth when the Lumberjacks took advantage of five walks from Chris Reuvers to score four runs without collecting a hit. In all, the Flames’ first three starters — Vogel, Dave Custer and Reuvers — walked eight and struck out none.

“I have to take most of the blame for the outcome,” Vogel said. “As soon as Reuvers put the first two on base in the sixth I should have yanked him. I should have known better. When a pitcher is not throwing a lot of strikes and is on the wild side, the defense gets back on its heels. That’s exactly what happened.”

The Flames ended up committing four errors in the game and the Lumberjacks scored five unearned runs, helping them overcome a 10-8 deficit in hits.

“Offensively we played well, but defensively we didn’t,” Vogel said. “You can’t make four errors against a team like the Lumberjacks and expect to win.”

The Flames did get consecutive hits in the bottom of the seventh but it wasn’t enough against the 5-1 Lumberjacks. Faribault hosts the Chaska Diamonds (5-1) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Bell Field.

LUM 0 1 1 2 0 4 0 8 7 3
FAR 0 1 2 0 2 0 0 5 10 4

Hitting leaders: Randy Grunseth 3-4, 2RBI; Todd Morris 2-4; Ross Spicer 2-3, 2R, RBI; Barry Fritz 1-3, RBI; Eric Sammon 1-4, R; Dusty Dienst 1-4, R

Pitching lines:
Rick Vogel 2IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 0K
Dave Custer 2IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 0K
Chris Reuvers (L) 1 2/3IP, 1H, 4R, 0ER, 5BB, 0K
Todd Morris 1 1/3IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K

Rick Vogel

Monday, June 3
FEDERAL LEAGUE BASEBALL • Faribault 2, St. Patrick 1 Faribault Flames, Barry Fritz both pick up second win of year
By BRENDAN BURNETT-KURIE bburnett-kurie@faribault.com

Barry Fritz rocks and throws during the Faribault Flames’ 2-1 win over St. Patrick on Friday at Bell Field. Fritz won his second game of the season by allowing just seven hits and one run in seven innings. (Photo courtesy of Ty Henry)

The Faribault Flames needed to defeat two opponents on Friday: The St. Patrick Shamrocks and the weather.

Done and done.

Despite a pair of rainstorms that dumped water on the field, the Flames were able to get in their Friday night showdown with St. Peter, winning 2-1 when a pair of fourth-inning runs stood up behind the pitching of Barry Fritz, who has won both of the Flames’ games this season.

After the first two rainstorms, things were looking iffy. A third storm was bearing down on Faribault Friday evening.

“We knew if it blew over the field another night of baseball would be lost,” Flames manager Rick Vogel said. “As luck would have it, the storm tracked just East of Faribault.”

Fritz, who has a 1.25 ERA through two games, allowed seven hits and one earned run while walking none and striking out five in a complete-game performance.

“The key for us in winning the game was the excellent pitching of Barry, timely hitting and making crucial plays when we had to,” Vogel said. “The key to his success thus far has been the not giving up free bases.”

The Flames (2-0) were out-hit 7-6, but a two-run fourth inning, that featured four of Faribault’s six hits, was all the offense Fritz needed.

Terry Schwitchtenberg led off the fourth with a single, Randy Grunseth singled and Todd Morris drove a deep line-drive double to left-field. But Grunseth was gunned down sliding head-first into home while trying to score from first. Chris Reuvers followed with an RBI single to score Morris and provide a much-needed insurance run.

The Flames didn’t get another hit the rest of the game.

“After that, we pretty much held on,” Vogel said.

The Shamrocks used three singles in the sixth to pull within one and had the bases loaded and nobody out with their 3-4 hitters coming to the plate.

“It looked pretty grim,” Vogel said. “That was when the timely plays came.”

Morris snagged a sharply hit ball as it skipped over the third-base bag and threw out a runner at home, Fritz then struck out St. Patrick’s cleanup hitter with a curveball which led to a 1-2-3 double play.

“I like what I’ve seen thus far to start the season,” Vogel said. “We are bunching hits and driving in runs when the opportunity presents itself. The defense is making plays when we have to.”

The Flames go on the road to take on the Veseli Vulcans (3-0) at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.


STP 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 7 0

FBO 0 0 0 2 0 0 X 2 6 2

Hitting Leaders:
Todd Morris 2-3, 2B, RBI, R, SB; Chris Reuvers 1-3, RBI; Terry Schwitchtenberg 1B, R

Pitching Line:
Barry Fritz (L) 7IP, 7H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 5K, 1HBP

Friday, May 17
FEDERAL LEAGUE BASEBALL • Faribault 10, Braemer 5 Faribault Flames kick off season with revenge win over Braemer
By BRENDAN BURNETT-KURIE bburnett-kurie@faribault.com

What a difference a year makes.

Last year the Faribault Flames lost 1-0 to the Braemer Bees in their season opener. This year, they turned the tables with a 10-5 win on Wednesday.

“I think we played pretty well, and made some very good plays,” Flames manager Rick Vogel said.

After collecting just two hits in last year’s opener, the Flames had seven this time around, helping themselves to a nine-run third inning that turned out to be the difference.

“We did our damage in the middle innings and then were able to hold on,” Vogel said. “We committed three errors — which led to at least three runs — and our pitching was not at its best, but it’s nice to walk away with a win to begin our season.”

Webster manufactured a run in the top of the second with a single, a hit batsman and a sacrifice bunt before an infield groundout forced a run home.

The lead didn’t last long as the Flames cobbled together three walks, six hits and an error for nine runs. Faribault added another run in the fourth when Randy Grunseth walked, stole second and came home on a line-drive single from Terry Schwichtenberg.

Faribault (1-0) hosts the Lonsdale Jokers at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.


WEB 0 1 0 2 0 2 0 5 6 3

FBO 0 0 9 1 0 0 X 10 7 3

Hitting leaders:
Eric Sammon 2B, RBI: Chris Howell 1B, 2RBI, SB; Ross Spicer 1B, 2RBI; Kyle Green 2-4, RBI

Pitching line:
Barry Fritz (W) 5IP, 5H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 0K, 2HBP

Reach Sports Editor Brendan Burnett-Kurie at 333-3129, or follow him on Twitter @faribaultsports

Friday, March 15
Faribault Flames switch from MSMABA to Federal League 35
The Faribault Flames need a new seamstress.

On the left shoulder of the Flames’ red and gold jerseys is a yellow patch signifying their membership in the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association. Now those patches will have to go.

After spending all three years of their existence in the MSMABA, the Flames have decided to jump ship to the Federal League 35, along with five other MSMABA teams to create a new six-team division in the now 22-member Federal League, which started play in 1986.

“I’m always excited when the season roles around, but I think I’m more excited than any year since our first,” Flames manager and founder Rick Vogel said. “Moving to this new league is a big step forward for us and where we want to go. I think it will be good for the Faribault community.”

The reason for the switch had many factors, including the opportunity – possibly even this season – of hosting the state tournament, a switch from 1-1 counts to 0-0 counts, the right to vote on league matters and the ability for 35- and 36-year-old team members to pitch.

The Flames will now play in a six-team Southern Division with the Union Hill Pitbulls, St. Patrick Shamrocks, Lonsdale Jokers, Veseli Vulcans and Webster Wildcats, all teams that decided to leave the MSMABA for the Federal League this offseason. The Flames will play home-and-away games against those five opponents, then play eight games against the existing 16 teams of the new league, most of which are located in and around the Twin Cities.

The exodus of six teams began when Union Hill manager Mike Prochaseka started looking at options.

“He got it started and got me on board and other teams followed behind,” Vogel said. “We’ve been beating this around but we didn’t want to be the only team that moved.”

One of the key reasons for switching is the 0-0 count. In the MSMABA, each batter walks to the plate with a 1-1 count, which makes games go quicker and reduces the number of pitches, but also limits bunting opportunities and diminishes the use of breaking balls.

“It’s important to me and our team because we’re playing real baseball,” Vogel said. “There’s arguments both ways. I think the 1-1 is an advantage to hitters because the pitcher will come in with something pretty sweet on the first pitch. I think with 0-0 there’s more strategy.”

Vogel is also excited about each team having a vote on league matters. The MSMABA, which was founded in 1979, used an executive committee, and Vogel said it has had the same self-appointed officers for 10 years.

Those committee members often chose the same locations for the state tournament, much to Vogel’s chagrin. Jordan, Union Hill, Shakopee, Veseli and Prior Lake almost always hosted, although Lonsdale was a host site this past season.

There is already talk of using Faribault’s Bell Field as one of four locations (with some combination of Veseli, Lonsdale, Union Hill and St. Patrick) for the 2013 Federal League 35 state tournament. Webster’s Donnie Topness spoke to the league about Bell Field, and the league has often had to pay for state tournament fields in the past, while Bell Field would be free.

“Faribault is gracious about that,” Vogel said. “This is why we like this league, they’re already listening to what we have to say.”

Another rule change that will affect the Flames significantly is the opportunity for younger pitchers. While both leagues set their age minimum at 35, in the MSMABA you can’t pitch until you’re 37. That affected the Flames’ Todd Morris, Kyle Green and Chris Reuvers last season. Also, the team can carry a 25-man roster even if it doesn’t have five players age 50 or older, which was a requirement to exceed a 20-man roster in the MSMABA. The Federal League also allows players to play even if they are competing in the Minnesota Baseball Association (Faribault Lakers, Morristown Morries, etc.).

The Flames enter their fourth season of existence with some excitement. They added age-35 players like Morris, Green, Eric Sammon and Dave Dillon last year and are expecting some new additions this season.

“We’re basically an old team getting younger,” Vogel said.

Last year, the Flames had a disappointing postseason after a 7-10 regular season, but showed promise when they beat Prior Lake at home, a team that finished second in the AA tournament, and lost 3-0 to Shakopee, which went on to win the AA tourney.

Faribault Daily News
Reach Sports Editor Brendan Burnett-Kurie at 333-3129, or follow him on Twitter @faribaultsports

Sunday, June 9
2012 Season

Monday, August 13
Faribault Flames trio tosses shutout in regular-season finale
Posted: Monday, August 13, 2012 7:36 pm | Updated: 6:01 pm, Tue Aug 14, 2012.
By JOSH BERHOW jberhow@faribault.com

Rick Vogel, Barry Fritz and Dave Custer helped the Faribault Flames finish the regular season on a high note.

The trio combined for seven shutout innings — Faribault’s first shutout of the season — and gave up just five hits in the Flames’ 8-0 win over Waconia at Bell Field on Sunday, the Flames’ final game before they begin the Senior Men’s State Tournament this weekend.

The pitching staff didn’t walk a batter and struck out six. Vogel pitched two hitless innings to begin the game and Fritz picked up the win in relief.

The Flames, who head into the playoffs with a 7-9 record, used seven hits and eight walks to down Waconia, which entered the game with a 10-4 record.

It’s all coming together as I hoped it would these past few weeks,” Vogel said. “We are starting to string hits together more often, work the opposing pitcher harder, steal bases, move guys over and find ways to produce runs.”

Vogel said the Flames did all the “little things” in the win. One example he gave was how Rick Bauer worked two walks and one resulted in a run. Bauer also had a bunt down the first-base line that led to the Flames’ first run in the third inning.

The Flames also wrapped up the regular season with an error-free game in the field.

“Defensively, we are doing what a good team does, such as making sure to get the lead runner on ground balls, executing cutoffs from the outfield to cut down a runner trying to advance an extra base and sometimes just knocking down a ball and keeping it from getting to the outfield with runners on base,” Vogel said. “If we continue to refine these little things and keep our momentum going into the playoffs we are going to be a very difficult team to beat.

WAC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 0
FAR 0 0 3 0 1 4 X 8 7 0

Hitting leaders: Dusty Dienst: 1-3, 2B, 2RBI; Terry Swichtenberg: 2-2, 2RBI; John Carlson: 1-1, R; Dave Dillon: 1-2, R; Chris Howell: 1-3, R, RBI; Kyle Green: 1-2, 2B, SB

Pitching lines:
Rick Vogel 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
Barry Fritz (W) 4H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
Dave Custer (S) 1H, 0R, 0BB, 4K

Reach Sports Reporter Josh Berhow at 333-3119, or follow him on Twitter.com @joshberhow
Reach Sports Reporter Josh Berhow at 333-3119, or follow him on Twitter.com @joshberhow

Monday, August 6
Faribault Flames play 18 innings on Saturday, finish with 1-1 record
Posted: Monday, August 6, 2012 6:28 pm | Updated: 6:16 pm, Tue Aug 7, 2012. By JOSH BERHOW jberhow@faribault.com

After a four-game hitting slump the Faribault Flames’ bats woke up to deliver a 7-3 win against the Minneapolis Bombers at Noble Park in Brooklyn Park on Saturday morning. The Flames then finished the different-team, different-location doubleheader with a 3-2 11-inning road loss to New Hope Saturday afternoon.

Faribault 7, Minneapolis 3

Dave Custer picked up his fourth win of the season and Todd Underdahl, Kyle Green and Terry Swichtenberg all had two hits in the Flames’ 7-3 win over the Bombers.

The Flames (6-9) trailed 3-1 after four innings but scored two runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Faribault had 12 hits and committed no errors.

“It was nice to see the bats come out of hibernation,” said Flames manager Rick Vogel. “It’s also nice to see the defense play error-free baseball. However, pitching and defense have not been much of an issue this season. It’s the run production that has been hurting us.”

Custer allowed eight hits and three earned runs in the win, but didn’t give up a hit or a run after the third inning. He walked one and struck out five.

“He will start slowly sometimes and get better as the game progresses,” Vogel said.

Vogel said Green, a catcher, has been a “spark” since joining the team.

“He has done an outstanding job of handling the pitching staff,” Vogel said. “He is solid in every aspect of the game. There aren’t many catchers in this league that can run like him either … well, except Shane Thom, and we have him, too.”

New Hope 3,Faribault 2 (11)

Faribault ended Saturday by dropping an 11-inning heart breaker to New Hope, which was the Flames’ second 11-inning loss in 12 days.

Faribault led 2-0 after four innings, but the Bandits answered with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. That tie stood until New Hope pushed the walk-off run across in the 11th.

Hours after their seven-run outburst against Minneapolis, the Flames struggled to find key hits against New Hope. They left two runners on base in the fifth inning and the team’s best opportunity came in the sixth inning.

Green worked a leadoff walk and then stole second, and then an Underdahl single to right put runners at the corners. After Underdahl stole second, two runners were in scoring position with no outs.

The next two batters struck out and flew out, but Barry Fritz walked to load the bases and keep the inning alive. It ended, however, on a groundout.

“It’s hard to swallow that kind of opportunity to put the pressure on an opposing team and not push a run across,” Vogel said.

The Flames also stranded Green on third with less than two outs in the eighth, Chris Howell on second in the ninth and Todd Morris on second in the 10th.

Fritz took the loss, allowing three runs — two earned — on nine hits and four walks. He struck out four.

“Barry pitched another fabulous game, but didn’t get the win,” Vogel said.

Up next

The Flames (6-9) host Waconia at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Bell Field to close the regular season before beginning the Senior Men’s State Tournament.

FAR 0 1 0 0 2 2 2 7 12 0
MIN 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 8 2

Hitting leaders: Chris Reuvers, 1-3, 2RBI; Todd Underdahl, 2-3, 2R, HBP; Kyle Green, 2-4, 1R; Todd Morris, 1-3, RBI, 1R; Tim Wagner, 1-3, 2B, 2R; Terry Swichtenberg, 2-4, RBI, 1R; Dusty Dienst, 1-4, RBI

Pitching line:
Dave Custer (W) 7IP, 8H, 3R, 3ER, 1BB, 5K

FAR 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 10 1
NH 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 3 9 0

Hitting leaders: Todd Underdahl 3-4, 1R, 1BB; Tim Wagner 2-5, 2RBI

Pitching line:
Barry Fritz (L) 11IP, 9H 3R, 2ER, 4BB, 4K

Reach Sports Reporter Josh Berhow at 333-3119, or follow him on Twitter.com @joshberhow

Friday, July 27
Faribault Flames make tradition of winning Honor Our Veterans game
Jacob Nevills, Grand Forks Air Force Base Honor Guard

Airman 1st Class Jacob Nevills and the Grand Forks Air Force Base
Honor Guard take the field for the National Anthem at the start
of the Faribault Flames’ third annual Honor Our Veterans game
at Bell Field on Friday. The Flames won 5-3 over Le Center.
(Brendan Burnett-Kurie/Daily News)

Posted: Friday, July 27, 2012 10:32 pm | Updated: 5:34 pm, Sat Jul 28, 2012.
By BRENDAN BURNETT-KURIE bburnett-kurie@faribault.com

Dave Custer settles down on mound and Flames come from behind to win third straight Veterans Game

The Faribault Flames tradition of recognizing local veterans doesn’t end with a pre-game ceremony. For all three years of the Honoring Our Veterans game, the Flames have capped off their penultimate evening with a win.

Friday was no different, as the Flames (5-7) rode the swell of pride from seeing the local American Legion Color Guard and active duty Air Force members from the Grand Forks (N.D.) Honor Guard present the colors to a 5-3 come-from-behind win over Le Center at Bell Field.

“The whole reason we’re able to play this game is because of our fathers, our grandfathers, who defended this country and kept us free to be able to do stuff like this,” said Flames second baseman and Air Force veteran (1988-92) Chris Howell. “You have to respect that and honor that. This is one way we can do it.”

Throughout the game the names and service records of players, pre-game ceremony participants and those in attendance were read over the loudspeakers, to a constant applause from the crowd of more than 50.

“It’s kind of fun because we had some people out here watching us,” said Flames winning pitcher Dave Custer. “It’s nice to have people cheering when you do something good.”

But it didn’t always look like the Flames would do something good. They fell behind 3-0 by the middle of the third and only managed three hits all game, but they strung together enough walks, sacrifice bunts and alert baserunning to score five unanswered runs.

“We’ve had trouble getting some runs,” Flames manager Rick Vogel said. “We were going to play some small ball and manufacture some runs. That’s what we were able to do today.”

Custer (3-2) gave up two runs in the top of the first on two hits and two walks, then coughed up one more in the second on a walk, a stolen base and a single. But from there he cruised, giving up just four hits and one walk in the final five innings, despite coming off a taxing 11-inning performance on Sunday against Shakopee.

“A couple of days rest is all it takes,” Custer said. “I do a little lifting, a little stretching and pace myself. You have to play within your own ability. I know I can’t go out there and throw 90 mph, I have to throw it where they can’t handle it.”

Custer may not have been throwing 90, but he had probably 20-30 mph on the Le Center starter, whose pitches were so slow, the players were comparing them to slow-pitch softball heaves in the dugout. Despite their scoffing at the speed, the Flames struggled to make solid contact, at times blaming it on the 1-1 counts they start with not giving them time to adjust to the change in speed.

Faribault got on the board in the second when Tim Wagner walked, was bunted to second and scored when the Le Center first baseman lost a throw from short in the sun and scurried out of the way.

In the bottom of the fourth, Kyle Green singled and stole second, then went two bases and scored when the Braves forgot to cover home on Todd Morris’ sacrifice bunt. Green, who came into the game in the third inning, also made three key plays at third base, twice ranging to his right to snag balls down the line and once diving to his left and throwing a runner out from his knees.
“It’s always big when you get a play at third and get the out and it gets everyone pumped up,” Green said. “I have a good first baseman who helped me out over there.”

The Flames finished their comeback in the fifth when Shane Thom and Eric Sammon walked. Thom came home on an error by the Braves shortstop, then Morris blasted a double to left-center to score Sammon and Bill Storch.

“It’s a good feeling,” Vogel said of the comeback, which was the second in as many veterans games. “It came together for us.”

The Flames host St. Peter at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
LC 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 7 3
FAR 0 1 0 1 3 0 X 5 3 1

Hitting leaders: Todd Morris 1-2, 2B, 3RBI; Kyle Green 1-2, SB, R; Chris Howell 1-2, BB, SB; Eric Sammon, BB, R; Shane Thom BB, SB, R; Tim Wagner BB, R

Pitching line:
Dave Custer (W) 7IP, 7H, 3R, 2ER, 4BB, 5K


Thursday, July 26
Faribault Flames can't find offense in home loss to St. Louis Park
Faribault Flames pitcher Barry Fritz
throws to home during the Flames’ 3-1 loss
to St. Louis Park at Bell Field on Wednesday.

Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 12:34 am | Updated: 3:58 pm, Fri Jul 27, 2012.
By JOSH BERHOW jberhow@faribault.com

The pitching and the defense have been there for the Faribault Flames.

It’s the offense that manager Rick Vogel is worried about.

The Flames had just three hits in a 3-1 loss to St. Louis Park at Bell Field on Wednesday, and that came three nights after Faribault was shut out by Shakopee in an 11-inning loss. But just two days before the loss to Shakopee the Flames exploded for nine runs, so Vogel knows the offense is there.

“So far this season we have been in every game, but the reason we are not winning is because we are not manufacturing runs,” Vogel said.

Vogel started against St. Louis Park but exited with three runs already home and the bases loaded with two outs. Barry Fritz came on in relief, struck out the next batter to end the threat and didn’t allow a run the rest of the game.

“Barry came in and shut them down,” Vogel said. “I thought for sure we were going to win the game, but we were just not hitting the ball and manufacturing runs. We got some work to do.”

Fritz worked out of jams in the third and sixth innings, too. The first two runners of both of those innings reached base but Fritz buckled down and didn’t allow any more damage.

The Flames (4-7) scored their only run in the first inning when Dusty Dienst reached on an error and then scored on another error two batters later. Faribault ended the inning with a bases-loaded strikeout.

Dave Dillon, Chris Howell and Dienst had the Flames’ only hits. Dillon singled in the first inning and Howell and Dienst both had hits in the fifth.

The Flames host Le Center at 7 p.m. on Friday at Bell Field for their annual “Honor Our Veterans” game. Vogel says the “Honor Our Veterans” game is the team’s most important of the season. It’s also a game the Flames have yet to lose.

STL 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 2
FAR 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 1

Hitting leaders: Chris Howell 1-3; Dusty Dienst 1-2; Dave Dillon 1-2

Pitching lines:
Rick Vogel (L) 2/3IP, 3H, 3R, 2ER, 3BB, 1K
Barry Fritz 6 1/3IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 7K

Monday, July 23
Faribault Flames exact revenge on Prior Lake, take Shakopee to 11th
John Carlson

John Carlson came on in relief
and pitched 2 2/3 innings of three-run
ball in the Flames’ 9-8 eight-inning
come-from-behind win over Prior Lake on Friday.

(Photo provided)

Posted on July 23, 2012
by Brendan Burnett-Kurie

Chris Reuvers thought he was done for the day. Cleats off, relaxing in the Flames’ dugout and nursing a sore hamstring, he’d done his part for the Faribault Flames on Friday against Prior Lake.

But an injury on the field sent Reuvers scurrying back onto the diamond and he helped ignite a bottom-of-the-eighth rally that gave the Flames an improbable 9-8 come-from-behind win over Prior Lake.

The Prior Lake game was the first of a tough weekend slate for the Flames (4-6), who also lost 3-0 to Shakopee. Prior Lake was the top seed in last year’s playoffs and eliminated the Flames, then was eliminated by Shakopee which went on to win the MSMABA AA title.

On Friday, it appeared Prior Lake was cruising to another win over the Flames. Leading 7-0 midway through the third, the Mariners were in control.

But then Faribault scored six runs in the bottom of the inning to pull within one thanks to five walks and four timely hits.

“I was thinking to myself, let’s get a run or two to make this game interesting and then all of a sudden the team came to life,” Flames manager Rick Vogel said. “The team really scrapped and fought back to get back in the game.”

After Prior Lake added a run in the fourth, the Flames tied it up with two more in the sixth.

In the bottom of the eighth, Reuvers returned to the game and led off with a walk, followed by John Carlson getting hit by a pitch and Dave Dillon advancing them both with a sacrifice bunt. Chris Howell stepped to the plate and came up with the game-winning sacrifice fly to left field to score Reuvers, bad hammy and all.

“I was trucking home and I did make it,” said Reuvers, a 1996 Faribault High School grad. “That’s the Falcons spirit.”

“I have seen and played a lot of baseball,” Vogel said. “But our comeback was the best I’ve seen in a long time … maybe ever.”

Vogel took Barry Fritz off the mound in the third, replacing him with Carlson, who gave up three runs in the next 2 2/3 innings before Fritz returned. Fritz finished with 5 1/3 innings pitched, giving up five runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out two.

Shakopee 3, Faribault 0

Dave Custer turned in what Vogel called “the gutsiest performance as a pitcher I have personally seen” as he threw 11 innings, 10 of them without allowing a run on Sunday.

Custer didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning and worked out of jams in the fifth and 10th, when he walked the bases loaded before ending the inning with a strikeout.

“He was all heart and determination,” Vogel said.

In the 11th, Shakopee led off with a walk and two bunt singles to load the bases. The next batter hit a line drive back to Custer, who was nearly able to double-off the runner on first. The winning run came on a Texas Leaguer just out of the reach of Howell, although the runner on third likely would have tagged up anyway.

Mike Anderson reached in the bottom of the 11th on an error and Terry Schwitenberg singled him to third, but the Flames couldn’t mount a comeback and finished the game with just three hits against Shakopee’s Craig Baumann and Brad Keenan, who also didn’t allow a walk and combined for 12 strikeouts.

The Flames host St. Louis Park at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday followed by their annual “Honor Our Veterans” game against Le Center at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Bell Field.

PL 2 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 8 12 0
FAR 0 0 6 0 0 2 0 1 9 6 0

Hitting leaders: Chris Howell 3BB, RBI; Dusty Dienst 2-3, RBI; Eric Sammon 1-4, SB, RBI; Kyle Green 1-3, SB, RBI; Dan Rud 1-4, 2RBI

Pitching lines:
Barry Fritz (W) 5 1/3IP, 7H, 5R, 5ER, 4BB, 4K
John Carlson 2 2/3IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 2K

SHA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 312 2
FAR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 2

Hitting leaders: Dave Dillon 2-4; Terry Schwichtenber 1-3
Pitching line:
Dave Custer (L) 11IP, 12H, 2R, 3ER, 8BB, 3K

Reach Sports Editor Brendan Burnett-Kurie at 333-3129, or follow him on Twitter @faribaultsports
Reach Sports Editor Brendan Burnett-Kurie at 333-3129, or follow him on Twitter @faribaultsports

Tuesday, June 19
Faribault Flames can't ignite against Searles
Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 4:35 pm | Updated: 10:33 pm, Wed Jun 20, 2012.
By BRENDAN BURNETT-KURIE bburnett-kurie@faribault.com

The Faribault Flames can’t seem to put together a winning streak.

After beating the Southwest Outlaws on June 10, the Flames were hoping to win back-to-back games for the first time all season against the Searles Bullheads on June 18. Through four innings, it looked like that might happen.

But Searles scored four runs between the fifth and sixth innings and pulled away for a 6-3 victory at Searles Memorial Park.

“We’ve been in every game, but we haven’t been pulling out as many wins as we are capable of,” Flames manager Rick Vogel said. “I am hopeful once we string together two wins in a row, we will start to roll.”

The Flames (3-4) got RBIs from Todd Underdahl and Dan Rud in a three-run third inning that gave them a 3-2 lead. Searles scored two in the first, then added one in the fifth and three in the sixth. The Flames stranded four runners in the fourth through sixth innings with less than three outs and grounded into three double plays in the game.

“Timely hits just weren’t there, again,” Vogel said.

Vogel started and went three innings, giving up one earned run on one hit and three walks. He struck out four. Dave Custer (2-1) got the loss in relief, giving up four earned runs on eight hits in three innings. He walked none and struck out two.

The Flames play at Union Hill at 7 p.m. on Friday.

FLA 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 3 4 2
BUL 2 0 0 0 1 3 X 6 9 0

Hitting leaders: Todd Underdahl 1-23, R, RBI; Dan Rud 2-3, R, 2RBI

Pitching lines:
Rick Vogel 3IP, 1H, 2R, 1ER, 3BB, 1HBP, 4K
Dave Custer (L) 3IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 2K

Monday, June 11
Faribault Flames continues win one, lose one pattern
To put how close the Faribault Flames’ losses this season have been in perspective, they suffered their worst defeat of the season on Saturday in Lonsdale. When they lost 4-2.

The Flames’ (3-3, 2-2 River Valley League) first two losses of the season were by one run each. And on Sunday they bounced back by beating the Southwest Outlaws 5-2.

“It’s been a topsy-turvy first six games for us this year,” Flames Manager Rick Vogel said. “The pitching, in my mind, has been outstanding and has kept us in all six games. You can’t really complain too much when you lose three games and the difference is four runs.”

Jokers 4, Flames 2

On Saturday, the Flames couldn’t find open space in the field, only striking out three times but collecting just four hits against the Jokers.

“The balls just didn’t fall for us,” Vogel said.

Faribault stranded six runners in scoring position and gave up three unearned runs after jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. In the third, the Flames had a chance to break the game open with runners on first and third with one out. But Randy Gruseth hit a line drive back to the pitcher and Eric Sammon was doubled off first to end the game.

“If the ball would have been two inches higher, there was a good chance Sammon would have scored,” Vogel said. “He was practically standing on second when the ball was hit. It was just one of those days.”

Barry Fritz got the loss, despite giving up just one earned run in seven innings. He walked none and struck out three.

Flames 5, Outlaws 2

This time it was Faribault’s turn to come from behind. Trailing 2-1 in the middle of the fourth Dan Rud led off with a single, then after two strikeouts, Sammon walked and Dave Dillon singled in Rud to tie the game. Dillon stole second and Dusty Dienst walked to load the bases. Rick Bauer followed with an RBI single to give Faribault a lead it would never relinquish.

The Flames added two more runs in the sixth as the bats awoke with 10 hits. Rick Vogel pitched three innings of no-hit ball, then ceded to Dave Custer, who got the win with four innings of relief. Custer gave up two hits and one run while walking one and striking out five.

“Once the bats stay consistent and we cut down on our errors, we will be a difficult team to beat,” Vogel said. “We already are, and we aren’t playing the baseball we are capable of.”

The Flames travel to play the Searles Bullheads at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

FLA 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 4 3
LON 0 0 3 0 0 1 X 4 10 2

Hitting leaders: Randy Gruseth 1-3, 2RBI

Pitching lines:
Barry Fritz (L) 7IP, 10H, 4R, 1ER, 0BB, 3K

STW 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 1 1
FLA 1 0 0 2 0 2 X 5 10 2

Hitting leaders: Eric Sammon, 2-3, 2B, 3R, BB; Dave Dillon, 1-1, 1RBI, 1R, 3BB; Dusty Dienst, 2-3, 2RBI, BB; Rick Bauer, 2-4, 2RBI; Todd Morris, 2-2, 2B, 2BB

Pitching lines:
Rick Vogel 3IP, 0H, 1R, 0ER, 4K, 2HBP
Dave Custer (W) 4IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 5K

Sports Editor Brendan Burnett-Kurie may be reached at 333-3129. Follow him on Twitter @faribaultsports

Monday, June 4
Bats get hot as Faribault Flames even record
Posted: Monday, June 4, 2012 9:38 pm | Updated: 3:43 pm, Tue Jun 5, 2012.

by Brendan Burnett-Kurie

After collecting 12 hits in their last 22 innings, the Faribault Flames erupted for 12 hits in seven innings in a 10-5 road win over the Twin City Goats at Garden Park in Edina on Sunday. With the win the Flames improved to 2-2 and 1-1 in the River Valley League.

“Our bats got hot from the get-go,” Flames manager Rick Vogel said. “Even though we didn’t score the top of the first, I could see the guys were playing and swinging more relaxed. I knew right away the bats were waking up.”

The Flames opened the scoring with a three-run second. Chris Reuvers started the inning with a single, followed by Todd Morris and Rick Bauer loading the bases with walks. After Mike Anderson knocked in one with a sacrifice fly to left and Bill Storch re-loaded the bases with a walk, Dust Dienst slapped a two-run single.

The Flames added two more in the third to go up 5-0, and after the Goats made it 5-3 headed into the fourth, Faribault added two more in each of the fourth and fifth.

Dave Custer pitched all seven innings, giving up six hits and five runs – two earned – with four walks and five strikeouts. He retired the last six batters he faced, three of them by strikeout.

“Dave was solid as always even though I’ve seen him throw better,” Vogel said. “He needed a long start to work out some of the kinks. The more work Custer gets in, the better he gets as the season progresses.”

The Flames play at Lonsdale at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, then play in St. Patrick against the Southwest Outlaws at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

FLA 0 3 2 2 2 0 1 10 12 3
GOA 0 0 3 0 2 0 0 5 6 1

Hitting leaders: Chris Reuvers, 3-4, 2RBI, 2R; Dust Dienst, 3-5, 2RBI, R; Dave Dillon, 1-3, 2B, 2RBI, R; Todd Underdahl, 2-3, RBI, R

Pitching lines:

Dave Custer (W) 7IP 6H 5R 2ER 4BB 5K

Sports Editor Brendan Burnett-Kurie may be reached at 333-3129. Follow him on Twitter @faribaultsports

Friday, June 1
Faribault Flames pick up first win with walk-off single
Eric Sammon crushes a double to deep center field
in the fourth inning of the Faribault Flames' 2-1 eight-inning
win over Webster on Friday at Bell Field.
Sammon came around to score the Flames' first run.
(Brendan Burnett-Kurie/Daily News)

Posted: Friday, June 1, 2012 11:04 pm | Updated: 10:54 pm, Sat Jun 2, 2012.

Faribault Flames pick up first win with walk-off single By BRENDAN BURNETT-KURIE bburnett-kurie@faribault.com Huckle Media, LLC

The Faribault Flames are used to one-run games. Now they’re used to winning one.

The Flames won their first game of the season 2-1 in eight innings over Webster on Friday night at Bell Field, their third straight one-run game to open the season.

Faribault (1-2, 1-1) won it in the bottom of the eighth when John Carlson was hit by a pitch and Chad Ferris singled him home.

“It was a really good game,” Flames manager Rick Vogel said.

Barry Fritz pitched a complete-game for the Flames, giving up one run in the first inning and putting up donuts from there on out. He surrendered six hits and struck out four. He worked out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the eighth which featured a 15-minute delay when the lights went out.

“He got into jams but he got himself out,” Vogel said. “He was pretty crafty. He throws a lot of changeups and off-speed and mixes things up. He doesn’t blow people away but he throws strikes.”

Eric Sammon scored Faribault’s first run when he doubled to center in the fourth and came around on a pair of wild pitches. Carlson and Dave Dillon each added a hit.

The Flames travel to Edina on Sunday to play the Twin City Ghosts at 4 p.m.

Monday, May 14
Faribault Flames out-dueled in season opener
Posted: Monday, May 14, 2012 4:09 pm | Updated: 12:15 am, Tue May 15, 2012.

Faribault Flames out-dueled in season opener By BRENDAN BURNETT-KURIE bburnett-kurie@faribault.com Huckle Media, LLC | 0 comments

Runs were at a premium in the Faribault Flames season opener. So when the Braemer Bees pushed one run across in the top of the third, it stood up.

Three Flames pitchers combined to give up just one run on four hits, but the Faribault bats managed just two hits against Braemer’s ace in a 1-0 home loss on Saturday.

“I liked the way we played baseball,” Flames player-manager Rick Vogel said. “We got all the guys available in to play and we got accomplished what we wanted to. Even though we lost the game, so to speak, we won on all the fronts I cared about.”

The Flames turned two double plays and didn’t commit an error all game. Vogel and Dave Custer each threw two shutout innings, while Barry Fritz lost the game while giving up one run on four hits in three innings of work.

“We still had more guys to throw,” Vogel said. “The nice thing about us this year is we have more depth than most.”

The Flames had a chance to tie the game in the sixth when Chris Reuvers reached third, but a groundout ended the inning. Braemer reached the Class A championship game last year before losing to the Perham Silver Pirates.

“I liked the attitude of the team after the game was over,” Vogel said. “(They were) not down on themselves or anybody else.”

The Flames’ scheduled Saturday home game against Eden Prairie has been canceled. Faribault hosts Northfield at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Saturday, May 5
Faribault Flames season opener extinguished
Posted: Saturday, May 5, 2012 2:25 pm | Updated: 8:01 pm, Sat May 19, 2012.

Faribault Flames season opener extinguished By BRENDAN BURNETT-KURIE bburnett-kurie@faribault.com Huckle Media, LLC

Faribault Flames manager Rick Vogel had been looking forward to his team’s season opener on Saturday evening, but it wasn’t to be.

After getting out of work, he walked around Bell Field and quickly realized that couple with the rain still to come, the Flames wouldn’t be able to host Webster at 7 p.m. to open the 2012 season.

The Flames, Faribault’s over-35 adult baseball team, will now open its season at 4 p.m. on May 12 when it hosts Bramer.

Sunday, June 9
2011 Season

Wednesday, August 31
Flames cap successful second season with state bid
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Wed, 08/31/2011 - 23:32
Josh Berhow, jberhow@faribault.com

Game 1
FAR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PLK 0 1 0 0 0 1 X 2 6 0

Pitching line:
Barry Fritz 6IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 1BB, 3K

Game 2
FAR 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 3 5 1
PER 2 0 1 0 1 5 X 9 9 0

Pitching line:
Dave Custer 5IP, 6H, 4R, 3ER, 2BB, OK

Hitting Leaders: Chris Howell 2-4, R, SB; Tim Wagner 2-4, R, RBI

Game 3
FAR 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 3 5 1
LON 0 2 0 0 2 1 X 5 4 2

Pitching lines:
Barry Fritz 6IP, 5H, 5R, 3ER, 1BB, 4K

Game 4
Pitching lines:
Rick Vogel 3IP, 1H, 2R, 1ER, 4BB, 4K
Dave Custer 5IP, 3H, 5R, 4ER, 2BB, 4K

Hitting Leaders: Chris Howell 2 1B, R, 2BB

The Faribault Flames have been in existence for just two years, and already the Flames have qualified for a MSMABA State Tournament.

After finishing with a 1-3 record at this year’s tournament spanning over the last couple of weeks, Flames player/manager Rick Vogel said next year’s goal is now simple: continue to have a winning record or better, win early at the state tournament and, of course, get better.

Prior Lake 2, Flames 0

Prior Lake hurler Mike Firr cruised through the Flames’ lineup in the state tournament’s opening game. Firr no-hit the Flames and walked just one batter, Terry Schwichtenberg, in the fifth inning. Firr struck out 14 batters.

“There really isn’t a whole lot you can say when you run into a pitcher like Mike,” Vogel said. “In the six years I have played in this league I have never seen a pitcher with such impressive stuff.”

Facing Firr was Flames starter Barry Fritz, who allowed just six hits and two earned runs in the loss. Fritz walked one and struck out three, allowing only a couple of run-scoring singles to account for Prior Lake’s runs.

“Barry pitched another solid game for us,” Vogel said. “You can’t fault a pitcher who only gives up two runs and pitched as well as he did against the No. 1-seeded team in the state.”

Fritz had defensive help, too. Dusty Dienst and Chris Howell turned three double plays up the middle, and Vogel said defensively it was the entire team’s best game of the season.

“We gave Prior Lake all we had and fell short,” Vogel said. “I’m sure they were a little uneasy going into the sixth inning only being up by a run. We didn’t hit the ball that often but when we did, we did with authority. The line drives were just right at their defenders.”

Perham 9, Flames 3

Vogel called the Flames’ 9-3 loss to Perham, the eventual Class A Champion, a “baseball hangover” after the Flames’ loss to Prior Lake.

“We gave Prior Lake all we could and fell short and didn’t play to our potential in the next game against Perham,” Vogel said. “Everyone who has played baseball and enjoys watching knows what I mean.”

Perham led 2-0 early and never lost the lead. The Flames tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the fifth, but Perham retook the lead with a one-run bottom of the fifth and then closed the game with a five-run sixth inning.

Dave Custer took the loss, giving up four runs — three earned — in five innings.

“Typical Dave Custer,” Vogel said. “He kept us in the game.”

Lonsdale 5, Flames 3

After splitting with Lonsdale during the summer, the Flames fell 5-3 in their third game of the state tournament.

Vogel called it a “friendly rivalry” between two close teams, since both teams broke into the MSMABA at the same time.

“Lonsdale did have a game plan,” Vogel said. “They didn’t send their best against us early in the game, and we had opportunities to score and break the game wide open early and we didn’t. It came back to haunt us.”

Fritz pitched the complete game, allowing five hits and three earned runs. A two-run outfield error in the fifth inning secured Lonsdale’s win.

Flames 7, Ripley 5

The Flames ended the state tournament, and their season, with a 7-5 win over Ripley. Vogel and Custer each split pitching duties to allow a combined four hits.

“It was a nice way to end a season to win the last one,” Vogel said. “We have come so far in just our second year.”

Thursday, August 18
Flames face No. 1-seed Prior Lake
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Thu, 08/18/2011 - 20:48
Brendan Burnett-Kurie, bburnett-kurie@faribault.com

The No. 16 Faribault Flames will face No. 1 Prior Lake at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Jordan. (Daily News file photo)

Before the Faribault Flames started their second season in May, player/manager Rick Vogel set out a series of goals.

1. Have a .500 season or better. The Flames finished the regular season 11-5. Check.

2. Compete with the big guys. The Flames played fifth-seeded Belle Plaine to within three runs and beat eighth-seeded Jordan 9-3. Check.

3. Have players that understand team. “Big check mark,” Vogel said.

4. Compete with the best teams for a title that means something. They’re ready to tackle this one.

The Flames were selected as the No. 16 seed in the MSMABA AA-A Championships and will take on No. 1 seed Prior Lake (15-1) at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Jordan. Faribault and Prior Lake have not played this season.

“Myself and the team are very excited about this opportunity,” Vogel said. “Every year there is a big upset in the opening round. This year it might as well be us pulling off the big upset.”

Faribault will play the winner or loser of the Jordan-Perham game in Union Hill at either 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. on Sunday. By beating Prior Lake, Faribault would remain in the AA bracket, but with a loss to Prior Lake, Faribault would be competing for the Class A title.

Vogel said he was initially disappointed by getting the last seed in Class A-AA, but eventually came around on the idea.

“After I settled down I realized that maybe it was the best thing that could have happened,” he said. “We play the top-ranked team the first game. Maybe they overlook us, aren’t ready, pitch their second-best and look toward their second game instead of concentrating on us. I have seen that sort of thing happen many times in this game.”

The Flames will start Barry Fritz on the mound, who is 3-2 on the season with a save and a 2.21 ERA. The offense is led by cleanup hitter Shane Thom’s .440 average, with Randy Grunseth (.407) and Tim Wagner (.417) also carrying batting averages above .400.

Monday, August 15
Flames beat Veseli to improve seeding
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Mon, 08/15/2011 - 20:52
Josh Berhow, jberhow@faribault.com

FAR 0 3 1 1 0 0 0 5 10 1
VES 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 3 6 0

Pitching line:
Dave Custer 5 1/3IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 2K, 4BB, 2HB (W)
Rick Vogel 1 2/3IP, 2H, 0R, 0K, 1BB (S)

Hitting leaders: Randy Grunseth 2-3, BB, R, RBI; Terry Schwichtenberg 2-3, HBP, R, RBI; John Carlson 2-3, RBI, SB; Shane Thom 1-2, 2B, 2BB, R; Scott Hanson 1-2, RBI, SAC; Tim Wagner 1-3, RBI; Chris Howell 1-3, R

The Faribault Flames’ 5-3 win over Veseli on Sunday was just what the Flames needed, especially with what the Flames have creeping up on them.

Flames player/manager Rick Vogel said Scott Hanson described the Flames situation perfectly after the win, saying: “This is exactly the kind of win we needed before going to the tournament. Most likely every game will be similar to this one.”

The only thing that remains for the Flames (11-5 in league play) is the state tournament, which begins on Friday night. Seedings haven’t been announced yet.

On Sunday, the Flames scored three second-inning runs and didn’t trail again.

Shane Thom started the inning with a leadoff walk, and Terry Schwichtenberg reached after getting beaned.

Hanson then dropped a bunt, and after the Veseli third baseman fielded it Thom scored from second, aided by a good jump from the pitch.

Tim Wagner then knocked in Schwichtenberg, and John Carlson capped the three-run inning with an RBI single scoring Wagner.

The Flames added a run in the third with three straight singles and scored their final run in the fourth with an RBI single from Randy Grunseth.

“It was nice to see the guys execute the little things and get the hit when the opportunity was there to score a run,” Vogel said.

The Flames held their 5-0 lead until the sixth when Veseli finally got to Flames starter Dave Custer, who was eventually replaced by Vogel.

Down by two, Veseli had runners on second and third with no outs in the seventh, but Vogel got the next batter to pop out. The last batter then hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

Monday, August 8
Fritz continues dominance, but Flames still lose
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Mon, 08/08/2011 - 23:39
Josh Berhow, jberhow@faribault.com

Barry Fritz allowed just five hits and two earned runs in the Flames’ 3-0 loss on Sunday. (Flames Photography)

FAR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 1
BRA 0 1 0 0 0 2 X 3 5 2

Pitching line:
Barry Fritz 6IP, 5H, 3R, 2ER, 5K, 2BB (L)

Hitting leaders: Dusty Dienst 2-4; Scott Hanson 1-3; John Carlson 1-3; Barry Fritz 2-3

After losing two of their last three — and being shut out in both — the Faribault Flames are searching for answers.

Despite outhitting Braemer six to five on the road on Sunday, the Flames couldn’t score a run and wasted a strong pitching performance from Barry Fritz in a 3-0 loss.

“We are not going to make excuses,” said Flames player/coach Rick Vogel. “Yes, we are banged-up at the moment with Shane Thom, Bill Storch and Randy Gunseth being injured. Yes, we were missing some other key players on Sunday, but we are not manufacturing right now, and it has been hurting us. It’s not like we aren’t hitting the ball.”

Hitting with runners in scoring position is what hurt the Flames on Sunday.

The Flames stranded at least one runner in scoring position in each inning and left a total of nine on base for the entire game.

They trailed 1-0 after two innings and the Bears scored two more runs in the bottom of the sixth to push their lead to three. That was all they needed.

Fritz was strong on the mound, allowing three runs — two earned — on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

“Barry’s pitching performance was rock solid as always,” Vogel said. “His record of three wins, two losses and one save doesn’t really reflect the kind of year he is having.”

Vogel said the Flames will use a few lengthy batting practice sessions this week to try to cure their hitting woes. But on a positive note, the Flames should have their entire lineup healthy when the MSMABA State playoffs begin Aug. 19.

“You couldn’t ask for anything more than that,” Vogel said.

The Flames play at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Veseli.

Tuesday, August 2
Flames cap weekend with Webster win
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Mon, 08/01/2011 - 22:16
Brendan Burnett-Kurie, bburnett-kurie@faribault.com

Dusty Dienst drops down a bunt this season for the Faribault Flames. Dienst went 2-for-4 with a double, triple and four RBIs in the Flames’ 7-3 win over Webster on the road on Sunday. (Daily News file photo)

FLA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3
BPT 0 1 0 0 1 1 X 3 3 0

Pitching lines:
Dave Custer (L) 4IP, 0H, 1R, 0ER, 5BB, 3K
Tim Wagner 2IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, 5BB, 2K

FLA 0 2 1 4 0 0 0 7 7 2
WEB 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 3 3 3

Pitching lines:
Rick Vogel (W) 4 1/3IP, 2H, 1ER, 7K, 4BB
Dave Custer (S) 2 2/3IP, 1H, 0ER, 2K, 0BB

Hitting leaders: Dusty Dienst 2-4, 2B, 3B, 4RBI; Randy Grunseth 2-4, 2B, RBI; Chad Ferris 1-2, 2BB, RBI

The Faribault Flames (10-4) bounced back from a tough 3-0 loss to Belle Plaine (11-1) on Friday with a 7-3 win over the Webster Wildcats on Sunday.

On Friday, Faribault allowed two unearned runs and 10 walks and only managed three hits but kept the game 1-0 until the bottom of the fifth thanks to four no-hit innings from Flames starter Dave Custer.

“It was one of those games where the effort and the desire was there, but the key hits and plays were not,” player/manager Rick Vogel said. “It is not very often when a starting pitcher throws no-hit baseball for four innings, gives up an unearned run and gets a loss for their effort.”

Custer and Tim Wagner combined to allow only one earned run and three hits in six innings. Faribault stranded three runners in scoring position on three separate occasions with less than two outs.

“We couldn’t get that RBI hit to score a run,” Vogel said.

The Flames rallied in the sweltering heat on Sunday behind 4 1/3 strong innings from Vogel and 2 2/3 innings of relief from Custer.

“I don’t ever remember pitching under those kind of conditions,” Vogel said. “Well, maybe when I was 18 or 21 years old, but never in this stage of my days of baseball.”

Vogel pitched four scoreless innings before giving up three runs — one earned — in the bottom of the fifth. Custer came in for 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, giving him 6 2/3 innings without an earned run in 48 hours.

“I quickly ran out of gas,” Vogel said. “Dave came in to quickly put away any possible threat from Webster to come back. He was masterful in his performance. His change of speeds and breaking stuff really did the trick.”

Custer is now 3-2 on the season with a save and a 1.56 ERA.

“His two losses are really only glitches that he really doesn’t deserve,” Vogel said.

The only downside in Sunday’s win was Faribault’s average with runners in scoring position. The Flames stranded seven runners on Sunday.

“Maybe we need to start manufacturing more runs with squeeze plays, hits and runs and things like that,” Vogel said.

The Flames will play at Braemer at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Their final regular season game is at Veseli on Aug. 13.

Monday, July 25
Flames’ pitching overcomes errors
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Mon, 07/25/2011 - 22:53
Brendan Burnett-Kurie, bburnett-kurie@faribault.com

Faribault Flames’ Chris Howell smiles after sliding into second base in the first inning. (Photo by Flames Photography)

JOR 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 6 2
FAR 3 1 0 5 0 0 X 9 7 5

Pitching lines:
Dave Custer (W) 5IP, 6H, 2R, 0ER, 2BB, 8K
Rick Vogel (S) 2IP, 0H, 1R, 0ER, 1BB, 4K

Hitting leaders: Chris Howell 2-4, 2R; Randy Grunseth 2-4, 2R, RBI; Tim Wagner 1-3, 2RBI; Terry Schwichtenberg 1-2, RBI; Chad Ferris 2B, BB, 2R

Dave Custer and Rick Vogel combined to pitch seven sterling innings as the Faribault Flames beat the Jordan Ailers 9-3 at Bell Field on Sunday.

The Flames (11-4 overall, 9-3 in division) didn’t allow an earned run and Custer and Vogel combined for 12 strikeouts and just three walks to help Faribault overcome five errors.

“It’s not very often a team can commit five errors and come away with a win,” player/manager Rick Vogel said. “I think the fact we gave up only three walks had a lot to do with that.”

Custer improved his record to 3-1 with a 2.07 ERA while Vogel earned his first save of the season.

Faribault fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first but bounced back to score three runs in the bottom of the first on four hits. The Flames added one run in the second and five in the fourth to seal the win.

“The team finds different ways to win,” Vogel said. “Which is a testament to our players’ character. Players don’t get down on one another. They pick each other up and move on to the next play or next at-bat. The guys don’t dwell on past events which in turn has led to our success thus far.”

The Flames will host Union Hill at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Monday, July 11
Flames celebrate ‘Honor Our Veterans’ game with comeback win
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Mon, 07/11/2011 - 23:53
Brendan Burnett-Kurie, bburnett-kurie@faribault.com

Faribault Flames players stand during the national anthem as Faribault American Legion Post 43 and Morristown American Legion Post 149 (not pictured) members present the colors at Bell Field on Saturday. The Flames won their “Honor Our Veterans” game 7-4 over Lonsdale. (Josh Berhow/Daily News)

LON 0 1 2 1 0 0 0 4 6 2
FAR 1 0 0 1 3 2 X 7 9 1

Pitching line:
Rick Vogel 3IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 3K
Tim Wagner 4IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 3K (W)

Hitting leaders: Shane Thom 2-4, 2 2B, 2R, 2RBI; Dusty Dienst 2-2, 2SAC, R; Chris Howell 1-2, 2BB, 2R; Randy Grunseth 1-4, R, RBI; Terry Schwitchtenberg 1-3, BB; Tony Langerud 1-2, BB; Todd Underdahl 1-3, R; Barry Fritz

The Faribault Flames have been in existence for two years, and for two years they have made it a point of emphasis to honor veterans during the season.

Saturday night was the Flames’ second annual “Honor Our Veterans” game, when five members of each the Faribault American Legion Post 43 and Morristown American Legion Post 149 presented the color guard before the first pitch at Bell Field, a game the Flames won 7-4 against Lonsdale.

“We honor our vets every year to show our appreciation for everything they have done for us over the years and all the sacrifices they have made for us,” said Flames manager Rick Vogel. “We are really proud to do this for them every year. It gives us a good feeling, and we’re putting something back into the community that’s given us so much in return already.”

Flames players could be seen shaking hands and thanking Legion members during warmups, and it was easy to recognize the mutual appreciation between them.

“No, we are (the privileged ones being here),” said Post 43 member Dennis Rinehart. “We are proud to serve.”

As for the game, the Flames played what Vogel said was their “most fundamentally sound game of the year” to down Lonsdale, which entered the game with a 7-0 record.

The Flames trailed 4-2 heading into the fifth when they scored three runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead for good.

Barry Fritz hit a sacrifice fly to the outfield to ignite the comeback in the fourth. That coupled with Tim Wagner’s relief appearance — he allowed just three hits and one run in four innings — changed the course of the game.

“That fly ball along with Tim Wagner’s gutsy pitching performance in the top of the fifth really turned around the momentum in the game,” Vogel said. “His breaking stuff was nasty and his change of speeds kept them off-balance, allowing the guys behind him to make the plays.”

Wagner struck out three and didn’t walk a batter in the win.

Shane Thom led the Flames’ offense with a 2-for-4 effort, which included two doubles, two runs and two RBIs. He led off the fourth with a double and later scored on the sacrifice fly from Fritz. Thom’s second double of the game came in the fifth inning and scored two runs. Dusty Dienst also had a two-hit game.

The Flames play Jordan at 5 p.m. on Saturday in Jordan.

Monday, June 27
Flames rebound with pair of convincing home wins
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Mon, 06/27/2011 - 23:44
Josh Berhow, jberhow@faribault.com

SEA 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 5 1
FLA 1 3 3 0 1 1 X 9 10 2

Pitching line:
Dave Custer 7IP, 5H, 2R, 0ER, 3BB, 8K (W)

Hitting leaders: Scott Hanson 1-2, 2B, 2BB, RBI; Dusty Dienst 2-3, RBI, 2SB; Chad Ferris 2-4, 2B, 2RBI, SB; Terry Schwichtenberg 1-3, 2B, 2RBI

MIN 0 3 0 0 2 5 10 4
FLA 6 5 3 1 0 15 14 1

Pitching line:
Shane Thom 5IP, 10H, 5R, 4ER, 5BB, 7K (W)

Hitting leaders: Scott Hanson 3-4, 2B, 2R, RBI; Tim Wagner 3-4, 2R; Randy Grenseth, 2-3, 2R, RBI; Thom, 3-3, 2 2B, 3B, 2R, 5RBI

After a painful loss on Wednesday, the Faribault Flames regrouped and took two games this weekend at Bell Field by beating the Shoreview Seafoam Seahawks 9-2 on Saturday and the Minneapolis Bombers 15-5 in five innings on Sunday.

“I was really pleased with the way the guys responded this weekend after a painful loss Wednesday to St. Peter,” said Flames coach Rick Vogel. “I was confident the team would put the game behind them and move on, and that is just what the team did.”

Flames 9, Seahawks 2

Chad Ferris and Terry Schwichtenberg each had a pair of RBIs and Dave Custer was magnificent on the mound as the Flames topped the Seahawks 9-2 on Saturday.

Custer scattered five hits and allowed no earned runs with eight strikeouts.

“Dave Custer was very effective,” Vogel said. “His location was good, his breaking ball kept Shoreview off-balance, and he was sneaky fast at times. It’s a lot of fun for me, and I’m sure for our team, to see a crafty 50-plus veteran bring the ball to the plate that way. He didn’t look 50 at all.”

The Flames lost Bill Storch to a sprained ankle in the bottom of the first when he slid back to first base to avoid getting doubled-off on a caught line drive. Vogel said he doesn’t expect Storch back until August, but said the Flames have good enough depth this year where they can cover the loss.

Flames 15, Bombers 5

The Flames piled on six runs in the first inning and five in the second to take a commanding lead and eventually cruise to a 15-5 five-inning win over the Minneapolis Bombers on Sunday.

Shane Thom picked up the complete-game win on the mound and had a 3-for-3 effort at the plate which included two doubles, a triple and five RBIs.

Scott Hanson and Tim Wagner chipped in with two hits apiece.

Friday, June 24
Flames falter against Saints
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Fri, 06/24/2011 - 21:51
Brendan Burnett-Kurie, bburnett-kurie@gmail.com

Rick Vogel searches for answers in the fifth during the Faribault Flames’ 14-4 loss to the St. Peter Saints on Wednesday. (Photo provided by Flames Photography)

FLA 0 0 4 0 0 4 8 4
SPS 5 1 3 1 5 14 10 0

Pitching lines:
Scott Hanson (L) 1/3IP, 4H, 5R, 3ER, 1BB, 0K
Rick Vogel 4 2/3IP, 6H, 9R, 7ER, 6BB, 4K

Hitting leaders: Bill Storch 1-2, R; Tim Wagner 2-3, 2B, 2RBI, R; Scott Hanson 1-3, RBI; Randy Grunseth 2-3, RBI; Matt Bergtad 1-2, R; Greg Pyle 1-2, R

A long layoff didn’t treat the Faribault Flames kindly, and neither did the St. Peter Saints.

The Saints scored in every frame to beat Faribault 14-4 in five innings at Veterans Field on Wednesday. With the loss, the Flames are 5-2 overall and 3-2 in their division. St. Peter is a perfect 6-0 this year after finishing 17-2 last year and winning the Class A Championship.

“The Saints, I think, have the best team I have ever seen since I have played baseball in the MSMABA,” Flames coach Rick Vogel said. “Not only are they solid throughout their entire batting order, they don’t do things to beat themselves.”

The Saints didn’t commit an error and only gave up one walk, while Faribault committed four errors — including two routine fly balls in the first inning — and gave up seven walks.

“Statistics don’t usually lie, and they didn’t Wednesday,” Vogel said. “Scott Hanson should have been out of the first inning after four batters. You have to play perfect baseball to beat a team like them.”

St. Peter jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first and led 6-0 before Faribault scored four runs in the top of the third to pull within two. But the Saints wasted no time extending the lead with three runs in the third, one in the fourth and five in the fifth.

“Hitting-wise we stayed with them,” Vogel said. “The roof came crumbling down on us in the bottom of the fifth. I have to take complete responsibility for that. I should have put someone else in to pitch. Terry Schwechtenberg was available and I didn’t use him because he hasn’t thrown since the beginning of last year. I should have known better. I was tired and losing it.”

After the game, Hanson told the team, “OK guys, we can do one of two things this weekend: We can hang our heads or be hungry to win again. Me, I’m hungry.”

The Flames host Shoreview at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and the Minneapolis Bombers at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Monday, June 13
Flames complete weekend sweep
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Mon, 06/13/2011 - 23:46

Brendan Burnett-Kurie, bburnett-kurie@faribault.com
Dave Custer throws a pitch in the Flames’ 7-5 win against the Minnesota Goats at Bell Field on
Sunday. (Photo provided by Flames Photography)

GRE 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 2 8 1
FLA 0 4 0 2 0 1 X 7 9 2

Pitching lines:
Rick Vogel (W): 4IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, 2BB, 5K
Tim Wagner (S): 2IP, 4H, 0R, 0BB, 1K

Hitting leaders: Scott Hanson 1-2, 2RBI; Randy Grunseth 2-4, R; Shane Thom 2-2, R, RBI; Chad
Ferris 2-3, R, SB; Tim Wagner 1-2, 2R, SB

GOA 0 0 0 1 4 0 0 5 7 4
FLA 0 0 6 0 0 1 X 7 5 3

Pitching lines:
Dave Custer (W): 4 1/3IP, 5H, 5R, 2ER, 2BB, 6K
Barry Fritz (S): 2 2/3IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 3K

Hitting leaders: Chris Howell, 2-3, 2R; Todd Underdahl 1-3, R, 2RBI; Chad Ferris 1-2, R, RBI;
Barry Fritz 1-3, RBI

The Faribault Flames broke out the brooms over the weekend as they swept a pair of games against the Edina Greys and the Minnesota Goats.

The Flames are now 5-1 overall and 3-1 in their division, second behind the Saint Peter Saints, who they will play on June 22.

Flames 7, Greys 2
The Flames opened play on Saturday with a 7-2 win over Edina at Bell Field.

Rick Vogel earned the win in his first start of the season, giving up one earned run in four innings, striking out five while allowing four hits and two walks. Tim Wagner earned the save, throwing three scoreless innings and striking out one.

“I pitched well,” said Vogel, who is also the team’s coach. “I washed the dishes clean and Tim dried them and put them in cupboard.”

Trailing 1-0, the Flames scored four runs in the bottom of the second, then added two more in the fourth and one in the sixth. They finished with nine hits.

“Key hits and fundamental baseball led to many of the runs scored,” Vogel said. “Just the simple stuff like making the sacrifice bunt, moving runners into scoring position by hitting the ball to the right side and getting the RBI fly ball to the outfield with less than two outs and a runner on third.”

Flames 7, Goats 5
A powerful six-run third inning propelled the Flames to victory at Bell Field on Sunday. The Goats were close to pulling off the comeback, with runners on first and second in the top of the seventh, but a 6-4-3 double play ended the game.

Fifty-one-year-old Dave Custer pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits while striking out six for the win. Barry Fritz earned the save with 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

“His control was excellent,” Vogel said of Custer. “He was pretty much chased out of the game due to miscues by the defense behind him. Barry came in to relieve, and that was exactly what he did. He came in and threw strikes, didn’t give the Goats free passes and pretty much shut them down.”

The Flames play in St. Peter at 7:30 p.m. June 22.

Tuesday, June 7
Flames catch fire in third inning to take down Northfield 6-3
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Tue, 06/07/2011 - 01:00

Brendan Burnett-Kurie, bburnett-kurie@faribault.com

Faribault Flames’ Randy Grunseth is all smiles after slapping a two-run single in the Flames’ 6-3 win over Northfield on Sunday. (Photo provided by Flames Photography)

FLA 0 1 3 0 0 2 0 6 5 1
NTH 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 3 10 5

Pitching line:
Barry Fritz 7IP, 3R, 2ER, 10H, 1BB, 4K

Hitting leaders: Randy Grunseth 2-4, 2RBI, 1R; Shane Thom 1-2, 1B, HBP, BB; Terry Schwichtenberg 1-1, 3BB, 1R; John Carlson 1-2.

The Faribault Flames took advantage of limited hits as they moved to 3-1 on the season with a 6-3 win over Northfield on Sunday.

Barry Fritz pitched a complete game, allowing two earned runs on 10 hits and one walk while striking out four.

“Our success was due to Barry’s control, good defense, timely hitting and a lack of control by the Miller’s starting pitcher,” manager Rick Vogel said. “Good teams find a way to win. That is what we are trying to become ... a solid team that can find a way to win, even if when you don’t overpower the competition.”

The Flames had only five hits, but took advantage of eight walks, five of which came in the top of the third, when the Flames scored three runs to take a 4-1 lead. Randy Grunseth slapped a two-run single and Matt Bergstad had an RBI walk in the inning.

In the sixth inning a costly Northfield passed ball on a third strike and a throwing error on a pick-off attempt led to the Flames’ final two runs.

The Millers had their best chance in the bottom of the third. Down 4-1, the Millers got a lead-off single, but a 1-6-3 double play kept Fritz out of trouble. A sharp single and a towering double pulled Northfield within 4-2. With a runner on second, Fritz dropped a nasty curve in to the next batter who tapped it weakly back to the mound for a groundout.

Sunday, May 22
Eden Prairie jumps on Flames in first
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Mon, 05/16/2011 - 23:56
Brendan Burnett-Kurie, bburnett-kurie@faribault.com

FAR 3 0 2 0 0 0 0 5 6 2
EDP 6 0 0 0 0 5 X 11 9 2

Hitting Leaders: Scott Hanson 3-4, 2RBI, 2R; Dusty Dienst 1-3, RBI; Barry Fritz 1-3, RBI

Pitching lines:
Tim Wagner 3IP, 5H, 6R, 2ER, 4K, 3BB
Dave Custer 2IP, 4H, 5R, 4ER, 2K, 2BB
Rick Vogel 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 2K, 2BB

Eden Prairie bookended a bunch of donuts with a whole lot of runs. The Faribault Flames took on the Eden Prairie Lion’s Tap and lost 11-5 on the road on Sunday. Eden Prairie scored six runs in the first and five in the sixth.
The Flames actually got on the board first, scoring three runs in the top of the first. But three walks, two errors and two hits in the bottom of the inning led to a 6-3 Lion’s Tap lead. Faribult did manage two runs in the third to pull within 6-5, but Eden Prairie scored five more runs in the bottom of the sixth on three hits and two walks to put the game away. The Flames had their chances. They had runners on second and third in the third inning and Chad Ferris was stranded after a two-out double in the fifth.
On the way home, Chris Howell put it best.
“If we would have made them put a zero on the board in that first inning, it would have changed the entire complexity of the game,” he said.

Saturday, May 14
Rain doesn’t put out Flames
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Sat, 05/14/2011 - 22:57
Brendan Burnett-Kurie, bburnett-kurie@faribault.com

Faribault Flames’ Bill Storch slaps a ball foul as the rain comes down during the first inning of the Flames’ 5-3 win over Webster at Bell Field on Saturday. Storch scored two runs in the game. (Brendan Burnett-Kurie/Daily News)

WEB 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 3 4 1
FAR 4 0 0 1 0 0 X 5 4 1

Batting leaders:
Bill Storch 1-2, BB, 2R; Randy Grunseth 1-3, 2RBI

Pitching line:
Barry Fritz 5IP, 1H, 1R, 0ER, 4K, 2BB
Scott Hanson 2IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER, 1K, 1BB

In the first inning, the rain fell strong and steady. By the second it had let up.
But even if it hadn’t, the Faribault Flames were ready to play. “A lot of people wouldn’t have wanted to play a game in this kind of weather conditions,” coach Rick Vogel said. “But ourselves and Webster wanted to get this game in.” Or maybe it was mostly Vogel. As the rains hit their nadir in the bottom of the first, and Vogel stood with his hands shoved in his pockets against the cold while coaching third base, one player joked in the dugout that the only reason they were playing is because “Rick wants to play baseball so badly.”
In the end, the Flames took advantage of some early wildness from the Webster pitcher and held on for a 5-3 win at Bell Field on Saturday. Faribault (2-0) scored four times in the first inning, mostly on walks and a pair of infield hits, then added one more run in the fourth. Meanwhile, Webster battled to pull within two runs after scoring twice in the top of the sixth. “They gave us a great game,” Vogel said. “They surprised us. They’re going to be a good team this year. We had to hold our breathe because they played good baseball. They had good pitching and didn’t make many errors.”
The field was in good condition at the start of the game, but after the first inning rain shower, puddles started appearing on the back of the infield and along the third-base line. Didn’t matter to Vogel.
“I really don’t think the field made any difference,” he said. “It was just as soft for them as it was for us.”
Barry Fritz got the win with five innings of one-hit ball, striking out four and walking two while giving up one run.
“We kept our head on our shoulders,” Vogel said. “We’ve been playing together and practicing since February. Everyone trusts each other. We have the type of team I really wanted us to have. Nobody gets down on anyone. I don’t want to get overexcited, but I think with the guys we have we’ll be competitive through the rest of the year.”
The Flames will take on the Wildcats in a week in an official MNSMBA league game at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Faribault’s next game is at 5:30 p.m. in Eden Praire on Sunday.

— Sports editor Brendan Burnett-Kurie may be reached at 333-3129.

Monday, May 2
Flames off on right foot
Submitted by Faribault Daily... on Mon, 05/02/2011 - 23:58

Brendan Burnett-Kurie, bburnett-kurie@faribault.com Scott Hanson squats behind the plate during the Faribault Flames’ 5-2 win over Morristown in a spring training scrimmage on Sunday. (Photo provided by Faribault Flames Photography)

Leading hitters: Tim Wagner 1-3, 2RBI; Chris Howell 1-3, RBI; Scott Hanson 2-3, R; Terry Swichtenberg 1-2; Greg Pyle 1-2; Matt Bergstad 1-2; Tory Jeanes RBI, BB.

The game was a day late, but certainly not a dollar short. The Faribault Flames men’s baseball team defeated Morristown 5-2 in a seven-inning spring training scrimmage on Sunday, a day after it was orginally scheduled to play.
“It was cold, though, but we had fun and played solidly to beat a good, young team,” Flames coach Rick Vogel said. Faribault scored a run in the third and four in the fourth to build a 5-0 lead. Morristown, which features a much younger roster than the Flames, scored twice in the top of the fifth, although only one was earned. “What was most gratifying, I think, to the players on our team is the fact that we were not only able to compete with a much younger team, but were able to pull out an earned win,” Vogel said. “Some of those guys were 20 years younger than us. In some cases 30 or so.” Tim Wagner knocked in two runs and Chris Howell had an RBI for the Flames. Scott Hanson went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Although pitching statistics were not kept, Shane Thom, Scott Hanson, Rick Vogel and Barry Fritz combined to give up just one earned run in seven innings. “Good pitching and timely defense enabled us to stay out of trouble,” Vogel said. “I was impressed with the way the guys played.”

Thursday, March 24
Members of the Faribault Flames, including Barry Fritz (left) and Greg Pyle (right), have used the Bethlehem Academy gym to get in some early-season workouts before heading outside. (Tyler Mason/Daily News)

Since he started playing Little League baseball in 1968, there weren’t many summers where Dave Custer wasn’t on a baseball diamond.

He played in high school in a Chicago suburb, spent time playing college ball and moved onto county league games after that. After moving to Faribault in 2000, Custer joined the Lakers. In 2006, however, he gave up the sport for good.

Or so he thought.

“I thought I was retiring,” he said. “Like Brett Favre, I had to return.”

So in 2010 he joined the Faribault Flames, a team formed last summer as part of the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association for men 35 and older. When Custer joined the Flames, he was only a few years removed from the sport.

The same can’t be said for many of his teammates. Terry Schwichtenberg hadn’t played in 13 years. Bill Storch was away from baseball for 24 years.

“A lot of us were somewhat new to the game,” Storch said. “We played it before, but a lot of us had taken a 10-, 15-, 20-year break from the game. Now this year, we’re looking to expand and grow as a team.”

With many of last year’s roster returning — and five new faces added — the Flames are hoping the decades of rust are now gone. Helping the cause has been the team’s early-season indoor practices. Faribault is using Bethlehem Academy’s Van Orsow Auditorium as a way to get somewhat of a head-start.

“It’s just fun getting out here, getting the arm loose and the smell of leather,” Mike Anderson said.

“I’m not sure, but I think we’re the only team in the MSMABA that’s been practicing for six weeks,” said Rick Vogel, the Flames’ founder and co-coach. “We’re trying to get a jump on everybody.”

Like Custer, Chris Howell had been around the game prior to joining the Flames. He played for the Webster Wildcats for two years leading up to the 2010 season, and has seen the growth of the Flames.

“People are kind of getting to know who we are,” he said. “Hopefully we get a few more ballplayers out here that want to come out and play. I just love to see guys that haven’t played for a while come out.”

Just like any team, Faribault’s goal for the 2011 season is to improve. With another year of experience — and, hopefully, the rust knocked off — the Flames are confident they can make some noise this summer.

“We’ve got a year behind us,” Schwichtenberg said. “We kind of know what we can do and what we can’t do — more of what we can’t do anymore but used to be able to do — and adjust accordingly.”

“Everybody wants to win,” Custer said. “The guys realize that we can win.”

— Sports reporter Tyler Mason may be reached at 333-3119.

Thursday, February 3
A continuous passion
By: Tyler Mason
Faribault Daily News
Posted: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 11:57 pm

Rick Vogel is the founder and co-coach of the Faribault Flames, who this summer will compete in their second season in the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association. The league is for men 35 and older. (Tyler Mason/Daily News)
The snow may not melt for a few more months, but that hasn’t stopped Rick Vogel from planning ahead for the upcoming baseball season.

Vogel, the founder and co-coach of the Faribault Flames, can’t help but look back at the team’s inaugural season last year as he prepares for season No. 2. The Flames — playing in the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association, for men 35 and older — may not have finished with a winning record, but Vogel still deemed it a success.

He’s hoping the Flames can make the leap this summer into a contender.

“I’m really excited about this year,” Vogel said. “I do think eventually that we will be a team everybody will be talking about. ... I want the town to get excited about who we are and what we represent.”

The Flames aren’t wasting any time getting back into the swing of things — literally. Last year’s team waited until the snow was gone from the fields to hit the diamond.

This year, Vogel said Faribault will be using the Bethlehem Academy gymnasium once a week beginning later this month for throwing and hitting until the Flames take their practices to the diamond.

When the season arrives, Vogel’s squad may just be the best-dressed team in the MSMABA. Vogel wanted the team to have secondary road jerseys — a rarity in the league, he said — which will be the team’s red color with the word “Flames” across the front.

For the second-year team, image is important.

“Darn it, if we’re not going to win the state championship this year, at least we’re going to look good trying,” Vogel said.

Raising money to cover the new uniforms and other expenses has kept Vogel busy this winter. The team currently has 16 sponsors, and he hopes to add a few more before the season begins. The Flames have also held a number of fundraisers and will continue to do so prior to the season.

Vogel said the interest in the team has grown since last year. Already on board for the new season is Scott Hanson, baseball coach for Faribault Academies. Hanson played four seasons with the Minneapolis Bombers before deciding to join a team closer to home.

“I just told Rick I was going to play one more year for Minneapolis and join the Flames after that,” said Hanson, who pitches and catches. “Now I get an opportunity to be a Faribault Flame. Rick’s done a nice job of going out and getting sponsors and getting guys to play.”

“He’s a great pick-up for us this year,” Vogel said of Hanson. “He’s such a good athlete.”

Hanson also brings a coach’s perspective to the team, as does Todd Underdahl, an assistant baseball coach at Randolph who will co-coach with Vogel this season.

That aspect — among plenty else — has Vogel fired up for the Flames’ new season.

“The nice thing about these two guys, neither one of them has a big ego,” Vogel said. “They just love the game. They just want to have fun. That’s what this league’s about in the first place anyway.”

— Sports reporter Tyler Mason may be reached at 333-3119.

Sunday, January 30
Offseason makeover
By: Mark Remme Posted: Saturday, October 23, 2010 6:56 pm Email Print Offseason makeover

As part of this month’s upkeep projects, Bell Field will receive a new batting cage behind the third base dugout. The batting cage will have a concrete surface. (Mark Remme/Daily News) The Faribault Parks and Recreation Department teamed up with volunteers from six local baseball teams to refurbish Bell Field this month.

On Oct. 9, volunteers built a new pitchers mound, reconstructed the clay and dirt around home plate, edged out the first and third baselines and installed new bases. This weekend work began on a new batting cage behind the home third base dugout, which will feature a concrete surface.

The ballpark, home to two high school teams, two town team organizations and the VFW and American Legion programs, was showing signs of extra upkeep this year, Parks and Recreation Department Buckham Center Director Paul Peanasky said.

“We started talking in the summer about improvements that are needed,” Peanasky said. “This year it just kind of fell together. We had the right people out there, and they started organizing themselves and they’ve had some productive meetings.”

Each year field work is done to keep Bell Field in playable condition, but this offseason all six of the local baseball teams have pitched in to tackle several larger issues with the ballpark.

Along with the new pitchers mound and home plate area, work was done to even out the infield so fielders will have less trouble with bad hops on ground balls.

Jay Valentyn, a local parent who has worked closely with the projects, said Met-Con helped provide the use of concrete forms for the batting cage, I & S Engineers and Architects surveyed the infield and Kaiser Concrete Co. donated materials as well.

Peanasky and members of the local baseball teams agree it has been a joint effort.

“In years past it was Rick Rost and Bob Fielitz that did a lot of work to the field in the fall,” Bethlehem Academy coach Scott Hanson said. “Once they retired from coaching, it was time to find someone else to step up.”

Through summer meetings, team members, parents and volunteers have done just that.

“I call it the Faribault baseball community,” Flames coach Rick Vogel said. “It’s not just the Falcons or the Lakers or the Flames. It’s everyone working together.”

Peanasky said budget-wise the city did not purchase anything it doesn’t normally buy while making the upgrades to the field. The baseball teams plan to fund raise to pay for the new batting cage, Peanasky said.

Hanson said annual upkeep projects like this could become the norm to keep Bell Field in top shape.

“Bell Field is a pretty unique place,” Hanson said. “You just figure with all the people that use it, you should take good care of it.”

— Sports Editor Mark Remme may be reached at 333-3129.

2010 Season

Sunday, August 29
Flames take 3rd place in Class C state tourney
By: Mark Remme
Posted: Monday, August 30, 2010 11:54 pm
Faribault Daily News

The Faribault Flames baseball team finished its inaugural season exactly how it wanted to — with a win.

The Flames topped the Minneapolis Bombers in the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association’s Class C third place game by an 8-2 margin on Sunday, ending the team’s 9-16 season with a victory.

“I’m really happy with what we did this year,” team founder and pitcher Rick Vogel said. “It was a fun year for us.”

Faribault won four of its last six games to end the year and went 2-2 in the state tournament. During Sunday’s tilt with the Bombers, Shane Thom led the way offensively with a 3-for-3 day at the plate — including a double, a triple, five RBIs and two runs.

Barry Fritz went 3-for-4, Troy Carver stole three bases and Dave Custer pitched five strong innings, allowing two earned runs.

“Dave pitched an awesome game,” Vogel said. “He pitched a really smart game. He kept the ball down in the strike zone, and he didn’t walk many people.”

Sunday’s win capped off a 2-2 state tournament that included several strong performances by Faribault players. Chris Howell batted .571 for the tournament, going 8-for-14 with three doubles. Thom batted .500, Fritz batted .363 and Tim Wagner pitched 13 innings and amassed a 1.53 earned-run average for the tournament.

Vogel said the Flames’ success made him excited for next year.

“I’ve got a good group of players that love to play baseball,” Vogel said. “I’ve got 14-15 guys that love to play and we can have a roster up to 25 people, so I can’t wait until next year.”

— Sports Editor Mark Remme may be reached at 333-3129.

Flames 1 1 4 0 0 2 0 — 8 12 0
Bombers 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 — 2 5 0

HITTING LEADERS — Troy Carver 1-3, 2R, 3SB; Tim Wagner 1-3, R; Chris Howell 1-2, 2R, 1SB; Shane Thom 3-3, 2R, 2B, 3B, 5RBI, SB; Barry Fritz 3-4; Mike Anderson 2-4; Chad Ferris 1-3.
PITCHING LINES — Dave Custer 5IP, 4H, 2R, 2ER, 2K, 4BB; Rick Vogel 2IP, 1H, 0R, 1K, 2BB.

Saturday, August 28
Flames fall 3-2, to play for 3rd
By: Mark Remme
Posted: Saturday, August 28, 2010 9:41 pm
Faribault Daily News

VESELI — The Faribault Flames came back, but a late-inning surge by Bell Plaine lifted the Tigers to a 3-2 win in the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association Class C state semifinals on Saturday.

The loss pushed the Flames into the Class C third place game, which will be played against the loser of the Henderson Locals and the Minneapolis Bombers on Sunday at 4 p.m. in Veseli.

Belle Plaine took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a leadoff error followed by three consecutive hits. Mike Zellman and Terry Knop put the Tigers up by two by each driving in a run.

But the Flames came back in the third. After Faribault starting pitcher Tim Wagner settled down and tamed Bell Plaine’s offense, the Flames tied the score with sacrifice flies by Wagner and Chris Howell.

“Two fly balls and we’ve got our game tied,” coach Todd Underdahl said. “That was good to see, not watching them roll over after (the first) inning.”

Wagner kept the Tigers in check at the plate until the sixth, when Knop drove in his second run of the contest. Knop’s go-ahead RBI proved to be the difference in the ballgame.

“Tim did pitch exceptionally well,” Underdahl said. “He got pretty tough as the night went on. He did a really good job.”

The Flames have now lost 10 games this season by three runs or less — a frustrating statistic in the won-loss column that actually suggests Faribault has met a goal it had leading into the year.

Team founder Rick Vogel said heading into the summer he hoped to field a competitive team in its inaugural season, and it appears the Flames have done just that being one win away from a third place finish in the Class C bracket.

“This first year is a statement,” Underdahl said. “We want people to know we’re out there. If we can win any type of state title, it’s a feather in our hat.”

— Sports Editor Mark Remme may be reached at 333-3129.

Flames 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 — 2 6 1
Tigers 2 0 0 0 0 1 X — 3 4 2

HITTING LEADERS — Troy Carver 1-3, R; Tim Wagner 1-2, RBI; Chris Howell 2-3, RBI; Dustin Dienst 1-3; Chad Ferris 1-3, R.
PITCHING LINES — Tim Wagner 6IP, 4H, 3R, 5K, 1BB.

Sunday, August 22
Flames blank Zephyrs, 10-0
By: Tyler Mason
Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 2:44 pm
Faribault Daily News

SHAKOPEE — A complete-game shutout by Tim Wagner and a four-hit night from Chris Howell helped the Faribault Flames shut out the Minneapolis Zephyrs by a 10-0 final Sunday in postseason play.

The Flames now advance to face Belle Plaine on Saturday in the Class C semifinals of the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association playoffs. First pitch is set for 3 p.m., with the game in Veseli.

On Sunday, was Howell’s bat that started a three-run fifth inning for Faribault, as he doubled and later scored on a base hit by Bill Storch. Storch later came around to score on a Chad Ferris single to put the Flames up 4-0.

“That’s when we started to hit the ball,” said coach Todd Underdahl.

Howell hit his second double of the game in the sixth, and again came around to score on a single by Storch.

Meanwhile, Wagner shut down the Zephyrs offense, as he allowed three hits and struck out three in seven scoreless innings.

“I think it helped a lot to have Tim come out and pretty much put the ball down in the strike zone,” Underdahl said.

The Flames scored four more runs in the seventh to put the game out of reach. Howell collected four hits — two doubles — and scored three times, while Storch had three hits and drove in a pair.

Faribault’s final games of the postseason will take place Saturday and Sunday. A win Saturday against Belle Plaine would put Faribault in the championship game on Sunday in Jordan, while a loss would drop the Flames into the third-place contest.

— Sports reporter Tyler Mason may be reached at 333-3119.

Flames 0 0 1 1 3 1 4 — 10
Zephyrs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0

HITTING LEADERS — Chris Howell 4-4, 2 2B, 3 R, Terry Switchtenberg 2-3, R, Bill Storch 3-4, R, 2 RBI, Barry Fritz 1-3, 2 R, Chad Ferris, 1-3, R, 2 RBI.
PITCHING LINES — Tim Wagner 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 3 K.

Saturday, August 21
Flames fall in playoffs
By: Tyler Mason
Posted: Saturday, August 21, 2010 10:02 pm
Faribault Daily News

JORDAN — The Faribault Flames stayed close with the Jordan Alers in Saturday’s playoff game. That is, until the sixth inning.

With a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth, Jordan scored three more runs off the Flames to secure a 5-1 win in the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association playoffs.

The Alers scored their three runs in the sixth off two hits and took advantage of a pair of walks.

“We just couldn’t get an out in the sixth inning,” Flames coach Todd Underdahl said.

Faribault took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning when Tim Wagner drew a walk, advanced to third base and later scored on a single by Shane Thom. That would be all the offense for the Flames, who left five runners in scoring position the rest of the way.

The Alers scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the second off Flames starter Rick Vogel to capture a 2-1 lead. For the game, Faribault committed four errors.

Vogel went four innings and struck out eight Alers batters. Shane Thom pitched two innings of relief for Faribault, allowing three runs on three hits.

Prior to Saturday’s loss, the Flames were seeded in the Class B bracket. With the loss, however, they now drop down to the Class C bracket, where they’ll face the Minneapolis Zephyrs on Sunday at Shakopee. First pitch is set for noon.

Flames 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 1 3 4
Alers 0 2 0 0 0 3 X — 5 8 0

HITTING LEADERS — Shane Thom 1-3, RBI, Terry Switchtenberg 1-3, Troy Carver 1-3, Tim Wagner 0-3, BB, R.
PITCHING LINES — Rick Vogel 4 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 8 K, Shane Thom 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 BB.

Flames second baseman Chris Howell fields a ball and throws to first during the
Saturday, August 14
Flames’ big inning leads to win
By: Mark Remme
Posted: Saturday, August 14, 2010 10:31 pm
Faribault Daily News

In his first action in a month and a half, Todd Underdahl made a major impact in the Faribault Flames’ 7-4 win over Braemar on Saturday.

Underdahl went 2-for-2, collected two RBIs and helped jump-start a five-run Flames fifth inning in the team’s regular season finale at Bell Field.

His secret?

“I looked at the emblem on (the pitcher’s) hat, and that helps me because the baseball comes around the side of their hat,” said Underdahl, who has battled a calf strain for much of the summer. “Not playing in a while, I thought I would be a little rusty. But coming out of his hand I saw it pretty well.”

The Flames (7-14) will begin postseason play Saturday. When, where and against whom will be decided this week.

Pitcher Shane Thom pitched a complete game Saturday against the Bees, allowing six hits and four runs while striking out four and walking seven. He outdueled Braemar pitcher Tim Donahue, who pitched equally admirably but walked four batters in the fifth, which led to Faribault’s big inning.

“It helps to see a guy the third time,” Underdahl said of the fifth frame. “He was a good pitcher, but we had seen his stuff. Instead of swinging we stopped chasing.”

Bill Storch was 1-for-2 with two RBIs and Dusty Dienst went 2-for-3 with a double, a run and an RBI.

Chad Ferris, Tim Wagner, Chris Howell and Barry Fritz each collected a hit in the game.

— Sports Editor Mark Remme may be reached at 333-3129.

Bees 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 — 4 6 0
Flames 0 2 0 0 5 0 X — 7 10 1

HITTING LEADERS — Chad Ferris 1-2, R; Tim Wagner 1-2, R; Chris Howell 1-3; Terry Switchtenberg, Bill Storch 1-2; Dusty Dienst 2-3, 2B, R, RBI; Barry Fritz 1-3, R; Todd Underdahl 2-2, 2B, 2RBI.
PITCHING LINES — Shane Thom CG, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 4K, 7BB.

Sunday, August 8
Flames bounce back, top Hawks 2-0
By: Tyler Mason
Posted: Monday, August 9, 2010 10:03 pm
Faribault Daily News

SHOREVIEW — On the heels of a 10-0 loss to Searles on Saturday, the Faribault Flames were able to bounce back with a 2-0 win over the Shoreview Seafoam Hawks on Sunday.

“That was kind of the pick-me-up we needed,” Flames coach Todd Underdahl said. “To come back and beat a team up there in that heat, that’s what we needed to get us going again before tournament time.”

Tim Wagner pitched a complete-game one-hitter for the Flames (4-10), who have one regular-season contest remaining. Wagner struck out eight Hawks batters in the winning effort.

Wagner also scored the game’s first run in the third inning after drawing a leadoff walk. He later came around to score on a single by Dusty Dienst to give Faribault a 1-0 lead.

A single by Barry Fritz in the fifth inning put the Flames up 2-0 when Chris Howell came around to score. Howell had a pair of hits against Shoreview (0-13), while Troy Carver stole two bases for Faribault.

The Flames’ final game before the postseason is on Saturday at Bell Field, when they host Braemar. First pitch is 7:30 p.m.

— Sports reporter Tyler Mason may be reached at 333-3119.

Flames 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 — 2 5 1
Hawks 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 1 0

HITTING LEADERS — Chris Howell 2-3, Barry Fritz 1-4, RBI, Dusty Dienst 1-4, RBI, Troy Carver 1-3, 2 SB.
PITCHING LINES — Tim Wagner 7 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB, 8 K.

Saturday, August 7
Flames fall to Searles in five innings, 10-0
By: Tyler Mason
Posted: Saturday, August 7, 2010 10:51 pm
Faribault Daily News

A combination of four walks, a hit batter and four errors doomed the Faribault Flames on Saturday at Bell Field, as they fell 10-0 to Searles in five innings.

The Bullheads scored twice in the second, three times in the fourth and added on five runs in the fifth on five hits and two Flames errors.

“The errors killed us and the walks killed us,” coach Todd Underdahl said.

Rick Vogel got the start for Faribault and went 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs — four earned — while striking out two. Barry Fritz allowed three runs in relief.

“They hit the ball real well,” Underdahl said of the Bullheads.

Bill Storch, Tim Wagner and Chris Howell combined for Faribault’s three hits. On the night, the Flames struck out a total of 11 times.

The Flames will look to bounce back on Sunday as they travel to Shoreview for a road contest. First pitch is 6 p.m.


Searles 2 0 0 3 5 — 10 9 1
Flames 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 3 4

HITTING LEADERS — Bill Storch 1-3, Tim Wagner 1-2, Chris Howell 1-2.
PITCHING LINES — Rick Vogel 4.1 IP, 7 R, 4 ER, 2K, Barry Fritz 0.2 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 2 K.

Wednesday, August 4
Flames fall to Chiefs, lose 9-2
By: Mark Remme
Posted: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 11:05 pm
Faribault Daily News

SHAKOPEE — An early one-run lead was not enough for the Faribault Flames on Wednesday in Shakopee, as the Chiefs battled back with six runs in the third inning and won by a 9-2 margin.

The Flames scored in the first inning after Chad Ferris walked, stole second and scored from third on a Terry Switchtenberg fielder’s choice. Still, Flames coach Todd Underdahl said Faribault’s hitters didn’t seem comfortable at the plate in the early innings.

“The first couple innings we were a little jumpy,” Underdahl said. “We were ahead of stuff and not hitting the ball hard. Later we hit the ball hard but we hit it right to them.”

After inducing three quick fly outs in the first inning and a single hit in the second, starting pitcher Dave Custer ran into trouble in the third as the Shakopee bats came alive.

The Chiefs roughed him up for six runs in the frame — highlighted by two doubles and a pair of Faribault errors — and quickly grabbed a 6-1 advantage.

Faribault scored again in the top of the fourth as Switchtenberg scored on a fielder’s choice, but the Flames failed to cross the plate again in the contest.

Bill Storch led the team with a 2-for-3 night at the plate, and Schwichtenberg, Tim Wagner and Barry Fritz each had single hits.

Custer pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed seven runs on six hits. He walked three. Underdahl pitched the remaining 1 2/3 innings and gave up two hits, two runs and struck out two. He had one walk and hit one batter.

— Sports Editor Mark Remme may be reached at 333-3129.


Flames 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 — 2 5 2
Chiefs 0 0 6 0 1 2 X — 9 8 0

HITTING LEADERS — Bill Storch 2-3; Tim Wagner 1-3; Terry Switchtenberg1-3, RBI; Barry Fritz 1-3.

PITCHING LINES — Dave Custer 4.1IP, 6H, 7R, 0K, 3BB; Todd Underdahl 1.2IP, 2H, 2R, 1K, 1BB, 1HBP.

Flames first baseman Mike Anderson tags out Bloomington’s Gary Barbo during the
Saturday, July 31
Flames rally late, lose in 8th to Eagles
By: Mark Remme
Posted: Saturday, July 31, 2010 11:11 pm
Faribault Daily News

A late surge brought the Faribault Flames close to a dramatic come-from-behind victory Saturday at Bell Field, but the Bloomington Eagles scored once in the eighth inning to steal a 6-5 road victory. The Flames squandered a 3-0 lead and trailed 5-3 in the seventh when their bats came alive. Thanks to runs by Bill Storch and Chris Howell, Faribault tied the game at 5-5 and forced extra innings. But in the eighth, the Eagles touched up pitcher Barry Fritz for three hits and a run, and Faribault couldn’t come back a second time in the bottom half of the frame. Howell and Storch each led the team with 3-for-4 nights at the plate. Storch scored twice and Howell scored once while also picking up an RBI. Tim Wagner recorded an RBI in the seventh inning on a fielder’s choice play that plated the game-tying run. The Flames’ next game is Saturday, Aug. 7 against Searles at Bell Field. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.

Eagles 0 0 0 4 0 0 1 1 — 6 11 3
Flames 0 0 3 0 0 0 2 0 — 5 8 1

HITTING LEADERS — Bill Storch 3-4, 2R; Chris Howell 3-4, R, RBI; Tim Wagner 1-3, RBI.

PITCHING LINES — Tim Wagner 3.2IP, 7H, 4R, 4BB, 2K; Rick Vogel 3.1IP, 1H, 1R, 4K, 2BB, 2HBP, 2WP; Barry Fritz 1IP, 3H, 1R.

Faribault Flames outfielder Chad Ferris dives to make a catch in the third innin
Wednesday, July 28
Errors haunt Flames in 8-5 defeat
By: Tyler Mason
Posted: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 11:01 pm
Faribault Daily News

Errors told the story in the Faribault Flames’ 8-5 loss at the hands of Veseli on Wednesday at Bell Field.

Faribault committed five total errors in the game — three in the first three innings — while Veseli had just one defensive miscue. Five of Veseli’s runs scored were unearned.

“That killed us. That was the difference in the game,” said Flames coach Todd Underdahl, who will be taking over coaching duties from Rick Vogel for the rest of the season. Underdahl said Vogel wants to focus on other aspects of the team, leaving the coaching in the hands of Underdahl.

Veseli jumped on the board early with a run in the first, but Faribault came back to tie things in the bottom of the frame on a hit by Terry Switchtenberg that scored Chris Howell.

Defensive lapses for the Flames in the second inning allowed Veseli to score four runs off starter Barry Fritz to take a 5-1 advantage, a lead that wouldn’t be relinquished.

“Those errors — five unearned runs in the first couple innings — that hurt,” Underdahl said.

The Flames chipped away by scoring once in the fourth on a single by Fritz that drove in Bill Storch. Two more Faribault runs would come in in the fifth inning to cut the lead to 7-4.

Both teams traded runs in the seventh, as Faribault drove in just one with the bases loaded in the bottom of the frame.

Fritz lasted three innings, allowing seven runs — two earned — on six hits. Vogel came in to pitch in relief, throwing four innings and allowing just one run on two hits while fanning six.

“Rick took control,” Underdahl said. “We played pretty solid baseball behind him.”

Next up for the Flames is a home contest against Bloomington on Sunday at Bell Field. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.

Veseli 1 4 2 0 0 0 1 — 8 8 1
Faribault 1 0 0 1 2 0 1 — 5 9 5

HITTING LEADERS — Terry Switchtenberg 3-4, BB, 2 RBI, Chris Howell 2-4, R, RBI, Tim Wagner 1-4, BB, R, Mike Martin 1-4, 2 R.
PITCHING LINES — Barry Fritz 3 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 2 ER, 1 K, Rick Vogel 4 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 6 K.

Todd Underdahl, right, sits in the dugout with Faribault Flames coach Rick Vogel
Tuesday, July 27
Bench coaching
By: Tyler Mason
Posted: Tuesday, July 27, 2010 11:42 pm
Faribault daily News

Todd Underdahl ended up playing for the Faribault Flames by chance.

Underdahl, an assistant coach for the Randolph High School baseball team, was at Bell Field this spring as his Rockets were taking on Faribault Academies. Before the two high school squads took the field, the Flames were practicing in the batting cages behind FA’s dugout.

Underdahl was intrigued, and asked Cardinals coach Scott Hanson what was going on.

“He said it was the Faribault Flames,” Underdahl said. “When I got home that night — I’d kicked this around for a while, joining a team — I found a number and said I want to try out.”

Underdahl made the roster of the first-year Flames squad, and coach Rick Vogel said the coaching experience Underdahl brings has been a big asset to the team.

Such was the case in a recent Flames home game, when a personnel issue forced Vogel to re-do his lineup just minutes before the game. He summoned Underdahl to help him, and the two pored over the lineup card in the dugout.

“He’s a godsend to have on the team,” Vogel said. “He’s the guy I go over to and say, ‘This is what I’m thinking. What’s your input?’ And he’ll tell me exactly what he’s thinking.

“It’s good to have someone on the team who has coaching experience.”

This pays off in situations when Vogel needs to enter the game as a relief pitcher.

“When I pitch, I say, ‘Todd, you take over,’” Vogel said. “You can’t pitch and coach at the same time.”

Like many players on the Flames, Underdahl’s playing experience includes high school and amateur baseball. Unlike others on the roster, however, he has extensive coaching experience, serving as an assistant for 11 years at Randolph where he mainly works with pitchers and catchers. After years of coaching high school kids, Underdahl now has the chance to coach athletes closer to his age.

“Once you get to our age bracket, guys don’t realize if they’re doing something wrong,” Underdahl said. “You can’t treat them the same as a high school kid and take them aside and say, ‘Hey, this is what you need to do.’ ... You just kind of suggest things to these guys. It’ll click.”

A recent hamstring injury has limited Underdahl’s action on the field. Despite that, he’s still been able to contribute in other ways to the first-year Flames.

“He’s helped us with hitting and our mechanics,” Vogel said. “He’s making us better because he’s teaching us the basics all over again.”

— Sports reporter Tyler Mason may be reached at 333-3119.

Monday, July 26
Baseball roundup (7/25)
Posted: Monday, July 26, 2010 11:19 pm
Faribault Daily News

Flames lose to Northfield, 5-3

A late comeback fell short for the Faribault Flames on Sunday as they lost 5-3 at the hands of the Northfield Millers at Bell Field.
Northfield scored runs in the third and fourth innings before scoring three times in the fifth to break the game open. The Flames responded with three runs in the sixth, but left two runners in scoring position to end the inning.
“We started getting things going,” coach Rick Vogel said. “Even in the seventh, we didn’t give up.”
Chris Howell and Terry Schwichtenberg drew walks to lead off the sixth, and both came around to score on a single by Chad Ferris. Dusty Dients’ base hit drove in Ferris for the Flames’ third run of the inning.
That would be the end of the scoring, though. In the final frame, Faribault had a runner on second but couldn’t scratch across another run to cut Northfield’s lead. “They just never give up,” Vogel said. “They play their hearts out every inning.”
Faribault is back in action Wednesday at home against Veseli. First pitch is 7:30 p.m.

Faribault Flames pitcher Barry Fritz (left) and catcher Shane Thom (right) can’t
Saturday, July 24

By: Tyler Mason
Posted: Saturday, July 24, 2010 10:32 pm
Faribault Daily News

Faribault Flames coach Rick Vogel knew the impressive resume of Saturday’s opponent, the St. Peter Saints.

St. Peter entered its contest against the Flames with a 9-1 record and won the Class AA championship a year ago.

At Bell Field, Faribault found out first-hand just how good the Saints are, as the Flames fell 11-1 in six innings Saturday.

“A very good team,” Vogel said. “Probably the best team in the state.”

It didn’t take long for St. Peter (10-1) to flex its offensive muscle. The first five Saints batters all reached base before an out was recorded. All five later came around to score to put the Flames (4-10) in an early 5-0 hole.

Faribault starter Shane Thom — pitching for just the second time this season — was pulled in relief of Barry Fritz. St. Peter scored two more against Fritz in the second to stretch the lead to 7-0.

“It was just too much to overcome,” Vogel said.

The Flames scored their lone run in the fourth inning. Leadoff batter Troy Carver opened the frame with a walk and moved to second on a hit by Bill Storch. After advancing to third on a groundout, Carver scored on Chris Howell’s single.

Vogel said one of the Flames’ goals as a first-year team this season was to not let the 10-run rule shorten any of their games. But with three more St. Peter runs in the sixth, Saturday’s contest was cut short.

“It just didn’t go our way,” Vogel said.

Tom Stierlen took the hill for the Saints, and limited Faribault’s batters to just two hits. Vogel said Stierlen was one of the toughest pitchers his team has faced this season.

“Their pitcher was really good,” he said.

The Flames will return to action on Sunday when they host Northfield at Bell Field. First pitch is slated for 7:30 p.m.

— Sports reporter Tyler Mason may be reached at 333-3119.

Faribault Flames baserunner Barry Fritz (48) rounds third as coach Rick Vogel (9
Saturday, July 17
By: Mark Remme
Posted: Saturday, July 17, 2010 10:53 pm
Faribault Daily News

The Faribault Flames walked with a swagger Saturday at Bell Field. Knowing the importance of the game, who could blame them?

Not only was Faribault putting on its “Honor Our Vets Day” promotion, but the Flames also knew that beating rival Webster could mean the difference in a mediocre or strong finish to the season. Faribault handled the pressure and earned a 10-0, five-inning win over the Wildcats.

“This game meant a lot to us,” coach Rick Vogel said. “We got to the point where it was like if we’re going to turn our season around, this is the night to do it.”

The Flames (4-9) honored area veterans at Saturday’s game. Red, white and blue streamers donned Bell Field’s grandstand, the names of 14 veterans in attendance — spectators, players and umpires alike — were announced in the fourth inning, and both a Color Guard and Honor Guard were present for pregame festivities.

Saturday’s Color Guard from Faribault American Legion Post 43 — Bob Flom, Jim Douda and Pete Flannery — stayed to watch their first Flames game after the pregame program. The trio said they were impressed with the way the Flames play baseball.

Bob Flom’s wife, Louise Flom, said she was happy the team put on the “Honor Our Vets” night.

“It’s good,” she said. “More people should be honoring the vets.”

On the field, the Flames didn’t disappoint. Taking advantage of nine walks issued by Wildcats pitching, Faribault was aggressive on the bases and didn’t hesitate to force Webster to make plays in the field.

Meanwhile, starting pitcher Tim Wagner pitched four scoreless innings while allowing three hits and striking out three. Barry Fritz finished off the game with a two-strikeout fifth inning.

For Vogel, the night signified a rebirth for the Flames — a team hoping to make a successful run down the final stretch of the season.

“Everybody stepped up to the plate,” Vogel said. “Everyone played as hard as they could. I’m really proud of the guys. They really performed tonight.”

Webster 3 0 1 0 0 0 — 0 4 0
Flames 0 4 0 4 0 2 — 10 6 0
HITTING LEADERS — Troy Carver 2-3, BB, RBI; Mike Martin 1-4, R, SB; Chris Howell 0-2, 2BB, R, SB; Bill Storch 1-2, BB, R, RBI; Barry Fritz 0-1, 2BB, 2R; Chad Ferris 1-1, BB, 2R, 2SB; Shane Thom 1-2, BB, R.
PITCHING LINES — Tim Wagner 4IP, 3H, 0R, 3K, 1BB; Barry Fritz 1IP, 1H, 0R, 2K, 0BB

Tuesday, July 13
Flames fall to Braves
By: Tyler Mason
Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 11:14 pm
Faribault Daily News

LE CENTER — Errors proved costly for the Faribault Flames in the second inning as Le Center scored four times en route to a 5-2 win Tuesday.

The Flames took an early 1-0 lead when Tim Wagner’s single scored leadoff batter Mike Martin. But three Faribault errors led to four Le Center runs in the bottom of the second as the Braves took a 4-1 lead.

“Our demise was basically that second inning,” said coach Rick Vogel.

Vogel took the mound as the starting pitcher and went two-plus innings, allowing five runs — two earned — on just two Braves hits. Dave Custer came in to pitch in relief and threw four scoreless innings while striking out three.

On Tuesday, the Flames hit into a trio of double plays, including in the first and seventh innings with runners on base.

“Every time we had a double play, we were just starting to get things going,” Vogel said.

Faribault threatened in the seventh, but the comeback ultimately fell short as the Flames tacked on just one more run. After Mike Anderson led off with a pinch-hit single, pinch runner Eric Sorenson stole second base. Sorenson advanced to third on a single by Martin and later scored on the third of Faribault’s double plays.

“The double plays killed us and the fourth inning killed us,” Vogel said.

Martin, Chris Howell and Tim Wagner had two hits a piece for Faribault.

Faribault 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 — 2 9 3
Le Center 0 4 1 0 0 0 X — 5 5 1
HITTING LEADERS — Mike Martin 2-3, R, HBP, Chris Howell 2-3, Tim Wagner 2-3.
PITCHING LINES — Rick Vogel 2 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 K, 3 BB. Dave Custer 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Faribault Flames coach Rick Vogel (left) and catcher Shane Thom (right) talk wit
Saturday, July 10
By: Tyler Mason
Faribault Daily News
Posted: Saturday, July 10, 2010 10:39 pm

Before an out was recorded Saturday at Bell Field, the Faribault Flames were already knocked out.

Faribault gave up five first-inning runs to the Jordan Millers — four before an out was recorded — and eventually lost by a final of 6-0.

“That first inning was ugly,” coach Rick Vogel said.

Starting pitcher Barry Fritz surrendered the five runs — two earned — on four hits. Faribault committed a pair of errors in the five-run first inning.

From that point on, however, the Flames (3-8) played error-free baseball and allowed just one more Millers run. Jordan tacked on its sixth run of the night on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning.

Vogel was happy with the way his team responded after the first inning.

“The team after that the next six innings was completely different,” Vogel said. “We got down but, you know what, they didn’t quit. It could have been ugly. If the team would have given up after the first inning, it could have been a 10-run rule.”

Fritz lasted 5 1/3 innings, giving up five total runs — two earned — while striking out six Millers batters. Dave Custer came on in relief to pitch the rest of the way. He gave up one run in the sixth inning and didn’t allow a walk.

“Dave Custer came in and just shut them down,” Vogel said.

Four different Flames players — Bill Storch, Tim Wagner, Terry Switchenberg and Fritz — each recorded a hit. Vogel said his squad was making good contact as the game went on.

“It doesn’t show up in the score line because we started hitting shots, but we were hitting the ball right at people,” Vogel said. “They played the whole game. That’s all I can ask of my team.”

Faribault returns to action Tuesday on the road against Le Center. Its next home game will be Saturday, July 17, where the Flames will honor local veterans.

— Sports reporter Tyler Mason may be reached at 333-3119.

Saturday, July 10
Flames' late rally falls short
By: Mark Remme
Faribault Daily News
Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2010 10:51 pm

LONSDALE — The baserunners were there, but the hits were not as the Faribault Flames baseball team fell 4-3 to Lonsdale on Thursday.

Faribault fell behind 4-0 in the fourth inning, then rallied for three runs in the sixth to cut the lead to 4-3. But with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the seventh, the Flames couldn’t produce the game-tying run as Lonsdale held on for the win.

Faribault stranded 13 runners in the game, including seven in scoring position.

“That’s been our problem most of the year so far,” coach Rick Vogel said.

Vogel said he was happy with the way the team hit the ball on Thursday — it’s just that the hits didn’t come at opportune times.

Pitcher Tim Wagner picked up the loss for the Flames, though Vogel said he didn’t deserve it. Wagner pitched all six innings for Faribault and allowed seven hits and four runs — two earned — while striking out eight and walking five.

Both runs he gave up in the fourth inning were unearned.

“Tim Wagner was phenomenal,” Vogel said. “He pitched so well tonight. He should be pretty proud. He shut them down, and Lonsdale is a very good hitting team.”

The Flames (3-7) turned a pair of double plays in the game, which Vogel said was a testament to the team’s strong defense throughout the year.

Now, Vogel said Faribault needs to get hits with runners in scoring position to take the next step down the stretch. The Flames’ next game is Saturday at home against Jordan at 7:30 p.m.

“We still have a lot of season left,” he said. “We’re being competitive, and that’s all we wanted to do.”

Flames 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 — 3 6 1
Lonsdale 0 0 1 1 2 0 X — 4 7 3
HITTING LEADERS — Tim Wagner 2-4; Bill Storch 2-3; Dave Custer 1-2’; Todd Underdahl.
PITCHING LINES — Tim Wagner 6IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, 8K, 5BB.

Tuesday, July 6
Flames earn praise in 1st year
By: Tyler Mason
Faribault Daily News
Posted: Tuesday, July 6, 2010 11:15 pm

Pat Thompson of Eden Prairie has been a part of the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association for 25 years, so he’s seen his fair share of teams come and go. But when his Eden Prairie Lions Tap squad hosted the Faribault Flames last month, he was impressed by what he saw in the first-year team. “I thought for a first year team, they looked good and they played hard,” Thompson said. “In my 25 years as manager, there were few teams that put it together like they did.” After Eden Prairie’s 4-1 win over Faribault, Thompson went over to the Flames’ dugout and told coach Rick Vogel and his squad those same thoughts. “I was flabbergasted,” Vogel said. “I thought that was very classy for him to come over and say something that nice to a first-year team.” To date, the Flames have played nine games in their inaugural season, compiling a 3-6 record after a 3-2 start to the year. Still, Vogel believes his team can accomplish its goal of finishing the year at .500. “Even though our record doesn’t show it, we’re playing good baseball,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of time to improve. The team, they don’t give up.” Vogel said an example of that was in Faribault’s road game against Union Hill. The Flames fell behind 9-0 after three innings, but shut the door the rest of the way. “It would have been so easy for those guys to just give up,” Vogel said. “There’s a lot of good things that have happened this year already. The team has some character, and that’s what we want.” “Faribault should be proud of their over-35 team,” Thompson said. “That’s a good bunch of guys. They do it right.”

— Sports reporter Tyler Mason may be reached at 333-3119.

Tuesday, June 29
Errors costly as Flames shut out
By: Tyler Mason
Faribault Daily News
Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 11:57 pm

UNION HILL — The Faribault Flames managed just one hit in a 9-0 loss to Union Hill on Tuesday, but coach Rick Vogel still had pride is his team following the game. “The one thing I was proud of our team is that we didn’t lay down,” Vogel said. “We got behind a lot early. The thing is that we didn’t give up.” The Flames (3-6) fell behind 2-0 after the first inning and 6-0 after two. Union Hill added three more runs in the bottom of the third, but Vogel came in to pitch in relief and threw 3 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball. Barry Fritz got the start for Faribault and lasted 2 1/3 innings. He gave up six hits and nine runs — four earned — while striking out a pair of Union Hill batters. “Barry did not throw a bad game, but he really didn’t have any support from the defense,” Vogel said. “There were some catchable balls and very makeable plays that weren’t made.” Vogel said the three errors — and the impact they had on the game — were uncharacteristic of the way his team’s played this year. “Our errors were costly,” he said. Chris Howell had the lone hit for the Flames, who have now dropped four straight games after starting the season 3-2. “It was just one of those nights offensively where we really did not hit the ball well,” Vogel said. “We didn’t play our best baseball.” Faribault will look to snap the losing skid on July 8 when it travels to take on Lonsdale. First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

— Sports reporter Tyler Mason may be reached at 333-3119.

Faribault 0 0 0 0 0 0
— 0 1 3
Union Hill 2 4 3 0 0 X
— 9 6 1

PITCHING LINES — Barry Fritz 2.1 IP, 6 H, 2K, 3 BB, 9 R, 4 ER. Rick Vogel 3.2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 5 K, 2 BB.

Thursday, June 17
Flames fall to Le Center, 6-1
Faribault Daily News

The Faribault Flames baseball team fell to Le Center by a 6-1 margin at home on Wednesday at Bell Field.

The Flames fell behind 5-0 within the first three innings, and despite shutting Le Center down from that point forward couldn’t overcome the early deficit.

“The defense played well,” coach Rick Vogel said. “Pitching was pretty good. We’re just not winning. If you can’t score more than three or four runs, you don’t deserve to win.”

Vogel said the team didn’t get the key hits when they needed them in the game.

“The score sounds worse than it was, because we were in the game,” Vogel said. “We’re just not scoring runs. We’ve scored two runs in the last 14 innings.”

The Flames will next play Monday at Edina. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.

Flames plan to honor veterans

The Faribault Flames baseball team plans to host an “Honor Our Vets Day” at Bell Field on July 17 when the Flames take on Webster.

Vogel said he plans to have an Honor Guard on hand to display the colors, a guest singer to sing the “Star Spangled Banner” and fireworks. Veterans would get 50 percent off all concessions, Vogel said.

Saturday, June 12
Flames lose 4-1 on Friday; Saturday’s game rained out
Despite soggy conditions, the Faribault Flames were able to play their scheduled game Friday against Eden Prairie. Saturday, however, was a different story.

The Flames were slated to take on the Brooklyn Park Warriors on the road, but rain canceled Saturday’s game.

Coach Rick Vogel’s team was hoping to turn things around after Friday’s 4-1 loss to Eden Prairie. In that contest, the Flames (3-3) scored the game’s first run of the inning. Chris Howell crossed the plate after a passed ball to put Faribault up 1-0.

But Eden Prairie used small ball to put four runs on the board in the sixth inning, taking advantage of a Flames error for two of its runs.

Dave Custer pitched six innings for Faribault, striking out six while allowing four runs — two earned. He didn’t allow a walk.

“That’s the biggest thing: no free passes,” Vogel said. “That gives us the opportunity to make plays. ... Every time he’s thrown, he’s gotten better.”

The Flames’ next game on the schedule is a home contest Wednesday at Bell Field against Le Center. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 3
Ready to start

Story By: Mark Remme
Photos By: Tyler Mason
Farbault Daily News  

When Rick Vogel began his quest to start the Faribault Flames in the Minnesota Senior Men’s Baseball Association, he knew exactly what he wanted. The newly found 35-and-older baseball team needed enthusiasm, swagger and desire for the game. Looking around the diamond at Faribault’s Thursday afternoon practice, those three facets were everywhere. There was 41-year-old Chris Howell on the infield dirt, who recalls his days growing up when merely having food on his plate, a traveling bus and a baseball bat would have kept him happy. Near home plate was 49-year-old Dave Custer, who said between 1968 and 2004 not a season went by where he didn’t pitch. Standing next to Custer is Vogel, who wore his pristinely white Flames uniform under a windbreaker on a 38-degree, sunny day. Even with their limbs chilled by the brisk spring wind, seven of the Flames current 20 roster members congregated behind the Faribault High School to simply play ball. The Flames are working on their Bell Field schedule for the summer with the Faribault Community Center. “I am amazed, to tell you the truth,” Vogel said of his team, which began as a brain child late in 2009. “People in this town just love baseball.” With the season drawing near, the Flames are set to begin. Vogel played for the Webster Wildcats before finding initiative to start this new team. Knowing Faribault had a market for a 35-and-older league, he set out to put a squad together this winter. As the team heads toward tryouts April 24 and its first game in May — the schedule is not finalized yet — the team has 20 people on its roster and 12 current sponsors. For the guys on the team, it’s a way to carry on their passion for the sport. “I’m 41; I’m not supposed to be out here playing a kid’s game. I’m sure there are people that scoff at that,” Howell said. “But I’m alive. I’m not dead. ... This is it for me. I just love it.” Custer added that after 36 years in the game, he took six years off before joining the Flames this season. “Just to see if I still got it,” he said. Faribault native Mark St. Martin, 58, played with Vogel and Howell in Webster before making the move to the Flames this year. He said starting a team is clearly hard work, but Vogel has done everything in his power to make it happen. “Rick’s put a lot of work into it, so we’re looking forward to playing,” he said. “It should be fun.” For Vogel, the venture is all about having fun and giving his players a chance to play the game they love. Along the way, he hopes to put out a product the city can be proud of. “We’re going to play as professional as we can,” he said. “Playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played. Competing every week, every game.”


Friday, May 14
Flames open up season with Union Hill

By: Mark Remme Posted: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:18 pm
Farbault Daily News

Rick Vogel’s dream is almost here. Vogel, the patriarch of the Faribault Flames baseball team of the Minnesota Senior Men’s Baseball Association, will manage the Flames’ inaugural game against Union Hill on Friday at Bell Field. Gametime is slated for 7:30 p.m. According to Vogel, the team is raring to go. “Prepared?” Vogel said. “We practiced Tuesday night when most teams would not even consider it.” The Flames are part of the 35-and-over men’s baseball league, and they’ll open up play against a Union Hill squad that finished 7-8 in the River League Blue Division standings last year. Vogel said former Faribault Lakers pitcher Dave Custer will start for the Flames on Friday, and he said one of the team’s strengths is its pitching. “I’m really blessed this year with a really good pitching staff,” Vogel said. “It will make it a lot easier.” The Flames will predicate much of their success on being one of the more mobile teams in the league. Vogel said their outfield has the speed and arm strength to be a difference maker, and at the plate the team will likely depend on being a contact-hitting crew that can be mobile on the base paths. Vogel said the simple parts of the game will be something Faribault plans to master. “We’re going to look as good as the high school kids as far as fundamentals,” Vogel said. “Whether we can execute that well is another situation.” But above all, Vogel said Faribault looks to have a strong showing in its first game. “Our goal is to play well and be competitive,” Vogel said. “We want to show people that we can play baseball.”


Sunday, May 16
Faribault Flames drop opener to Union Hill, 6-0

Faribault Flames third baseman Barry Fritz calls for time after tagging out a Union Hill base runner in the first inning of Friday’s inaugural game at Bell Field. (Mark Remme/Daily News)

By: Mark Remme Posted: Friday, May 14, 2010 11:59 pm 
Farbault Daily News  

In Game 1 of the Faribault Flames’ history on Friday, the team did exactly what manager Rick Vogel wanted. The team played fundamentally sound baseball and gave itself a chance to win. Despite a 6-0 season-opening loss to Union Hill in Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association play, Vogel said he couldn’t be more proud of his team. “I was really pleased,” he said. “We didn’t make any errors. We lost tonight, but we did what we wanted to accomplish.” The Flames (0-1) stranded nine runners in scoring position on the night, and in the process the team gave the crowd of approximately 45 people on hand for the inaugural game a chance to see the 35-and-older men’s team play with enthusiasm and excitement for the game of baseball. Faribault fell behind 3-0 in the first inning as starter Dave Custer had trouble finding his control. He allowed three runs on two hits while walking four. After Terry Schwichtenberg took over on the hill and went two innings, Barry Fritz finished out the game by pitching the final four innings and allowing a single run on one hit. He struck out five. Meanwhile, Bill Storch and Chris Howell led the way offensively with a 2-for-4 night at the plate. Chad Feriss went 1-for-3 and Tim Wagner went 1-for-3 to round out the Flames’ hitting. Vogel said heading into the game he wanted to field a team that could be competitive and be a group the city of Faribault could be proud of. He said after the game that the team accomplished that goal. “They played like professionals as far as mechanics of the game,” Vogel said. “We didn’t lose because of a lack of effort. The ball just didn’t roll our way tonight.”

— Sports Editor Mark Remme may be reached at 333-3129.

Saturday, May 15
Starting a new tradition in town

By: Mark Remme Posted: Saturday, May 15, 2010 10:43 pm
Farbault Daily News

At 7 p.m. on Friday, Rick Vogel patrolled around Bell Field’s sod like a man on a mission. He bounced around like the back of a Rickey Henderson trading card — raking the infield dirt, prepping the dugout and fetching more field tools underneath the concourse. Only a half hour left. At 7:30 p.m. was the scheduled gametime for the Faribault Flames baseball team’s inaugural game, and after months of working to make this day become a reality, Vogel was still searching for more ways to perfect the evening. “I’m a little nervous,” he said as he left the dugout. But the night went off without a hitch — well, excluding the Flames’ 6-0 loss to Union Hill in front of an estimated crowd of 45 people. But wins and losses aside, this culmination of a new baseball team in the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association is a testament to one man’s dream and his relentless pursuit to make it a reality. Vogel began work on the Flames’ franchise last winter, making the calls to the MSABA to get clearance, then beginning to assemble a group of would-be roster players, fundraising and purchasing the necessary tools for the job. But this wasn’t just an ordinary venture with hopes of succeeding. Vogel was confident from Day 1 he could make it happen, and he had a particular way he wanted it to transpire. Second-tier jerseys wouldn’t do. The Flames needed “professional” attire. Check. Ordinary ballparks wouldn’t cut it. The Flames needed a glowing, well-kept venue like Bell Field. Check. Lastly, a 35-and-older league team can’t be full of half-hearted players. The Flames needed enthusiasm, dedication and passion. Check. This team will go through its rough patches. Even those who have continuously played baseball through the years will need to get acquainted with their teammates’ style of play, and that will take time. But Faribault now has a new franchise that will keep the Bell Field lights glowing well into the summer nights for the foreseeable future, and for those of you who plan to utilize it as a way to enjoy a game this summer, you have Rick Vogel to thank. Because on Friday, his dream came true.

— Sports Editor Mark Remme may be reached at 333-3129.

Monday, May 17
Flames win first game of season

Posted: Monday, May 17, 2010 11:27 pm
Faribault Daily News

The Faribault Flames baseball team recorded the first win in team history on Sunday in a 4-3 win over the Minneapolis Bombers. The Bombers led 3-1 after a three-run third inning, but the Flames came back in the bottom of the fourth with two runs of their own. In the sixth, Troy Carver led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on an infield groundout and subsequently scored. Carver went 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Troy Wagner picked up the win for the Flames. He relieved starter Shane Thom after three innings and pitched four frames while giving up four hits and no runs. He struck out six. The Flames (1-1) will next play Northfield in an exhibition on Wednesday on the road.

BOMBERS 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 — 3
FLAMES 0 1 0 2 0 1 X — 4

HITTING LEADERS — Tim Wagner 2-3, R; Troy Carver 2-3, R, RBI.
PITCHING LINES — Shane Thom 3IP, 3H, 3R, 2ER, 6K, 5BB. Troy Wagner 4IP, 4H, 0R, 6K, 3BB.

Wednesday, May 26
Flames too much for Millers

By: Mark Remme Posted: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:38 pm
Faribault Daily News

A four-run first inning and a three-run fourth paved the way for the Faribault Flames to defeat the Northfield Millers 7-5 on Wednesday during Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association action at Bell Field. The Flames will be back in action Thursday at home against Lonsdale. Faribault gained the early advantage thanks to a pair of clutch hits by Barry Fritz and Chad Ferris. Fritz drove in Troy Carver and Chris Howell, and Ferris notched a two-run single that scored Todd Underdahl and Fritz with the bases loaded, giving the Flames the early 4-0 advantage. They poured it on in the fourth. Howell notched a two-run hit of his own, and Faribault (2-1) took advantage of an additional unearned run to take a commanding 7-0 lead. That’s when the Millers began chipping away. Northfield, who had been handcuffed by Flames starter Dave Custer through the first four innings, touched up Custer for four runs in the fifth and chased him with two outs. Fritz came in and ended the frame, and he finished the game out while allowing a single run in the sixth inning. “Our team kept our composure,” manager Rick Vogel said. “I was really proud of them. When (Northfield) came back to make it a 7-5 game, we kept our composure and played good defense.” The Flames finished the game with nine hits and an error, while the Millers had 10 hits and three errors on the night. Faribault’s Mike Martin went 3-for-5, Carver was 2-for-4 and Howell went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs. Fritz was 1-for-4 with a pair of RBIs at the plate and allowed one run on two hits in 2 1/3 innings of work. Custer finished the night with six strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings of work.

— Sports Editor Mark Remme may be reached at 333-3129.

MILLERS 0 0 0 0 4 1 0 — 5 10 2
FLAMES 4 0 0 3 0 0 X — 7 9 1
HITTING LEADERS — Mike Martin 3-5; Troy Carver 2-4, 1R; Chris Howell 2-4, 1R, 2RBI; Barry Fritz 1-4, 2RBI; Chad Ferris 1-3, 2RBI.
PITCHING LINES — Dave Custer 4.2IP, 8H, 4R, 4ER, 6K, 3 BB; Barry Fritz 2.1IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 1K, 1BB, 1HBP.

Faribault Flames pitcher Rick Vogel delivers an offering during Thursday’s game
Friday, May 28
Lonsdale scores late to secure 6-3 win

By: Tyler Mason
Posted: Friday, May 28, 2010 12:00 am
Faribault Daily News

The Faribault Flames scored three runs despite collecting just one hit, but the Lonsdale Jokers tagged the Flames for nine hits as they beat Faribault 6-3 on Thursday at Bell Field. Lonsdale committed six errors in the game, while Faribault (2-2) had five miscues of its own. The Jokers jumped out to a 3-0 lead off starter Rick Vogel, but the Flames rallied to tie the game at 3-3 after five. But a two-run sixth for Lonsdale was the difference, as Faribault couldn’t muster a late-game comeback. The Jokers added an insurance run in the seventh for good measure. “I thought that we played good baseball,” Vogel said. “They made errors that let us back into the game. I was really proud of the way that when we fell behind 3-0, we were able to come back and tie it.” Mark St. Martin had the lone Flames hit, as his single in the fifth drove in Eric Sorenson to knot the game at 3-3. Three Jokers singles and a walk in the sixth helped Lonsdale regain the lead, one it wouldn’t relinquish. “We’re competitive every game,” Vogel said. “That’s what we wanted to do is be competitive.”

— Sports reporter Tyler Mason may be reached at 333-3119.

JOKERS 2 1 0 0 0 2 1 — 6 9 6
FLAMES 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 — 3 1 5
HITTING LEADERS — Mark St. Martin 1-2, RBI; Eric Sorenson 0-1, 2BB, SB, R.
PITCHING LINES — Rick Vogel 2IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, K, HBP; Barry Fritz 2IP, 0H, 0R, 5K; Todd Underdahl 3IP, 3R, 3ER, 4K.

Friday, December 18
Minnesota Senior Men’s Baseball Association

     It all began in 1979 when a group of men who had once played in Jordan got together to play in an “old-timers” game. At the age of 39, Duane Gaulke, like many others started wondering why we shouldn’t have a league of our own. “There is so much talent out there that might not be able to compete with the regular amateur baseball programs.” Thus the idea was born, and the rest is history.

     From those humble beginnings, no lofty illusions, no expectations regarding expansion, a league was born. However it did expand as is now still expanding every year. During an 11 year span the Association blossomed into a 4 league Association. 

     In the ensuing decades growth spread to encompass the entire Twin Cities area. From the North came teams from Shoreview and later Anoka. From the west came Eden Prairie. From the east came Woodbury and Cottage Grove, and from the downtown areas came Minneapolis and St. Paul. In recent years, the rural areas of Union Hill, Montgomery and Bell Plaine have joined the ranks. 

     Since then, the St. Louis Park Cardinals have been added along with Dent-Vergas, Pine Point, Brainerd, Waconia, Urbank, New Prague, St. Peter, Veslie, Oakdale, and Webster. 

     Every year more and more 35-year-old players express an interest in Senior Baseball…further expansion is inevitable. It’s happening right here in Faribault! Now the association with 27 teams strong and looks to add the “Faribault Flames”. 

     “Being the 28th team to join the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association is a privilege,” stated Coordinator and Coach Rick Vogel, of the newly formed Faribault Flames. “The league consists of x-all-state players, x-college players, x-minor league players, and even some that played in the big leagues!”  It’s fun, and it’s amazing to see all the talent the state has to offer. I’ve only been apart of it for 4 years, and I think it’s time for Faribault to have its own team.” 

     “I’m excited’, Rick adds. “We’ll be competitive right out of the gate…we have a guy who can run like the wind, steal a base nearly anytime he wants and can nearly cover the outfield by himself, and has the best arm I’ve ever seen. We have a catcher that can throw to second base on his knees like Johnny bench, and to top that, we have a lanky tall pitcher who has amazing stuff. He just gets better with every game. Oh and there is this other guy who has a small glove but, the quickest hands I’ve ever seen in the infield, and he can hit too!”

     “I know we’ll be fun to watch…I know we have a great facility in ‘Bell Field’. I’m sure we’ll have great support from the community, and also know there are men out there that can still play that will have a wonderful time being young again and do something they have missed for a very long time. That is why we will have a try-out in late March or the first part of April.”

Wednesday, December 23
For love of the game
Rick Vogel, shown above posing with a glove and bucket of baseballs, is taking t

 By: Mark Remme

Posted: Wednesday, December 23, 2009 7:33 pm 

FARIBAULT — Rick Vogel’s passion for baseball extends well beyond the baseball diamond, his geographic location or his age. The 51-year-old Faribault resident has ample stories extending back to his childhood of just how special the game is to him. As a result, he maintained his relationship with the sport by playing in the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association — a league for men 35 years old and older — as part of the Webster Wildcats. But now Vogel’s love for baseball is extending into a new venture. He’s planning to start a new franchise for the MSMABA in Faribault named the Flames that would begin play next spring. “I want to put something together that’s special,” Vogel said. “Maybe my dreams are too big, but I want to get a team established here. I know there is so much talent out there. I found so much talent it’s unbelievable.” Vogel said he already has enough people in mind to start a new team — which is half the battle. For a MSMABA squad, which features men with careers and family obligations, there must be at least 12 to 14 guys that “are reliable” to attend, said MSMABA president Duane Gaulke. Gaulke, who founded the league in 1979, said he always welcomes new franchises to join and begin competition. Essentially a team roster needs up to 20 players, a ball field to play on and between $1,200-1,500 to cover state dues, umpire charges, uniforms, equipment and baseballs. Vogel said the Flames would rent time to play their games at Bell Field. The league begins play in May and plays 12-16 games each year up until the state tournament in late-August. Gaulke said he began the league as a 39-year-old who wanted to keep playing ball. He’ll turn 70 this summer, and he’s still on the ball field for his team in Jordan. That’s the type of personnel Vogel is looking for in his new venture — people who want to continue to play ball regardless of age. Bethlehem Academy baseball coach Scott Hanson began playing in the MSMABA in 2005 for the Minneapolis Bombers. He said it began because a family friend played on the team, and since then he’s grown to love the league. “It fills that void of competition,” Hanson said. “It makes you feel young again. Our oldest guy is 68 (years old). It’s a lot of fun.” Hanson said starting up a team in Faribault would open up a great opportunity for the older demographic with a similar competitive baseball fire.