STRUM, Wis. — Baseball is back in Red Wing ... well sort of. The Aces played an exhibition doubleheader in Strum, Wis., on Saturday with games against Spring Valley and Beef River.

With Classic Cannon Valley league games and whether Red Wing can play games at The Ath still up in the air at this point, Aces manager Justin Plein said it was nice to be able to get out and play.

"Playing an hour and a half away from home and we still had 15-16 guys come," Plein said. "The guys were excited to get back out."

That excitement was visible early as the Aces put up three runs in the top of the first inning against Spring Valley in the first game of the doubleheader. It continued with aggressive running on the basepath as longtime Aces members Corey Tauer and Josh Thygesen each swiped a base.

Corey Tauer steals second base in an exhibition game against Spring Valley on June 20, 2020. Jake Pfeifer / RiverTown Multimedia
Corey Tauer steals second base in an exhibition game against Spring Valley on June 20, 2020. Jake Pfeifer / RiverTown Multimedia

“We’ve always talked about being aggressive on the basebaths. We want to force the other team to make plays,” Plein said.

The Aces went on to win the exhibition game, 9-0, with Teddy Tauer earning the win on the mound after receiving the starting nod and going four innings. Ben Kuehni, one of two seniors from the Red Wing High School Class of 2020 playing in the game, came on in relief to close out the final three innings.

In the second game of the doubleheader against the Beef River Bullfrogs, the Aces were down 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning when Grant Rolen tied the game on a two-run home run. Brady Schroeder later hit a three-run pinch-hit home run to give the Aces a 6-3 victory.

Bear Blaney picked up the win on the mound after he came on in relief of Marcus Walm who pitched the first four innings.

Preparing for an uncertain season

Prior to the Saturday doubleheader, when and if the Aces would get to play meaningful games was undetermined. Their opening day was scheduled to be April 25 and until the Red Wing City Council approved use of city fields for practice starting June 1, the team was unable to participate in any organized capacity.

The team has spent Fridays in June practicing as a team at The Ath so the team wasn’t unprepared for the recent doubleheader.

“We’ve had a couple practices, pitchers threw and hitters went live,” Plein said.

Brodie Smith hits a single against Spring Valley in an exhibition game June 20, 2020. Jake Pfeifer / RiverTown Multimedia
Brodie Smith hits a single against Spring Valley in an exhibition game June 20, 2020. Jake Pfeifer / RiverTown Multimedia

When Red Wing scheduled the doubleheader, teams in the Minnesota Baseball Association were allowed to play out of state, but not in-state. That changed this past Friday when Gov. Tim Walz approved the resumption of “town ball.” Teams are still encouraged to play other teams in their immediate area according to Minnesota Department of Health guidelines.

Plein said that he is unsure of what the rest of the summer will look like for the Aces but he has been in constant contact with the league on what the league season will look like.

For now that schedule includes exhibition games next week in St. Patrick, Minn., on Wednesday and Hayward, Wis., on Friday.

“All of the guys just want to play,” Plein said. “People are excited to get out there and just compete in something.”