BOTTOM — Fairmont Cardinal starting pitcher Landen Meyerdirk (10) displays his athleticism as he fires the baseball to first base to save Blue Earth zone hitter Kean Hicks (right) during Big South action Conference Thursday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. Cardinals third baseman Eli Anderson (left) watches the throw. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

FAIRMONT — Fairmont, ranked No. 2 in Class AA, left Herb Wolf Field after five innings with a weather-shortened 7-3 baseball win over rival Blue Earth Area on Thursday.

No wait. Bring them back.

After 10 minutes, head to the parking lot and watch a dizzying dust storm literally blow over the Fairmont ballpark, hometown Cardinal and Buc players returned to the dugouts under blue skies and play resumed at Fairmont.

Fairmont held off Blue Earth Area’s top three in the sixth set en route to an 8-6 league triumph to improve their season-high record to 16-0.

“The baseball gods have been good to us” said smiling Fairmont head coach Don Waletich. “We definitely find different ways to win ball games.”

Despite Eli Anderson’s first-inning triple, Nate Soelter’s second-inning triple and Zach Jorgensen’s RBI brace in the third, the Cardinals manufactured their final six runs on the strength of a single hit — the single Soelter’s RBI — on a four-run fifth at-bat, and Jack Kosbab’s sacrifice steals in the sixth.

Fairmont capitalized on 10 steps and had three double steals to generate three carries to fend off Blue Earth Area for the second time in the last five days. Ironically, the Cardinals defeated the Bucs — also by an 8-6 decision — in last Saturday’s Windom Area Invitational at Island Park.

Fairmont’s late-inning defensive corners Kosbab and Brendan Schmidtke made two game-breaking plays to thwart Blue Earth Area’s late offensive threats in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively.

After singles from Carson Sturtz, Soren Fering and Logan O’Hara charged in the BEA sixth, Nick Barke pushed the visitors to 7-4 via an RBI single out to right field. Parker Meyers drew a base-loaded walk before Kean Hicks tackled another run when his grounder was misplayed.

Down 7-6, Adam Schavey belted a shortstop grounder who was thrown low to first baseman Jack Kosbab, who stretched and recovered the toss to end the late rally of BEA and kept Fairmont ahead of the scoreboard by one.

After Cardinal closer Eli Anderson launched back-to-back marches to the Bucs to open the seventh, Schmidtke gloved a tail liner on Fering’s bat but temporarily lost control of the baseball. Schmidtke walked to third base for the forced out and shot through the diamond to first for the clutch double play.

“I really thought I caught it (line practice), but then I saw the baseball on the ground. I had the lead runner on third before throwing to first for the double play,” Schmidtke said.

Soelter went 2 for 3 with a triple and an RBI for Fairmont, Anderson tripled and scored once, Lincoln Becker went 1 for 2 with two runs scored, Jorgensen doubled in a run, while Kosbab threw a sacrificial fly .

Becker allowed five runs on five hits, struck out one, walked two and hit one in 2 2/3 innings of relief for the win. Anderson walked twice, retired one and allowed a hit while working the seventh to make the save.

Cardinal Landen’s starting pitcher Meyerdirk allowed just one run on three hits, struck out two, walked three and pitched two in 3 1/3 innings to receive a decision without decision.

Anthony Carr started on the mound for the Bucs, allowing six runs on four hits, striking out two and walking five to absorb the loss.

Fering went 2 for 5 with a brace and a run scored for BEA, Parker Meyers was 2 for 2 with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Sturtz went 2 for 2.

Fairmont (16-0) hosts Marshall in a conference doubleheader at 4 p.m. today at Wolf Field. Blue Earth Area (7-7) hosts Windom Area at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Blue Earth.

BEA 001 023 0 — 6 9 2

FMT 012 041 X — 8 5 2

Anthony Carr (LP), Abram Kokos (5), Caleb Langager (6) and Carson Sturtz. Landen Meyerdirk, Lincoln Becker (4, WP), Eli Anderson (7, Sv) and Zach Jorgensen.

LOB–Blue Earth Area 12, Fairmont 7. 2B–Zach Jorgensen (FMT), Soren Fering (BEA). 3B–Eli Anderson (FMT), Nate Soelter (FMT). SF–Jack Kosbab (FMT). SAC–Kean Hicks (BEA), Adam Schavey (BEA).

Today’s breaking news and more to your inbox