Adrian comes from behind to defeat Luverne
JACKSON -- After winning a pair of games Saturday and claiming a 4-3 victory over Blue Earth early Sunday, Adrian Post 32 rallied with a four-run sixth inning to edge Luverne, 10-9, late Sunday afternoon in the championship game of the LDW Legion Baseball Tournament.
The victory was Adrian's seventh in a row this summer since an opening 8-6 loss to Luverne a couple of weeks ago.
The championship game featured a total of 23 hits and several lead changes before Adrian capitalized on a pair of Luverne errors in the top of the sixth -- along with a trio of timely hits -- to turn a 9-6 deficit into a 10-9 lead.
"We have a bunch of good kids on this team," Adrian skipper Greg Kruger said after his team received the tournament's gold medals. "The word quit is not in their vocabulary."
Cody Kontz, who had delivered the game-winning RBI in the Blue Earth victory, reached second on a Luverne error to start the Adrian sixth.
Adam Diekmann followed by beating out an infield hit, putting Post 32 runners on the corners.
A deep RBI sacrifice fly off the bat of Jordon Kontz plated his older brother, trimming the Luverne lead to 9-7.
Adrian's Glen Kruger reached base on Luverne's second error of the inning. A wild pitch advanced Diekmann to third and Kruger to second -- and then Post 32's Brett Nowotny slapped a sizzling single to right field that scored both Diekmann and Kruger, knotting the score at 9-all.
Nowotny (three runs) stole second and later streaked home on John Archer's RBI single to center, giving Adrian a 10-9 advantage.
"Both Brett and John really came through for us with clutch hits when we needed them," Greg Kruger said. "All of the boys made plays to help us win the game."
A trio of fine plays were made by Adrian catcher Jordon Kontz in the game's last two innings.
In the bottom of the fifth, Kontz made a catch of a foul pop-up right up against the fence for one Luverne out -- and then in the bottom of the sixth, he used his strong throwing arm to gun down a pair of Luverne runners, clinching the Adrian victory.
With Adam Diekmann relieving Joey Bertrand on the mound for Adrian (with one on and nobody out), Kontz fielded a bunt and fired to second, cutting down the lead runner.
Then, after Archer made a nice catch in right field for the second out, Kontz picked a runner off first base -- ending the inning and the game.
"Jordon has a cannon," praised Adrian assistant coach Craig Gades. "Those were a pair of great throws that kept Luverne from getting any kind of rally going in that last inning."
Prior to that decisive sixth inning, Luverne -- which smacked 14 hits in the game -- had its share of highlights, including holding leads of 6-2, 7-4 and 9-6.
After Adrian had scored twice in the top of the fifth, trimming the lead to 7-6, Luverne plated a pair of runs on four hits, increasing its lead back to three.
A single by Nick Meyer started the rally and then Zach Olson (4-for-4) smacked a double. An RBI single by Phil Paquette (3-for-4) plated Meyer, and Olson scored on Chris DenHoed's sharp RBI single down the third base line.
Luverne had strung together an even bigger inning in the bottom of the second, scoring six runs on five hits. Adrian's only error of the game occurred before the barrage of singles by Luverne, as all of the runs were unearned.
Adrian had scored a run in each of the first two innings and then scored twice in the top of the third as Matt Gades ripped a two-run triple.
Adrian scored twice more in the fifth as Jordon Kontz drove a double to deep left-center field and advanced to third on a Luverne error. Kontz scored Adrian's fifth run on a wild pitch.
Nowotny drew a walk and moved to third on a one-out double by Gades down the right field line. Nowotny then scored on a passed ball, making the score 7-6.
Luverne then pounded its four hits in the bottom of the frame, extending the lead to 9-6, before Adrian scored four times in the top of the sixth.
Adam Ossefoort and Paquette handled the pitching duties for Luverne, while Jordon Kontz, Cody Kontz, Bertrand and Diekmann all pitched for Adrian.
Six players combined for nine hits for Adrian, as Diekmann, Jordon Kontz and Gades each had two.
Adrian plays at Pipestone Friday night.
R H E
Adrian 112 024 -- 10 9 1
Luverne 060 030 -- 9 14 4
Adrian 4, Blue Earth 3
Cody Kontz had walked three times earlier in the game, but with the score tied in the bottom of the sixth -- and two men on and nobody out -- the Adrian shortstop drilled a line drive past the Blue Earth third baseman, plating John Archer (who had singled) with the winning run.
Adam Diekmann, who relieved Archer with one out in the fifth, had closed the door on Blue Earth in the top of the inning, as he struck out the side.
Archer, who pitched three consecutive scoreless innings, had a pair of hits for Adrian and Reid Strand drove in two key runs with a fourth inning single.
R H E
Blue Earth 100 002 -- 3 7 1
Adrian 001 201 -- 4 7 1