Amateur baseball: Luverne, Adrian take series wins
LAKEFIELD – Luverne proved it will be a tough out for any team that wants to stop it from making a return trip to the Class C State Tournament this season.
The Redbirds caught fire in the middle innings and Lakefield could do nothing to stop them. They went on to take a 10-0 run-rule win to clinch their best-of-3 series 2-0 in the Gopher/First Nite League playoffs. The win puts Luverne in the Region 13C Tournament.
“It was a good game for us,” said Luverne shortstop Skyler Wenninger, who went 4-for-5 at the plate. “We came out focused and we squared up really well at the plate. We hit the ball and made them play defense.”
Luverne drew first blood in the top of the second when James Fisher hit a towering solo home run to straightaway center, but the fourth is when the Redbirds truly blew things open.
Fisher led off the top of the inning with an 80-foot single that stalled in no-man’s-land on the Frogs’ infield. Connor Fitzer followed that with a basehit of his own and Redbirds had something cooking. After Josh Slieter loaded the bases by reaching on an error, Joey Slieter looped a single to center that scored Fisher easily. The throw to the infield pegged Fitzer in the leg and caromed all the way to the fence, allowing him to cross for the second run of the inning. Both Slieters trotted home a short time later when Skyler Wenninger sent a screamer up the middle for his third of the ballgame.
For Wenninger, Friday night’s game was his second of the day. He also played for American Legion Post 123 in its 11-0 district tournament win over Welcome-Sherburn Friday morning in Redwood Falls.
“It helps that I’m playing both legion and amateur ball,” he said. “That way I get to see twice as many pitches.”
Jared Pick walked and scored on a Fitzer double to give Luverne a 6-0 lead going to the bottom of the fifth.
While the Redbird offense rallied, starting pitcher Codie Zeutenhorst had gone into cruise control. The Maurice, Iowa, native set down 16 of the first 18 batters he faced, including a run of 10 straight that lasted into the sixth inning. During that time he gave up just one hit, a leadoff single to Taylor Christopher in the bottom of the first. It was also Christopher that finally broke up the streak with a hard single to left. He made it to third on a pair of wild pitches, but was left 90 feet from home.
“He threw well,” Wenninger said of his pitcher. “He threw strikes and he knew what the umpire wanted. When you’re living low, you’re usually tough to beat.”
Six singles in the top the sixth allowed the Redbirds to tack on four to their total to go up 10-0.
Wenninger led Luverne at the plate, going 4-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Fisher went 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBIs and two runs scored. Joe Slieter, Brian Beuning and Fitzer had two hits each. Taylor Christopher was 2-for-3 for the Frogs.
Zeutenhorst went all seven for the win, allowing just two hits and striking out five. Bryce Christopher took the loss for the Horned Frogs, allowing 10 runs – eight earned – on 14 hits and striking out four over five and one-third innings of work.
The Redbirds (16-5) will now await the rest of this weekend’s results to find out who they play in the regional. Lakefield’s season came to an end with a mark of 5-16.
“It’s good for the team to get a break,” Wenninger said. “That should help us get some of our arms back in shape. Hopefully in the next round we can just come out as strong as we can.”
R H E
Luverne 010 414 0 – 10 15 1
Lakefield 000 000 0 – 0 2 2
Adrian ends Worthington's season
ADRIAN — Adrian pulled off the minor upset Friday when it finished a 2-0 series win over Worthington in the best-of-3 first round matchup.
The fifth-seeded A’s didn’t get a great deal of offense in Game 2, but the seven runs they put up in the fourth inning were enough to take a 7-5 win.
Both teams were scoreless when Josh Wasmund came through with a monster knock in the third inning to give them the lead. With the bases juiced, Wasmund belted a grand slam home run to put Worthington on top 4-0.
That held for just an inning and half, however. Adrian rallied with the help of a two-run hit by Hunter Sieperda to hang the seven-spot in the fourth and the Cubs had a tough time recovering. They got one more run in the top of the ninth when Wasmund cracked a solo homer for his second round-tripper of the evening.
“I’ll take 0-for-4 and a win any day,” Wasmund said.
Cody Kontz went eight innings to get the win for Adrian. He allowed four runs while striking out nine and walking four. Colin Sandbulte gave up one run but held on for the save. Ryan Swanson went all eight innings in the loss for Worthington. He surrendered seven runs, struck out three and walked four.
Sieperda had two hits and two RBIs for the A’s. Eric Koob had a pair of hits for Worthington to go with Wasmund’s night that included two hits, two home runs and five RBIs.
Adrian improved to 9-10 with the win and advanced to the Region 13C Tournament. Worthington’s season ends at 7-14.
R H E
Worthington 004 000 001 — 5 9 0
Adrian 000 700 00x — 7 8 1