Amateur baseball: Redbirds ousted in state tournament
DELANO — Luverne’s eight-game playoff winning streak came to an end Sunday, as the Redbirds were defeated by the Jordan Brewers in the quarterfinals of the Class C state amateur baseball tournament, 10-3.
Luverne, the champions of Region 13C, had advanced to the tournament’s Elite Eight by rallying for a 3-2 victory over defending state champion Maple Lake at Maple Lake Saturday. The win was the eighth consecutive for the Redbirds without a loss in this year’s playoffs.
Fairmont, the Region 13C runner-up, also advanced to the Elite Eight with a 6-2 win over the Lastrup Lakers Saturday, but the Martins were eliminated Sunday by the Winsted Wildcats, 10-7.
Pipestone draftee Brandon Alfson earned the pitching victory for the Martins on Saturday, twirling the final four innings and not allowing a run on two hits. Fairmont, which hit three home runs in the game, scored a trio of runs in the top of the seventh inning and crossed the plate three more times in the top of the ninth to overcome an early 2-0 deficit.
Luverne rallied in dramatic fashion Saturday, as the Redbirds trailed 2-0 with two outs in the top of the ninth inning before back-to-back RBI singles by Connor Fitzer and Codie Zeutenhorst plated Jared Pick (infield single) and Eric Kor (pinch running for James Fisher, who had drawn a two-out, two-strike walk) with the Redbirds’ first two runs of the game.
Then, after a solid relief-pitching performance by Andrew DeBoer held the Lakers in check, Zeutenhorst ripped a pitch 374 feet over the fence just to the left of straightaway center, giving Luverne a 3-2 lead in the top of the 11th inning.
DeBoer, who struck out seven batters, in three innings, earned the victory by blanking Maple Lake in the bottom of the frame. DeBoer did not walk anyone and gave up only one hit.
Brian Beuning pitched the first eight inning for the Redbirds, striking out eight and walking just one, while giving up six hits and no earned runs.
Maple Lake scored solo unearned runs in each the second and eighth innings.
Phil Paquette was 3-for-4, including a double, to lead Luverne at the plate, while Zeutenhorst was 2-for-5 with a pair of key RBI.
Fisher and Tony Sandbulte also contributed to the Redbirds’ nine-hit attack.
Against Jordan, Luverne rallied with two runs in the top of the third and took a 2-2 tie into the fifth frame. The Brewers broke the contest open with eight runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Hadley draftee Nick Bruning relieved DeBoer with one out in the fifth and — after giving being tagged for three of Jordan’s runs in the frame — held the Brewers scoreless in innings six, seven and eight. Bruning struck out five batters, while DeBoer — who took the loss — struck out three, giving him 10 K’s in seven plus innings during the two weekend games.
Joey Slieter was 2-for-3, including a double, and also reached base on a pair of walks to lead the Redbirds at the plate against Jordan.
Pick had an RBI double, while Beuning (RBI), Fitzer, Zeutenhorst, Sandbulte (double) and Cody Christensen also had hits in the game for Luverne, which finished its season with an overall record of 23-8.
R H E
Luverne 000 000 002 01 — 3 9 3
Maple Lake 010 000 010 00 — 2 7 2
R H E
Luverne 002 000 001 — 3 8 3
Jordan 110 080 00X — 10 11 1