Arrows fall in state opener
ST. CLOUD -- Annandale starting pitcher Bert Marsnik didn't have Hall of Fame numbers in the opening round of the Class AA baseball tournament Thursday, but that didn't stop his coach from comparing him to a legend.
Marsnik wasn't overpowering and allowed seven runs, but threw well enough to send Annandale to a 10-7 victory over Pipestone Area.
"That's Bert, all year long," Annandale head coach Ron Starke said. "He might have an inning where they figure him out a little bit and then he'll come to another level mentally. He doesn't overpower people, but he mixes his pitches. We call him (Greg) Maddux because he's a bulldog. He works his tail off and he's deserving of everything he's earned."
His counterpart, Bryce Beyers, allowed 10 runs, but pitched into some tough luck as only three runs were earned.
"We have a saying around Pipestone, 'The best team never wins, the team that plays best always wins,'" PA head coach Rick Zollner said. "We did not play well enough to win."
The Arrows (19-8) committed three costly errors defensively -- allowing seven unearned runs to score, including the final five in a game-deciding sixth inning.
"We didn't play up to our capability at all," PA's Doug Mead said. "We came out all right, and we kind of flattened out and lost it again, but it just wasn't enough."
After the Arrows had battled back to tie the game at 5-all, the Cardinals (19-6) took advantage of their opportunity in the top of the sixth.
Charlie Geldert singled to start the Cardinal half of the sixth, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. He moved to third on a wild pitch, and later scored on a throwing error as Mitch Logeais stole second and the throw down was off the mark.
Beyers got Shay Klitzke to strike out, but it was with two outs that Annandale capitalized. Graham Brown hit a ground ball that was misplayed, and Mike Starke walked to load the bases for Tim Queck.
Queck made the most of his chance and came through with a bases-clearing double to give the Cardinals a 9-5 lead.
"There are two ways to look at it," Zollner said. "Beyers had gotten the kid out a few times or was it that guys' turn to get Beyers. It ended up being his turn to get Beyers."
Queck scored later in the inning on a hit from Marsnik as Annandale had a 10-5 advantage.
"That's a real compliment to these young men, they don't give up," Starke said. "They love the game of baseball and they play it the right way. They play for seven innings."
However, the Arrows weren't going to go down quietly. With two outs, Alex Darveaux walked, and scored as Jon Schelhaas hit a single to right field. Schelhaas scored on a passed ball as the Arrows cut the lead to three, 10-7.
"We fought to the end," Mead said. "We're representing Pipestone up here."
Mead threw the last inning and a third for the Arrows and didn't allow a run, but PA was unable to score a run in the bottom of the seventh -- sending the Arrows to today's consolation bracket game against Mora.
"It's going to be tough, but we have to try to win two more games and go home with something," Mead said.
While it was the Cardinals that delivered the final blow, it was the Arrows that struck first.
In the bottom of the first frame, Mead hit a long triple and scored on a Sam Bauer base hit to give PA a 1-0 lead.
"I just tried to get us going any way I could," Mead said.
"Unfortunately, it wasn't enough."
After a scoreless second inning, Annandale answered in a big way in the top of the third.
Brown hit a triple into the sun in right field to score a run and scored on an error later in the inning to give Annandale a 2-1 lead. Marsnik delivered an RBI double later in the inning, and before the frame was over, the Cardinals had put four runs on the board and had a 4-1 lead.
"We've had a lot of wild ones like this in the last couple of weeks," Starke said. "Our kids haven't given up all year."
The Cardinals scored a run in the top of the fourth, but the Arrows came back in the bottom of the inning.
Darrell Stout singled to start the rally, and with two outs, Brandan Alfson singled and Robbie Forde doubled to drive in both runs.
Darveaux and Schelhaas each drove in a run in the inning as PA scored four runs and tied the game at 5-all.
"I like we responded right away when we got down," Starke said.
"We got those four quick runs, but they really came back. They hit shot after shot after shot and we just needed to weather that inning and regroup."
That was the last big inning PA was able to manage against Marsnik as the senior right-hander was able to pitch well enough to hold on to the Cardinals' lead.
"I was happy with how we swung the bats," Zollner said. "That's a great pitcher, and he pitches in a great conference. All those teams are good. I give him credit, he started to drop down (sidearm), and that caused some problems for us."
Annandale will face Winona Cotter today at 12:30 p.m. at Dick Putz Field, while PA will also play at 12:30 p.m. at Joe Faber Field.
"I told our kids that the only other time Annandale has been here they finished fourth," Starke said. "We have a chance to do something pretty special for our school."
R H E
A'dale 004 105 0 - 10 11 1
PA 100 402 0 - 7 9 3