Dragons edge Rabbits, 3-1, remain in winner's bracket
LUVERNE -- Adrian's Adam Diekmann outdueled Wabasso's Johnny Pistulka Wednesday night, and the top-seeded Dragons scored a trio of runs in the second inning to earn a 3-1 victory over the second-seeded Rabbits in a Section 3A baseball tournament winner's bracket game at Redbird Field.
Adrian (18-3) will play Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Saturday at 11 a.m., in Granite Falls, while Wabasso (17-6) plays Renville County West at 1 p.m., in Granite Falls.
Diekmann twirled a complete game for the Dragons, allowing just three hits and one walk while fanning four batters.
Pistulka was equally effective, permitting only three hits and three walks while striking out seven batters.
"That was a classic, old-time pitchers' duel there," Adrian head coach Kevin Nowotny said after the game. "Adam was outstanding on the mound for us, as was their guy. We thought we'd get a few more hits than we did, but we came through with three runs in the second and limited their scoring chances throughout the game."
Adrian's Glen Kruger led off the bottom of the second by reaching on an infield single before Pistulka fanned the next batters.
After Kruger advanced to second on a wild pitch, and Ben Suedkamp drew a five-pitch walk, Jordan Reker drilled a single to right-center -- scoring Kruger to put Adrian up 1-0 and advancing Suedkamp to third.
Reker advanced to second on a wild pitch, and Joey Bertrand laid down a safety-squeeze bunt to the left side of the infield. A throwing error to first on the play allowed both Suedkamp and Reker to score, giving the Dragons a three-run lead.
"Jordan came through like he has all year, and Joey did a nice job of getting the bunt down," Nowotny said. "We're glad we scored there because we didn't have many other chances the rest of the game."
Adrian had just four other base runners besides the second inning, as Jordon Kontz singled in the third, Suedkamp walked in the fourth, and Tanner Loosbrock (third) and Bertrand (fourth) each reached on a fielder's choice.
Wabasso, meanwhile, had a runner on base in every inning except the fifth but couldn't deliver a run-scoring hit until the seventh.
Holden Salfer singled up the middle with two outs in the third to give Wabasso its first hit and third base runner of the game, and the Rabbits put three runners on base in the fourth.
Mike Wotschke cracked a solid single up the middle to start the fourth, and the next two batters (Andy Rohlik and Jacob Bierl) each reached on a fielder's choice. But the Dragons recorded an out on each play, and Diekmann fanned the next batter to keep the Rabbits off the scoreboard.
Salfer reached on a Dragon error to begin the sixth, but Kontz (catcher) fired to Kruger (second baseman) to catch Salfer stealing after a failed hit-and-run attempt by the Rabbits. Christopher Eichten followed with a single to right, but Diekmann induced a fielder's choice groundout and a popout to end the inning.
Wabasso again threatened in the seventh and cashed in once to cut the lead to 3-1, as Bierl reached on a two-base error to start the frame and later scored on Derek Riley's two-out double to deep left field.
With the top of the order coming up following Riley's double, Diekmann got the next batter to pop out to shortstop Tyler Hornstein to end the game.
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