Dragons knock off Tigers and Rebels in Section 3A baseball playoffs
ADRIAN -- With two outs and the bases-loaded Saturday in bottom of the sixth inning, Adrian designated hitter Ben Suedkamp scorched a 1-0 fastball up the middle, plating Dragon teammates Glen Kruger and Brett Nowotny, capping a five-run, six-hit rally, as Adrian defeated Springfield, 9-8, in a first round double elimination game of the Section 3A -- south bracket -- high school baseball tournament.
The come-from-behind victory propelled the Dragons (16-3) into the winner's bracket, while sending the Tigers to the left-side of the bracket with one loss.
"It was like a thousand pounds was lifted off my back when I saw the ball going into the outfield," Suedkamp said after the game. "I was expecting another fastball, and I was able to hit it sharp."
Strong, swirling winds hampered plays in the outfield all game long -- and aided hitters going deep, as a total of five home runs were launched over the fence.
Three of those round trippers came off the bats of Springfield hitters, while Kruger and Nowotny -- both left-handed batters -- each blasted a solo shot for the Dragons.
"The wind was blowing out strong," Adrian head coach Kevin Nowotny said. "Those two homers helped us in the early innings and then our whole line-up came through as the game continued. I thought that we were very balanced with our hitting attack."
A home run by Marc Salazar had given Springfield a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, before a towering shot by Kruger -- over the white building beyond the right-field fence -- tied the contest in the bottom of the frame.
The home run derby continued in the top of the third, as a two-run blast by Springfield's Trevor Krebs lifted the Tigers, up 3-1.
With out in the bottom of the third inning, Adrian loaded the bases on a single by Joey Bertrand, a walk to Matt Gades and a single by Adam Diekmann. Dragon pitcher Jordon Kontz then delivered a long sacrifice fly to deep right, driving in Bertrand.
The Tigers responded in the top of the fourth when a home run (first pitch) off the bat of Andy Plotz, gave Springfield a 4-2 lead.
Adrian came back with a pair in the bottom of the inning, as Nowotny led off the inning with his blast over the right field fence.
After both Suedkamp and Jordan Reker were hit by pitches, Jordan Milbrath relieved Ryan Cook on the mound for the Tigers. Gades worked a fullcount, two-out walk, loading the bases for Diekmann, who hit a routine grounder to second. But when the Tiger first baseman bobbled the throw, the hustling Diekmann was safe at first and Suedkamp crossed the plate, knotting the game at 4-4.
After a scoreless fifth inning, things got exciting in the sixth, as a total of nine runs were scored.
Springfield plated four runs in the top of the frame, taking an 8-4 lead. The rally started with two outs, after Kontz had retired seven straight Tigers.
A throwing error put Plotz on base and then Dan Scamp's base hit gave the Tigers runners on first and third. A high fly off the bat of Alex Frank swirled around in the wind and landed safely in left field, as both Plotz and Scamp scored, giving Springfield a 6-4 lead.
A sharp double by Cook followed, scoring Frank, making the score 7-4. Coach Nowotny then brought in Diekmann (from shortstop) to pitch, moving Kontz behind the plate and Gades to left field. Freshman Tyler Hornstein entered as the new Dragon shortstop.
"Jordon had been pitching well and twice we could have had the third out and been out of the inning," Nowotny said. "But, we needed to get out of the inning, so we made some changes that ended up working out OK."
Luke Amsden greeted Diekmann with an RBI single into right, scoring Cook. On the throw to the plate, Amsden tried to reach second, but Kontz gunned him out sliding into base to finally end the inning.
That set up the Dragons for their remarkable rally.
Bertrand (2-for-4, two runs) sparked the surge, ripping a one-out double to the left-center field gap. Gades (1-of-3, two walks, two runs) slapped a single and Diekmann's RBI single scored Bertrand, with both Gades and Diekmann advancing on the throw to the plate.
Kontz came through with his second RBI sacrifice fly of the game, scoring Gades and advancing Diekmann to third.
Still trailing by two runs (8-6) with two outs and a runner at third, Kruger (2-for-4, two RBI's, two runs) drove the first pitch into right, scoring Diekmann.
Nowotny (2-for-3, walk, RBI, two runs) lofted a short fly behind second base that dropped in for a hit. With two out and two on, Tanner Loosbrock drilled a pitch over the fence -- foul by a couple of feet -- before being hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Suedkamp.
"Ben has come through like that before," said Nowotny. "And Tanner really cracked one, nearly hitting our third home run. We just had lots of players contribute for us."
After rallying for the lead, Diekmann struck out Krebs to start the top of the seventh. But a walk to Bill Krueger followed, before Kontz threw out pinch-runner Ethan Fennern, attempting to steal second. After a walk to Tyler Stark, Gades made a diving catch of Salazar's liner to left field and the game was over.
R H E
Spring. 012 104 0 -- 8 9 1
Adr. 011205 X -- 9 10 1
Adrian 17, MCC 6
ADRIAN -- An 11-run fourth inning, highlighted by Tanner Loosbrock's grand slam, propelled the top-seeded Adrian Dragons to a 17-6, five-inning victory over fourth-seeded Murray County Central in a Section 3A South baseball tournament winners' bracket contest Saturday afternoon.
Adrian (17-3) advances to play second-seeded Wabasso Wednesday in Luverne at 5 p.m., while MCC (12-7) faces eighth-seeded Southwestern United tonight in Luverne at 7 p.m.
Loosbrock's grand slam over the right-field fence came on a 3-2 pitch from Rebel starting pitcher Justin Reinsma (3 1/3 innings, six strikeouts) and lifted the Dragons to an 11-6 advantage with one out in the fourth inning.
The 11-run outburst from Adrian came after MCC rallied from a 6-1 deficit with five straight runs over the third and fourth frames to create a tie game (6-6) heading into the bottom half of the fourth.
Matt Gades (2-for-3, walk, three runs) led off with a single down the left-field line, and Adam Diekmann (3-for-4, three RBIs, four runs) reached on an error to give the Dragons a pair of runners with no outs.
Jordon Kontz (2-for-3, three RBIs, three runs) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and after a sacrifice fly off the bat of Glen Kruger (3-for-3, three RBIs) plated Gades, Brett Nowotny (2-for-3) singled to left to load the bases for Loosbrock (2-for-3, five RBIs, two runs).
Adrian tacked on six more runs following Loosbrock's bomb, as Ben Suedkamp and Jordan Reker (three walks, two runs) coaxed back-to-back walks from reliever Mike Tentiger.
After a popout to third by Joey Bertrand, Gades again singled -- this time to center to score pinch-runner Zach Reker.
Diekmann (single), Kontz (double) and Kruger (single) followed with consecutive RBI-hits, Nowotny walked, and Loosbrock singled in another run to help extend the margin to 17-6.
MCC scored the game's first run when Paul Counter slugged a solo home run to center with two outs in the top of the first.
Diekmann, who tossed a complete game and fanned eight batters, tied the game with a home run (to left) of his own in the bottom of the first.
Adrian's five-run second inning made it 6-1, as Loosbrock walked and scored on a passed ball before Diekmann and Kruger delivered RBI-singles to sandwich a two-run double by Kontz.
MCC, though, answered with back-to-back home runs in the top of the third inning to trim the gap to 6-5.
With the wind blowing out, Kyle DeLong blasted a three-run shot to center to score Counter (who reached on an error) and Jake Sweetman (who walked). Alex Petersen then jacked a home run over the left-field fence to make it a one-run game.
Reinsma helped his cause by drawing a lead-off walk in the top of the fourth. Derek Platt came on as a courtesy runner and later scored on a groundout by Counter to knot the score at six.
But Adrian came right back with its 11-run frame to advance and send the Rebels to the losers' bracket.
Petersen and Ben Clarke each had a single to go with the three home runs hit by MCC.
R H E
MCC 104 10 -- 6 5 2
AHS 150 (11)X -- 17 14 1