Kontz maintains control
SPRINGFIELD -- When Adrian starting pitcher Cody Kontz looked at the scoreboard before throwing his first pitch of the game, he liked what he saw -- a 5-0 Adrian lead.
"That was pretty cool," Kontz said. "That gave me a lot of confidence, and I didn't have to worry about throwing a bad pitch or leaving it hang over (the plate) or something."
After 10 Adrian batters hit in the top of the first inning, all Kontz had to do was subdue the Minnesota Lake offense.
"I was thinking 'don't blow it; don't give up five runs and make it a game right away, just try to get some low scoring innings going,'" Kontz said.
Kontz earned the win as he threw six innings in Adrian's 9-2 victory in the opening game of the 2nd District American Legion Baseball Tournament in Springfield. Kontz allowed just six hits while striking out seven and walking two.
Joey Bertrand threw the seventh inning in relief, allowing just one hit.
For Minnesota Lake, walks haunted the pitching effort.
"Our pitchers weren't throwing strikes today; that was our downfall," ML head coach Allan Walters said.
ML pitchers issued 12 walks in the game, with six from starting pitcher Eli Walters in just two innings of work.
Eight different players walked, while Brandon Diekmann and Reid Strand each walked three times in the game.
The ML defense did not help behind the pitchers, as they made two critical errors in the first two innings -- accounting for five unearned runs.
"Our players weren't making the plays when they should," Allan Walters said. "That was the bottom line. Adrian is a very good team and very patient at the plate, and that's what won the game."
On the opposite side, Kontz was getting plenty of help defensively. The Adrian nine did not make an error and took away numerous hits with diving catches.
"Our defense was really solid," Kontz said. "We had a lot of tough plays that both the Diekmann boys made, and then we had Archer out in the outfield who made a nice play."
With one out in the first inning, Adam Diekmann singled and was followed by walks from Jordan Kontz and Glen Kruger. Brandon Diekmann drove in Adam Diekmann, as Adrian took a 1-0 lead.
Brett Nowotny drove in a run by taking a walk, as Jordan Kontz, Kruger, Brandon Diekmann and Bertrand (courtesy running for Reid Strand) all scored as Adrian held a 5-0 advantage.
"It gave us a lot of confidence," Adrian head coach Greg Kruger said of the first inning. "We just played loose. After that first inning, we had that lead, and we took chances on defense with some of the plays."
The Adrian skipper said he was glad to see his team ready to go after a layoff.
"We haven't played, but we were ready to play today. You could really see it," Greg Kruger said. "The first batter, I thought the dugout was getting too loud, but they were just cheering. They were ready to play."
ML threatened in the bottom of the first, but Cody Kontz got a fly ball and a pop-out to end the threat.
With two outs in the top of the second, the Adrian offense went to work again. Glen Kruger doubled on a blooper over the second base bag, and Brandon Diekmann followed with a walk. Nowotny hit a ground ball that was mishandled by the second baseman, which allowed Kruger to score, and John Archer singled to drive in Diekmann as Adrian held a 7-0 lead.
Neither team could plate a run in the third inning, but Adrian took advantage of walks again in the fourth for more runs.
Strand and Archer both walked, and Adam Diekmann's single scored the eighth and ninth runs of the game.
ML came back in the fourth with a lone run. Isaac Obermeyer doubled, and Jacob Malakowsky scored as his courtesy runner on Lou Sanders' single.
Paul Larson took advantage of two defensive obstruction calls to score in the fifth for ML, but neither team could score again as Adrian went on to a 9-2 win.
Walters said he was disappointed his team did not hit the ball better.
"We've been hitting the ball well lately, and we'd hoped it will carry over into the next games, but that's the game of baseball," Walters said.
These two teams had met previously, with ML the victor of that contest, 3-2.
"We were confident (coming into this game)," Walters said. "We played them before down at Jackson, and we knew they were a good team. But we are a good team, but that's why you play the game -- because you never know what can happen in any given day. I tip my hat to Adrian. They are a good, sound ball team."
Adrian improves to 19-7 on the season and will stay in the winner's bracket. They will face Blue Earth at 4:30 p.m. today in Springfield.
The Adrian players wanted to play Wabasso and avenge a 9-8 loss in eight innings during the section 3A high school baseball tournament in late May.
ML falls to 18-6 and will face Wabasso game at 11:30 a.m. today.
"We'll be OK; we'll come back," Walters said. "These kids are young, and they'll bounce back, and they'll get their hitting shoes on, and they'll be alright."
Blue Earth defeated Wabasso 8-6. Pipestone defeated Springfield, 4-3, and Milroy was victorious over Windom 6-0. Pipestone will face Milroy at 7:00 p.m. today, while Springfield will face Windom at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon.
R H E
Adrian 520 200 0 -- 9 9 0
ML 000 110 0 -- 2 6 2