Luverne shuts out Adrian, 4-0
LUVERNE -- It was the situation big-time players live for. With no outs and two runners on, Luverne's Zach Olson relieved starting pitcher Brent Dinger in the top of the sixth, with Luverne leading Adrian 1-0.
"I was a little nervous, they have hitters one through nine," Olson said. "I just got the nerves up, and came in firing and tried to get the job done."
Olson proved he was more than up to the task as he struck out the next three batters to preserve the one-run lead.
As if that wasn't enough for Olson, he came up in the bottom of the sixth with one out and two runners on and blasted a Jordan Kontz offering into deep right-center field. Adrian centerfielder Brett Nowotny nearly made a spectacular diving catch, but the ball grazed off his outstretched glove, as Olson drove in two and wound up on second with a double.
"I thought he had that," Olson said. "He was quick over to it, and I saw it drop and took my butt off to second."
Olson's courtesy runner would also score in the inning, as Luverne went on to a 4-0 victory Thursday in VFW playoff action.
While the score showed four runs, Adrian's Jordan Kontz allowed just two earned runs, while striking out three in five and one-third innings.
"Jordan pitched against us in Adrian, and I think the game was a 3-2 ballgame, so it was tight there, and it was tight here," Luverne head coach Mike Wenninger said. "So it was a good ballgame all the way around."
Adrian's Achilles' heel however, was the two errors committed by its defense.
"I thought it was a great game, it was a pitching duel between Dinger and Kontz," Adrian head coach Kevin Nowotny said. "I thought we committed two or three or four errors that gave them a run or two."
Luverne's first run came in the third inning. With two outs, Zack Clark singled, and later scored on an error, giving Luverne a 1-0 lead.
"I think both teams played a real nice baseball game," Wenninger said. "For a 15 and 16 year old game, it was a pretty good ballgame and pretty clean except for the first run we got that was unearned with that error on Adrian."
For Luverne, its defense did not make an error in the game.
"We played pretty well, we all came together and fielded ground balls and helped each other out on the mound, and just made nice plays," Olson said. "It's always nice to have good defense; good defense helps every time."
From then on, Dinger was in control on the hill. He allowed just one hit in five innings. He struck out nine, but walked seven.
"I thought we got runners on early in the game and late in the game," Nowotny said. "We had runners on first and second and they struck out the side in the sixth, so I was kind of disappointed that we couldn't at least make contact. I didn't mind them striking out, but we struck out looking five times, I guess that's what disappointed me the most."
Tanner Loosbrock had the lone hit for Adrian in the fourth inning. Loosbrock and Kontz both walked twice.
In all, Luverne pitchers struck out 13 Adrian batters.
"Dinger did a nice job; he can be wild at times with his walks, and Zach Olson did a good job coming in," Wenninger said. "But you can't say enough for Adrian. Jordan Kontz is a very nice pitcher, and Adrian's a nice ball club. It's always nice to beat a good ball club and get in the next round."
Nowotny said that some of his players have never seen that quality of pitchers.
"Our top four have seen pitching like that, but our bottom five kids have never seen pitching of that caliber before," Nowotny said. "That was a rude awakening for them."
For Luverne, Clark, had three hits and scored twice. Phil Paquette scored a run, while Olson had a double and drove in two.
Adrian, now 10-7 on the season, will move to the losers' bracket and play Slayton on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in Luverne.
Luverne, now 21-6 on the season, advances to the South District championship against Pipestone at noon Saturday.
"(The win) is a big momentum booster, it's just going to help us going into Saturday," Olson said.
R H E
Adrian 000 000 0 -- 0 1 2
Luverne 001 003 x -- 4 5 0
Pipestone 7, Worthington 5
PIPESTONE -- Sam Bauer struck out two and walked one to earn the complete-game victory for Pipestone Thursday night.
Kyle Vaske suffered the loss for Worthington, allowing two earned runs on nine hits while striking out three and walking two over 4 2/3 innings.
Matt King was 3-for-4 with a trio of singles and an RBI for Worthington. Derek Busswitz was 1-for-1, while Mitchell Jensen was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a double.
Worthington will face the winner of the Marshall Orange/Fulda contest on Saturday in Luverne.
R H E
Worth. 010 010 3 -- 5 9 5
Pipe. 010 033 X -- 7 11 1
Okabena 7, Fairmont 2
ST. JAMES -- Thomas Albricht allowed two earned runs on six hits while striking out two and walking one to earn the complete-game victory Thursday evening.
Mike Stenzel was 2-for-2 with a triple and an RBI for Okabena. Kirk McBreen was 2-for-3 with a double, while Albricht was 2-for-4 with a three-run triple in the sixth inning.
Tyler Obermoller was 1-0for-2 with an RBI, Octavio Jimenez was 1-for-3 and Ben Scheevel was 1-for-4 with an RBI and a double.
Okabena plays St. James at 10 a.m. today.
R H E
Fair. 000 011 0 -- 2 6 1
Oka. 010 114 X -- 7 9 1