Luverne, Worthington VFW teams bow out
PIPESTONE -- Playing for the second time in two days, Olivia defeated Luverne 9-4 Sunday at the 3rd District VFW baseball tournament -- advancing to face Redwood Falls for the right to go to the state tournament.
Olivia was the visiting team, and jumped all over Luverne in the top of the first.
The entire Olivia lineup came to the plate, scoring six runs, four of which came on an unorthodox play.
With the bases loaded, Ross Nelson singled to score two. However, the Luverne defense made two errors on the play, allowing Derek Smith to score from first, and Nelson to travel all the way around the bases for the fifth and sixth runs of the inning.
"They were ready to play then; it woke them up," Olivia head coach Tom Smith said of the first inning. "It's a long ride down here, and I could see they were a little flat. We got a couple of hits and once we got the six-run lead, it woke them up."
The Luverne defense did save a run in the first, as Taylor VanSanten threw out Dylan Gass at the plate from right field to record the first out of the inning.
"I felt good, and the kids felt good," Smith said of the first inning. "But I knew they still had Paquette if they made a run at us, they would put him in to close."
Zack Clark walked to leadoff the Luverne half of the first, and Phil Paquette reached on an error, which scored Clark. Phillip Altman, Paquette's courtesy runner, scored on Brent Dinger's single, as Luverne came back within four.
Olivia answered back in the second and third with one run in the second and two in the third.
However, Luverne head coach Mike Wenninger went to his bullpen and bought on Paquette in relief in the fourth inning.
Paquette shut down the Olivia offense, not allowing a hit, while striking out six.
"I was planning on pitching the next game, but when I got on the mound, we were already down eight runs or so," Paquette said. "So I was just trying to do my best and keep them guessing, which I did."
In the same time, Luverne could manage only two more runs, as it lost, 9-4.
"I think we played terrible," Paquette said. "We didn't play as good as we've been playing all year. We made tons of errors and we couldn't hit, and nothing went right."
Wenninger said that it was the first inning that was the difference.
"From the first inning on, it was a pretty good ballgame," Wenninger said. "Then we had that circus act that was a single that ended up going all the way around with our throwing errors, and we can chalk that up to being young."
Wenninger admitted that Olivia was a good team, and deserved the win.
"Give Olivia all the credit in the world, they hit the ball, and their pitcher did a nice job of keeping us off the bases," Wenninger said.
Luverne will end its season 21-8.
"I think we just didn't have it the whole weekend, and we were kind of lackadaisical and we weren't there," Paquette said.
In the championship game, Olivia had a 9-6 lead going in to the last inning, but gave up four runs to lose, 10-6. Redwood Falls will represent the third district at the state tournament on August 9 in New Ulm.
R H E
Olivia 612 000 0 -- 9 8 7
Luverne 200 101 0 -- 4 4 4
Luverne 11, Worthington 2
Luverne's Zach Olson threw a complete game four-hitter as Luverne defeated Worthington in the losers' bracket Saturday. With the loss, Worthington ends its season with an 18-17 record.
"We got beat by a better team," Worthington head coach Ryan Weber said. "Luverne is a hellava team. No matter what we threw, they hit it hard."
Worthington's Mitchell Jensen was hit to lead off the game, and stole second. He later scored as the Luverne defense mishandled a Matt King hit, as Worthington held a 1-0 lead.
Luverne, however, came roaring back. Zack Clark, Nick Meyer and Phil Paquette all singled to start the game, as Paquette's hit scored Clark to tie the game. Brent Dinger tripled to plate Meyer and Phillip Altman -- who was courtesy running for Paquette -- as Luverne had a 3-1 advantage.
Luverne scored once again in the second, as Matt Christiansen singled, and Meyer followed with an RBI double. Paquette singled to drive in Christiansen, scoring the fourth run of the game. Meyer also scored as Luverne had a 5-1 lead after two.
Olsen kept the Worthington offense in check until the sixth inning. King led off with a single and advanced to second on an error. He took third on a wild pitch, and was driven in by Craig Soderholm. However, that would be the last run for Worthington, as it could manage just four hits in the contest.
"It starts with pitching," Luverne head coach Mike Wenninger said. "When Zach Olson, who pitched the entire game, walked two hitters, it kept us in the groove."
Paquette hit a triple in the fourth inning as Luverne added two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth. Paquette once again proved to be a factor, as his fifth inning single plated Meyer.
"Phil Paquette had a great day at the plate today," Wenninger said. "With him coming up, we just need to have guys on when he comes up."
Paquette finished the game 4-for-five with four RBI. Including his first game of the day, he was 7-for-9 with three triples and eight RBI. With the runs that his courtesy runners scored, Paquette accounted for 11 of the 18 runs Luverne scored on Saturday.
"Paquette's two games today, I've never seen anything like it," Weber said.
Luverne added two runs in the sixth en route to the 11-2 victory.
"Luverne's a better team," Weber said. "They got us three times this year, and we can't complain; they are here for a reason."
After qualifying out of a tough sub-district, Weber said he'd hoped his team would make it to the second day.
"We knew that if we ran into Luverne, we were going to have a tough challenge," Weber said. "I was hoping we'd be playing on Sunday and obviously that didn't happen."
Kyle Vaske, King, Soderholm and Travis Meinders each had a hit for Worthington.
Worthington ends its season, but Weber said it was a year of learning.
"I'm proud of the kids," Weber said. "That's what the game is all about; teaching and getting better. Hopefully the kids had fun; that's the whole part about summer baseball."
R H E
Wgtn 100 010 0 -- 2 4 0
Luv. 320 222 x -- 11 15 4
Olivia 8, Luverne 7
After leading 2-0, Luverne gave up a six-run inning as Olivia defeated Luverne in its opening-round game, 8-7.
"When you think you can beat a team, and you have them on the edge, it's frustrating," Luverne head coach Mike Wenninger said. "Our defense let us down, but we walked a lot of batters in the game."
The third inning was the deadly inning for Luverne. Luverne pitchers walked four in the inning, as Olivia sent 12 batters to the plate in the six-run inning. In all, Luverne walked 11 batters in the game.
"All of their pitchers struggled throwing strikes, and it hurt them," Olivia head coach Tom Smith said. "They are a very good team; I've never seen pitching like that at this age level. As long as you keep the pressure on them, it keeps them uptight."
Luverne came back in the fourth with four runs, three of which were driven in by Phil Paquette's double.
Paquette spent most of his afternoon standing on third base, as he tripled twice, and took third on the throw home on his double. Paquette drove in four runs in the game, but the Luverne offense could only drive in Phillip Altman -- Paquette's courtesy runner -- once.
Trailing 8-7 in the bottom of the seventh, Paquette led off the inning. After flirting with the idea of intentionally walking Paquette, Olivia decided to pitch to the Luverne catcher.
Paquette hit a deep fly ball that was finally tracked down at the warning track in left field.
"I knew if we could get him (Paquette) out it would take a little wind out of their sail," Smith said. "I tell you, when he hit that ball, I thought it was gone when it left the bat. They have big fields here."
Luverne could not push across the tying run, as Luverne lost by one run.
"You have to commend Olivia for getting the eight runs that they did and hang on to get the victory," Wenninger said.
R H E
Olivia 006 010 0 -- 8 5 3
Luverne 210 400 0 -- 7 9 3
Redwood Falls 3, Worthington 0
Worthington left 10 runners on base, and Redwood Falls used two walks and an error for a three-run first inning as Redwood Falls won the first game in the Third District VFW tournament Saturday in Pipestone.
With one out, Micah Gronli doubled, and scored, and Mike Wotschke and Holden Salfer both walked to load the bases. Gronli scored on an error, while Wotschke and Salfer both scored on a sacrifice fly and an RBI single, respectively.
"I think we played well once we got past the first inning," Worthington head coach Ryan Weber said. "We hit the ball well after that; just unfortunately it went right to them. Once we were out of that first inning, we were alright."
Worthington starting pitcher Matt King suffered a tough-luck loss. He allowed just five hits and two earned runs, while walking four and striking out six in a complete-game effort.
"King threw a hellava game but if you look at the scoreboard, three errors, three runs, that's the game," Weber said.
The Worthington defense committed three errors defensively, accounting for an unearned run.
Worthington left 10 men on base, including the bases loaded in the first and three in the third.
"This game could have gone either way," Redwood Falls head coach Bob Kaupang said. "They had a couple of situations where they had the bases loaded and they hit a couple of hard balls, but they were right at us. It was a game that could have gone either way, and fortunately for us, it went out way."
Justin Lewis led the way for Worthington with two hits.
R H E
Wgtn. 000 000 0 -- 0 6 3
RF 300 000 x -- 3 5 1