Olivia knocks out Worthington
LUVERNE -- Worthington's fine VFW summer baseball came to an end Saturday, as Olivia snapped a 4-4 tie with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning and ousted Post 3958 (20-15) from the District 3 playoffs.
Olivia's 5-4 victory was Worthington's second defeat in the double-elimination tournament, which was won Sunday by Marshall Blue.
Marshall went undefeated in District 3 action, including a 5-1 decision over Pipestone in the tournament's final game.
Pipestone, which finished an amazing season with a 29-5 record, advanced to the finals with a 14-4 win over Olivia in Saturday's second contest.
Olivia 5, Worthington 4
Trailing 4-1 after four innings, Worthington rallied with a single run in the top of the fifth and then tied the game by scoring twice in the top of the seventh.
Olivia, which had taken an early 3-0 lead on a bases-loaded, two-out, three-run double by leadoff hitter Brecken Ebnet in the bottom of the second inning, responded by loading the bases -- with nobody out -- in the bottom of the seventh frame.
Olivia's first batter was beaned. A looping infield hit put two runners on board and then Hunter Evenson's bunt single filled the sacks for Logan Nissen, who plated the winning run with a high pop-up which landed on the grass just off the edge of the infield.
"With nobody out and the bases full, we had our infield up," explained Worthington volunteer assistant coach Glenn Thuringer, who guided Post 3958 Saturday while head coach T.D. Hostikka was attending his 30-year high school class reunion out west in Washington.
"Had we been playing at normal depth, we very likely make that catch, but the bases are still full with just one out -- and there are other ways Olivia could have scored."
Worthington rapped seven hits in the game, including a 3-for-4 performance by shortstop Roque Soto, who pitched to both Evenson and Nissen.
"Roque had a great day at the plate and has been a clutch pitcher for us," declared Thuringer. "We liked our chances with him throwing the ball."
Oliver Wolyniec (2-for-4) stole two bases and scored two runs for Worthington, while leadoff hitter Logan Thuringer drew a pair of walks, stole two bases and crossed the plate on Trevor Wietzema's fifth-inning RBI double to left field.
Nate Russell, who pitched a trio of scoreless innings -- the fourth, fifth and sixth -- keeping the game close, fielded his position well and also hit a single for Worthington.
"Nate gave us four-plus innings of solid pitching," praised Thuringer. "His change up was working well."
Russell struck out four Olivia hitters.
"Nate Braaksma pitched two strong innings to start the game, too," declared Thuringer. "Olivia had that one big hit, which scored three runs -- with two outs -- in the second inning, but we were competing well."
Thuringer also had praise for catcher King Blanchette, who made a great throw to Braaksma at third base in the third inning to gun down an attempted steal by Olivia -- after the ball had squirted several feet away.
"That was the only ball that got past him all day and King hustles after it and throws the guy out," exclaimed Thuringer. "He caught a very nice game, doing a really good job behind the plate and also hit the ball hard every time up."
Second baseman Joe Pavelko, who leads the team in getting hit by a pitch, was beaned again Saturday, drew a walk and made several fine fielding plays, including turning a 5-4-3 double play -- Braaksma to Pavelko to Wietzema -- to give Russell a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the sixth.
Rightfielder Blake Fauskee had a pair of dandy catches and tracked down Ebnet's blast quickly enough to prevent a possible inside-the-park grand slam in the bottom of the second.
"He takes a lot of pride in playing his position well," praised Thuringer of Fauskee.
After Olivia had claimed its 3-0 lead, Worthington sliced the gap to two in the top of the third when Wolyniec singled and advanced to second on a single by Soto.
Wolyniec raced home with Post 3958's first run when Olivia's throw to third base (steal attempt) was not caught.
Olivia added a run in the bottom of the frame and held a 4-1 advantage until Wietzema's two-out double scored Thuringer (one-out walk) in the top of the fifth.
"Trevor hit the ball hard every time up," praised Glenn Thuringer. "He hit that one deep."
After Russell and Worthington's defense held Olivia without a run for the third consecutive time, Post 3958 sent up its top of the order in the seventh.
Wolyniec started things with a one-out single. After stealing second, Wolyniec advanced to third on Soto's third single of the game.
With runners on the corners, the hard-hitting Wietzema came to the plate.
After Soto stole second, Wolyniec sprinted home on a rare wild pitch by Evenson, making the score 4-3.
Soto advanced to third and Wietzema ended up drawing a walk and stole second.
Russell's infield grounder was handled and the throw to the plate ended up with Soto getting caught in a rundown -- Worthington's third "hotbox out" of the game.
But, Olivia then tried to gun down Wietzema, who was hustling back to second. The throw sailed into right field and Wietzema hustled home with the tying run.
"We made some mistakes running the bases and I gave the wrong signal one of the times," admitted Thuringer. "But, we did a good job of hitting the ball against a good pitcher who was effective with his off-speed stuff."
Thuringer is proud of the accomplishments of Post 3958 this summer and believes the team will be competitive again next year.
"We won 20 games this summer and had so many strong contributions all season from so many players."
Thuringer noted that young players like Torey Rogers, Gage Langerude, Brandon Veen and Tyler Van Hoeve were also important to the team's success and will likely see more game action in 2014.
R H E
Wgtn. 001 010 2 -- 4 7 3
Olivia 031 000 1 -- 5 7 4
Pipestone 14, Olivia 4
Eight players combined for 15 hits Saturday as Pipestone eliminated Olivia via the 10-run rule after five innings.
Blake Wolters (4-for-4) drove in a pair of runs, doubled in both second and third innings and then stroked a pair of singles in Pipestone's six-run fourth frame.
Dominic Freese (2-for-3, two RBI) pitched five strong innings, striking nine Olivia hitters. He issued just two walks and gave up only four hits.
Jacoby Hunt and Justin Rops were each 2-for-2 at the plate for Pipestone, while Brayden Baartman (2-for-3) drove in a pair of runs.
Pipestone snapped a 3-3 tie by scoring five runs in the bottom of the third and then broke from an 8-4 lead by scoring six times in the fourth, which included a two-run single by Mason Delaney.
R H E
Olivia 120 10 -- 4 4 2
Pipestone 125 6X - 14 15 2
Marshal Blue 5, Pipestone 1
Marshall's Nate Hoeft twirled a two-hitter and fanned nine Pipestone hitters, helping his team earn advancement to the VFW state tournament at Ely, beginning Aug. 8.
Jake Bock delivered a bases-loaded three-run double in the bottom of the fifth inning to break a 1-1 tie and put the Blue in command.
Pipestone had tied the contest in the top of the fourth frame when Rops drew a two-out walk and moved to second on a single by Delaney.
Rops crossed the plate on an RBI single by Austin Schelhaas.
Mauricio Sada (two innings), Baartman (two-and-a- third) and Rops (one-and-two thirds) combined to do the pitching for Pipestone, scattering six hits.
R H E
Pipestone 000 100 0 -- 1 2 3
Marshall 010 031 X -- 5 6 2