Rebels eliminate Wildcats with 2-0 victory
LUVERNE -- Murray County Central's Eric Wieneke and Justin Reinsma combined to allow just four hits Tuesday night, and teammate Jake Sweetman drove in a pair of runs to spark the fourth-seeded Rebels to a 2-0 victory over seventh-seeded Southwestern United in a Section 3A baseball tournament elimination game at Redbird Field.
MCC (13-7) advances to play third-seeded Tracy-Milroy-Balaton -- which defeated ninth-seeded Springfield 6-4 in Tuesday's first elimination game -- tonight in Luverne at 7 p.m. SWU finishes its season with a record of 7-14.
Wieneke (3 2/3 innings, five walks, one hit) and Reinsma (3 1/3 innings, six strikeouts, three hits) worked out of several jams, as the Wildcats had at least one base runner in every inning but couldn't score.
Senior James Anderson, SWU's right-handed ace pitcher, kept the Wildcats in the game by allowing just four hits and one walk while fanning four batters in a complete-game performance.
"We expected a low-scoring game," MCC head coach Tarry Boelter said after the game. "Anderson is really a good pitcher, and we were pleased with how both Wieneke and Reinsma pitched for us."
Wieneke and Sweetman each had two hits and provided nearly all of the offense for MCC, as Anderson allowed only two other Rebels to reach base in his six innings of work.
After MCC turned a 6-4-3 double play (Ben Clarke to Brian Everson to Sweetman) in the top of the first inning, the Rebels scored a run in the bottom half of the frame.
Wieneke led off with a sharp single to left and later stole second base. Following a strikeout and a groundout by the next two batters, Sweetman delivered an RBI-double to right-center to score Wieneke from third and put MCC up 1-0.
SWU's Tyler Obermoller and Octavio Jimenez coaxed back-to-back one-out walks in the second inning, and Derek Stenzel advanced them with a well-executed sacrifice bunt. Wieneke, though, induced a flyout to end the inning.
Anderson then worked the first of his three 1-2-3 innings in the bottom of the second, and the Wildcats put two more runners on base in the third before the Rebels added another run to go up 2-0.
Wieneke ripped a one-out single to left and stole second, and after Paul Counter walked with two outs, Wieneke scored on another clutch hit from Sweetman -- this time a solid single to left to give the Rebels a two-run cushion after three innings.
"Sweetman hit the ball well at key times for us," declared Boelter. "He really came through with a pair of timely hits. We needed those, because Anderson rarely gives up a walk, and the Wildcats -- especially Ben Scheevel at first base -- were making great plays in the field."
Jimenez cracked a two-out single down the left-field line in the fourth, and Stenzel followed with a four-pitch walk to give SWU two more runners. Reinsma then relieved Wieneke and fanned the next batter to end the threat.
Anderson needed just 18 pitches to set the Rebels down in order in both the fourth and fifth frames, giving the Wildcats' offense a chance to tie the game.
Kirk McBreen smashed a one-out single up the middle in the fifth, but the Rebels turned another double play (4-6-3) to get out of that jam and then escaped more potential damage in the sixth.
Anderson reached on an infield single to start the top of the sixth and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Mike Stenzel. However, Reinsma fanned the next batter before catching a line drive to end the inning with the scoreboard still showing 2-0 Rebels.
SWU worked around its only error of the game in the sixth and put two more runners on in the seventh to bring the possible go-ahead run to the plate.
Garet Rogers was hit by a pitch with one out, and McBreen reached on an infield single with two outs. Reinsma, though, again came through with a strikeout to end the game and keep the Rebels in the tournament.
"It was a close, well-played game," Boelter said. "That's what you hope for at the end of the season -- to be playing well and having fun."
R H E
SWU 000 000 0 -- 0 4 1
MCC 101 000 x -- 2 4 0