Section 3AA Baseball: Arrows end WHS baseball season
WINDOM -- Pipestone Area's Damian Skyberg needed 87 pitches Tuesday night to help the Arrows end the Worthington Trojans baseball season for the second consecutive year, claiming a 7-1 win at Island Park in an elimination game of the Section 3AA playoffs.
With the win, the Arrows (7-11 overall) advanced to play another day, while the Trojans' season ended with a 9-8 record.
Pipestone Area plays Marshall Thursday at Legion Field in Marshall at 7 p.m. The Tigers fell to Fairmont Tuesday by a score of 9-5. Fairmont advanced to play Luverne, which toppled Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta 4-0 Tuesday. MA/CA plays New London-Spicer, which ended Red Rock Central/Westbrook-Walnut Groves season with a 17-5 win Tuesday. Fairmont and Luverne play in the winner's bracket final at noon on Saturday, also at Marshall's Legion Field.
At Island Park Tuesday, Skyberg used a blend of pitches, especially his breaking ball, to keep the Trojans' batters off-balance. The right hander allowed one run (unearned) on three hits, two walks and a hit batter while striking out five to keep the Arrows alive.
"My arm felt great coming into the game," Skyberg said. "Coach was calling good pitches -- I never had to shake off one pitch and I just threw it in there.
"The team was making good plays behind me and we were hitting the ball and running the bases well. Everything was going well, besides a few mistakes here and there that we were able to get through."
Skyberg also opened the game's scoring when Gunnar Manderscheid plated his hurler with an RBI single in the top of the first, while a bases-loaded walk by Trav Thomssen (2-for-3) scored Brady Bos to give the Arrows a 2-0 lead after an inning. Skyberg finished 2-for-5 with a pair of RBIs -- an RBI single in the second that scored Josh Mabon for a 3-0 lead and an RBI groundout in the Arrows' two-run fifth. Skyberg also doubled and scored in the fourth.
Meanwhile, the PA hurler limited the Trojans to two baserunners through three innings --a single by Worthington's Deron Soderholm (2-for-3) and a free pass to Turner Hagen, both in the second.
"Skyberg had good control and he had his curveball working," WHS head coach Stacy Sauerbrei said. "When we did hit the ball hard, it was at them. We didn't come up with the big hit we needed.
"The difference between winning and losing is hitting it where they're not. We hit it where they were and the Arrows hit it where we were not."
After Alex Ossefoort (2-for-4) and Skyberg had consecutive hits to start the fourth to chase Ryan Lee from the hill for WHS, Nate Ray relieved for the Trojans and allowed both inherited runners to score as Bos plated the lead runner with a single and Thomssen made it 5-0 with a run-scoring hit.
WHS managed to scratch a run across in the home half of the fourth on a play -- like many throughout the game -- that went the Arrows' way. With the bags full and one out, Hagen lofted a fly ball to shallow center that was misplayed and fell to the ground.
Blake Rogers, who had reached on an error, easily scored on the second PA error of the frame, but the Arrows' defense quickly recovered and threw to second base and then to third to record an inning-ending double play.
"It was one of those games of baseball where everything went our way," PA head coach Rick Zollner. "You couldn't ask for some of that stuff to happen. Little hits, little dinkers. We get a ball that drops in because their infield was playing in and then we get an error in the outfield and turn it into a double play.
"We got every break imaginable and that makes the game a little bit easier when that happens."
After PA escaped the threat, the seventh-seeded Arrows capped the game's scoring with two runs in the fifth, aided by a pair of WHS errors.
The Trojans threatened in the sixth as Lee and Ray each collected singles to help load the bases, but Skyberg escaped the jam with no damage.
"Skyberg did a great job," Zollner said. "He spotted his curveball all night and kept the Worthington batters off-guard and uncomfortable at the plate."
Jaymes Zollner, Walker Kor and Mabon each collected a single for the Arrows.
Ray and Lee combined for 10 strikeouts.
R H E
PA 210 220 0 -- 7 11 2
WHS 000 100 0 -- 1 4 2