SECTION 3A BASEBALL PLAYOFFS: Dragons tame WildcatsADRIAN — Effectively utilizing four pitchers and manufacturing runs in four separate innings Wednesday evening, the seventh-seeded Adrian Dragons claimed a 6-2 victory over the 10th-seeded Southwestern United Wildcats in an opening-round “pigtail” game of the Section 3A South high school baseball tournament.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
ADRIAN — Effectively utilizing four pitchers and manufacturing runs in four separate innings Wednesday evening, the seventh-seeded Adrian Dragons claimed a 6-2 victory over the 10th-seeded Southwestern United Wildcats in an opening-round “pigtail” game of the Section 3A South high school baseball tournament.
Adrian, which scored three runs in the bottom of the second and added single runs in each of the third, fourth and sixth frames, improves to 7-11 overall and advances to play second-seeded Mountain Lake/Butterfield-Odin at 11 a.m. Saturday in Mountain Lake.
SWU, which earned a 5-2 victory over Adrian for its first win of the season back on May 8 and followed that up with a 9-6 victory over ML/B-O on May 10, finishes its season with a record of 2-17.
“It’s tough to win when you only get two hits and commit five errors like we did today,” summed up SWU head coach Tim Owen after the game. “Give Adrian credit, as they did the little things better than us. They made more plays defensively and made more things happen offensively, putting the ball in play and moving runners along with productive outs.”
Mitchell Sieve and Jake Tiede each hurled a pair of scoreless innings for Adrian, while Nick Reyne (1 2/3 innings) and Logan Rogers (1 1/3 innings) also saw time on the mound for the Dragons. Rogers retired all four of the batters that he faced and was credited with a save after coming on with a three-run lead in the top of the sixth.
“That was the plan, as we wanted each of those guys to pitch a few innings and still have them available for Saturday,” Adrian head coach Kevin Nowotny said. “They all did a nice job for us, combining to allow just two hits over seven innings. We didn’t hit the ball as well as we could have ourselves, but we generated enough offense to score a few runs and move on to the next round.”
Tiede got the Dragons’ offense going by banging a double off the left-field fence to open the bottom of the second. Reyne then reached on an infield error to put runners on the corners, and Adam Garms drove in pinch-runner Jordan Dingmann from third with an RBI sacrifice fly to left field for a quick 1-0 lead.
Tony Reker followed by drawing a walk, and Reyne later hustled home from third when Nate Loosbrock legged out an RBI infield single to make it 2-0. Jake Bullerman-Diekmann, who was courtesy-running for Reker, stole second base and later scored from third on an RBI sacrifice fly to left by A.J. Tiesler to extend the Dragons’ lead to 3-0.
Jake Diekmann coaxed a lead-off walk in the bottom of the third and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tiede. Reyne then cracked a single up the middle before Garms lifted another RBI sacrifice fly into left field — plating Diekmann to push Adrian’s lead to 4-0.
“We did a nice job of driving in runs with some solid situational hitting,” Nowotny said. “With a runner on third base and less than two outs, a simple fly ball to the outfield got us three runs in this game. That’s doing things the right way and executing the fundamentals.”
Adrian continued to execute well in the fourth, starting with a lead-off walk by Loosbrock. Rogers then smacked a well-placed single to right field on a hit-and-run play, advancing Loosbrock to third base.
Tiesler plated Loosbrock with an RBI fielder’s choice groundout in the next at-bat, pushing the Dragons’ cushion to 5-0. Those same two teamed up to account for Adrian’s final run in the sixth, as Loosbrock reached on an error, stole second base and scored on an RBI single to left field by Tiesler to make it 6-2.
“That was a big hit by A.J. to give us an extra insurance run,” Nowotny said. “We had several good at-bats today, seeing a lot of pitches and putting the ball in play consistently to score six runs on just five hits.”
The Wildcats couldn’t get anything going offensively until the top of the sixth when they scored two runs to trim the gap to 5-2.
SWU’s Erik Jass did lead off the top of the first with a single to center, but his courtesy-runner was promptly picked off first base by Sieve. Luke Henkels and Mark Ferguson drew back-to-back walks in both the first and fourth innings, and Jacob Olson coaxed a one-out free pass in the fifth.
However, those were the only base runners that the Wildcats had through five frames. Sieve (second) and Tiede (third) worked consecutive 1-2-3 innings, and Reyne retired three of the four batters he faced in the fifth.
Henkels ripped a lead-off single up the middle in the sixth and was retired at second base when Ferguson reached on a 6-4 fielder’s choice. Austin Liepold was then hit by a pitch, and Jacob Post was safe on an error to load the bases with one out.
A wild pitch allowed Ferguson to scoot home with the Wildcats’ first run, and Brady Meyer drove in Liepold with an RBI groundout to second base — cutting the score to 5-2 before Rogers came on and struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Rogers then fanned two more batters in a clean top of the seventh, securing Adrian’s 6-2 victory and advancement to the next round.
Riley Place (four innings) and Aaron Fest (two innings) each hurled a scoreless frame for the Wildcats. Place worked around a two-base error in the first by recording three straight outs, and Fest tossed a 1-2-3 fifth with a strikeout and a pair of 6-3 groundouts fielded nicely by Henkels.
“Riley and Aaron both pitched pretty well,” Owen said. “They threw strikes and trusted their defense, but we didn’t come through by making the plays for them. That is kind of the way things went for us this year.”
R H E
SWU 000 002 0 — 2 2 5
AHS 031 101 X — 6 5 2