PREP BASEBALL: Windom shut out by LQPV 5-0, face elimination TuesdayGRANITE FALLS — Ben Morken twirled a two-hit, complete-game shutout Saturday afternoon at Richter Field to send the Lac qui Parle Valley Eagles into the Section 3A baseball championship with a 5-0 victory over the Windom Eagles.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
GRANITE FALLS — Ben Morken twirled a two-hit, complete-game shutout Saturday afternoon at Richter Field to send the Lac qui Parle Valley Eagles into the Section 3A baseball championship with a 5-0 victory over the Windom Eagles.
Saturday’s loss sends Windom (9-14) into an elimination game with Springfield Tuesday, while LQPV (15-9) plays the winner of Tuesday’s game Thursday for the Section 3A championship.
“Morken threw well,” Windom head coach Brad Schlomann said. “In, out; up, down — in on the hands. He was ahead in the count all day and I don’t think he walked a guy. He just kept attacking us.
“We’re going to have to adjust to that and we didn’t. Hats off to Lac qui Parle. They played a very solid game. They pitched well, hit the ball and played good defense.”
Morken allowed a lead-off single to Andy Pfeffer (1-for-3) in the bottom of the first and a two-out double in the fourth to Brandon Thongvivong (1-for-3) for Windom’s two hits.
The junior right hander did, in fact, walk one batter, which was a four-pitch walk to Jake Holt following Thongvivong’s double, but finished the game with five strikeouts, including fanning the side in order in the second.
“I just went out there to throw strikes and get outs,” Morken said. “We had a really good defense and it helped to hit the ball hard, too. We just went out there and did work.”
Morken retired 11 in a row following Pfeffer’s single to start the Windom first and then ended the game by sending down the final 10 batters following Holt’s walk in the fourth.
“We got Andy on to start the game and moved him over with a sacrifice bunt by Drake Borsgard, but we just couldn’t get him in,” Schlomann said.
The LQPV pitcher used a defense that didn’t commit an error, as he induced nine ground-ball outs and seven fly-ball outs, in addition to his five punchouts.
“Our defense has committed only one error in our four playoff games,” LQPV head coach Bart Hill said. “Ben Morken came up as big as he could all year. He’s thrown in some big games, but nothing this big and to come up with a two-hitter against a team like Windom is outstanding.”
Holt started for Windom and matched Morken early on before a pair of LQPV singles and a Windom error allowed the game’s first run to score in the top of the third.
“I got everything I wanted out of Jake,” Schlomann said. “I thought he threw a really nice game for us. But we just couldn’t get anything going for him. And now we will just have to bounce back on Tuesday.”
Holt struck out three, but allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits and three walks in six-plus innings.
LQPV’s first run came following singles by Brandon Hill (1-for-3) and Colby Siegert (2-for-3) that put runners on the corners in the third. An errant throw on a pick-off attempt at first allowed Hill to cross for a 1-0 lead.
LQPV threatened again in the fourth with a lead-off walk to Preston Kraft (1-for-3), but Holt induced a fly out to Thongvivong at short for the first out, Danny Kneeland threw out Kraft’s courtesy runner trying to steal second for the next out and, following a two-out single by Brandon Bornhorst (1-for-3), Drake Borsgard corralled a fly ball to center for the inning’s final out.
“Brandon played a really nice shortstop, Drake was solid in center and Danny Kneeland caught and called another great game for us,” Schlomann said.
Thongvivong showed good range and recorded four putouts and two assists at short, while Borsgard had two putouts in center.
However, a potential out that wasn’t recorded in top of the fifth allowed LQPV to rally for three runs, gaining separation in the contest.
Following one-out singles by Austin Haas (2-for-2) and Siegert, Dylan Erickson (1-for-4) dumped a knock into shallow center field. With the lead runner holding up, Borsgard had a chance to force the runner out at third.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, the throw to third was just off the mark, allowing LQPV to load the bases.
“That would’ve got the second out and could’ve changed the inning,” Schlomann said. “But credit to Drake for even realizing that there was a play at third. Drake made a good play and is such a heady player, but he didn’t have time to set himself on the throw and it was just off the mark.”
A wild pitch allowed Haas to score LQPV’s second run and a two-run single by Kraft plated two more runs to extend the lead to 4-0.
LQPV tacked on an insurance run in the seventh as a single by Haas and a walk to Siegert ended Holt’s day on the mound. A Windom error loaded the bases with no outs and a walk to Sam Haas forced in the game’s final run.
Salvador Caballero, who relieved Holt, induced a pop fly for the first out and K’ed the next two batters, but Windom trailed by five and went down in order in the home half of the seventh.
“Lac qui Parle’s a good club and credit to them for playing a great game,” Schlomann said. “I thought we played a good game, but, unfortunately, we lost. But that’s OK.
“We will regroup and get ready for Tuesday. Our senior leadership has been very good in this playoff run and we will need that Tuesday.. It will take mental toughness, mental fortitude, to come and play Tuesday, but I’m confident that we will be ready.”
Tuesday’s game with Springfield (14-10) is scheduled to start at 5 p.m at Legion Field in Marshall.
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LQPV 001 030 1 — 5 8 0
Windom 000 000 0 — 0 2 2