AMATEUR BASEBALL: Rain pushes Game 1 to Friday with the Bulls leading the Cards 2-0 in the 9thWILMONT — With the Jackson Bulls leading Wilmont Cardinals 2-0 going into the top of the ninth of a Region 13C playoff game Wednesday, the weather took a turn for the worse.
By: Jordan Willi, Worthington Daily Globe
WILMONT — With the Jackson Bulls leading Wilmont Cardinals 2-0 going into the top of the ninth of a Region 13C playoff game Wednesday, the weather took a turn for the worse.
After a short break, both teams decided to finish the ninth inning when they meet again Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in Jackson. Game 2 of the best-of-three series will be played following the conclusion of Game 1.
Jackson started the game off with a pair of one-out singles before Wilmont’s Justin Saufley got Jackson’s Marcus Schultz to ground into a double play.
In the bottom of the inning, the Cardinals couldn’t get their bats going against the Bulls starting pitcher Ryan Rasche.
“[Justin] Saufley did a good job and Ryan Rasche was doing a good job, too,” Wilmont coach Todd Rogers said.
The Bulls picked up a lead off double from Blaise Jacobsen in the top of the second, but Saufley fanned the next two batters to grab two outs. Jackson picked up a single from Josh Wacker to put a man on first and third.
In the next at-bat, Jason Cook got a single to knock in Jacobsen from third. The Cardinals got the final out of the inning on a ground out by Andy Wolf.
“A lot of credit to their pitcher Saufley,” Wolf said. “He was throwing a lot of strikes, but we took advantage of a couple of lucky plays and errors on their part to grab the two runs.”
In the bottom of the second, the Cardinals grabbed a pair of hits sandwiched between three flyouts.
Saufley picked up a one-two-three top of the third to get Wilmont back up to bat. The Cardinal’s first batter struck out and their second hitter popped out before Lucas Henning picked up a single to put a runner on first.
The next Wilmont batter was hit by a pitch to put a runner in scoring position, but Rasche struck out Saufley to end the inning.
Saufley had a little trouble in the top of the fourth, giving up a one-out single and a two-out walk to Jackson before striking out Cook to end the inning.
“We were just battling against good pitching, that is all you can say,” Wolf said.
Wilmont threatened again in the bottom of the fourth, getting two men on after a pair of walks by Rasche. Adam Diekmann laid down a sacrifice bunt in the next at-bat to advance the runners and put two in scoring position.
The next Cardinal batter picked up a single, but poor base running by Wilmont allowed the runner at third to be tagged out trying to dive back to the bag. Rasche would walk the next batter to load the bases, but he got Jay Scheidt to ground out to end Wilmont’s chances of scoring.
“We needed to hit the ball,” Rogers said. “We weren’t hitting the ball. We had base runners, but we weren’t getting the key hits we needed.”
In the top of the fifth, Saufley went to work again getting Wolf to ground out, but an error by the Wilmont defense put a man on first in the next at-bat. Saufley battled back to get the next two outs, striking out Pat Rients and retiring Schultz.
Wilmont got a man into scoring position again in the bottom of the inning on a one-out walk and an error by the Jackson defense. But Rasche worked his way out of the inning on a flyout and a ground out.
“The runners that got on against us weren’t exactly earned runners,” Wolf said. “They got on with some errors by us, but we made some big plays. We made plays when we needed to. But we didn’t let those come back to bite us.”
The top of the sixth went much the same for Saufley as the other innings. He picked up the first two outs quickly, but could not get the third out before allowing two singles. However, Saufley got the next batter to strike out to get out of the jam.
Diekmann hit a lead-off double for Wilmont in the bottom of the sixth, but he would be tagged out at home on a one-out single by Nick Ahrens. Jackson picked up another error in the next at bat, but Rasche struck out Henning to end the inning.
The Cardinals held the Bulls off the board for another inning in the seventh, only allowing Jackson to pick up a single before grabbing the third out.
In the bottom of the seventh, Jackson switched to their Fox Lake draftee Brennan Holm, who made quick work of the Wilmont offense. The only runner to reach in the inning was Saufley, who made it to first on an error by the Jackson infield.
Jackson got another leadoff double from Jacobsen to start the eighth. Jacobsen made it to third on a wild pitch by Saufley, but the next batter for Jackson would strike out.
With Jacobsen at third, Ethan Welter grabbed an RBI on a groundout to put the Bulls up 2-0 going into the bottom of the inning.
Wilmont was able to get two men on after a lead-off single and a walk by Holm to start off the bottom of the eighth. Ahrens would then hit a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, but a groundout and a strikeout by Wilmont would bring the inning to an end before any runs could be scored.
“I was just letting them do there thing,” Rogers said. “We just needed to start hiting the ball. Maybe we can go to Jackson and get a few hits in the bottom of the ninth.”
With the rain starting to pick up, the teams agreed to try and wait out the bad weather. But after a good amount of time elapsed, the coaches of both squads decided to call the game and complete it at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Jackson and then play out Game 2 of the series.
Pipestone falls to Fairmont in Game 1
FAIRMONT — Behind a Greg Quist two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning, the Pipestone A’s had an 8-5 lead over Fairmont after seven innings of play.
Errors came back to bite the A’s, as Fairmont ended up taking Game 1 of the Region 13C playoff game 9-8 in extra innings Wednesday in amateur baseball action.
Pipestone will host Game 2 Friday.