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Amateur baseball: Wilmont loses heartbreaker at state

MAPLE LAKE -- The winning run crossed the plate on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning, and Wilmont's state Class C amateur baseball tournament run was over Friday after just one game.

Clear Lake defeated the Cardinals 6-5 at Irish Stadium in Maple Lake, ending the southwest Minnesota team's season.

"We definitely had our chances," said Wilmont starting pitcher Justin Saufley. "That's why it stings a little more than in the past."

The Cardinals had made eight previous state tournament appearances, with limited success. They were beaten in the first game last year. And again this year, though their luck could have just as easily gone the other way.

Wilmont out-hit Clear Lake 13-8 but committed four errors to Clear Lake's none. Three of Wilmont's errors were throwing errors, including one that occurred in the seventh inning to allow the Lakers to tie the game, 5-5.

The Cardinals, who scored all five of their runs in the sixth inning after falling behind 4-0, left 11 men on base. They left two runners on in the first inning. In the third they stranded two on second and third base. They led off the seventh with a double and had runners on second and third with one out, but again they went scoreless.

Ryan Spengler went six innings for Clear Lake and picked up the mound victory.

Saufley started and went four innings, allowing six hits and three earned runs. Lucas Henning pitched the rest of the game for the Cards, allowing two hits and two unearned runs.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Clear Lake's first hitter reached on an error. He was bunted to second base. The next hitter blooped a single to put runners on first and third. After an intentional walk to load the bases, the following hitter walked to force in the winning run.

In Wilmont's five-run sixth inning, Joe Ahrens started a rally with a one-out double. Stuart Rogers singled and, with two out, Nick Ahrens singled. Jay Scheidt belted a two-run double and Steven Kremer slugged a two-run home run.

But that was all the runs Wilmont could plate.

Scheidt finished with three hits. Kremer, Joe and Nick Ahrens, and Blake Rogers all had two hits.

Wilmont finishes the season with a 21-8 record. Today, Fairmont takes on the New Ulm Brewers in a 1 p.m. state tournament contest at Municipal Stadium in Delano. Luverne awaits an Aug. 23 contest in Delano against an as-yet unnamed opponent.


Wilmont 000 005 000 -- 5 13 4

Clear Lake 012 100 101 -- 6 8 0

Doug Wolter

Doug Wolter is the Daily Globe sports editor. He served as sports reporter, then sports editor, news editor and finally managing editor at the Daily Globe for 22 years before leaving for seven years to work as night news editor at the Mankato Free Press in Mankato. Doug now lives in Worthington with his wife, Sandy. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Doug, retired after a lengthy career in fast-pitch softball, enjoys reading, strumming his acoustic guitar and hanging around his grandchildren. He also writes books on fiction. Two of his stories, "The Genuine One" and "The Old Man in Section 129" have been distributed through a national publisher.

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