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Section 3A Tournament: Windom baseball, softball teams advance in Sectionals

Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Eagle shortstop Brandon Thongvivong tags out the Rebels' T.J. Van Peursem as he tries to steal second base during Saturday's Section 3A Baseball Tournament game in Windom.1 / 2
Brian Korthals/Daily Globe Rebel first baseman Nick Petersen fields the pickoff attempt as the Eagles' Devin Nielsen dives safely back to the bag during Saturday's Section 3A Baseball Tournament game in Windom.2 / 2

WINDOM -- If you didn't know any better, you'd probably think Windom Area head baseball coach Brad Schlomann doesn't know Brandon Thongvivong's talents as intimately as he should.

In reality, however, nobody knows them better.

So why, then, did Schlomann wait until Saturday -- during the Section 3A tournament -- to give Thongvivong his first pitching start of the spring baseball season?

Because, usually, Thongvivong is needed so desperately elsewhere.

"If I had nine of him, that would be awesome," Schlomann said Monday, after Thongvivong threw a no-hitter against Edgerton/Southwest Christian in a 6-0 Windom Area victory. Thongvivong walked just one batter and struck out six to keep the Eagles undefeated in the post-season tourney.

Schlomann admitted on Monday that Thongvivong presents him with a unique coaching challenge. The senior, who will play for Morningside College next year, is every bit as valuable to the Eagles as a shortstop as he is as a pitcher. So Schlomann insists he doesn't want to take his "special player" away from his infield position very often.

Until Saturday, Thongvivong has been used primarily in relief. Not surprisingly, he has done well in that role. He has a 2-2 won-loss record with two saves and a 1.85 earned run average in 30 innings.

And, of course, when he's not on the mound, he commands the infield from his shortstop position.

Windom Area is undefeated in the Section 3A tournament. The Eagles began their tourney action Saturday with a 12-4 victory over Murray County Central as Thongvivong, relieved of mound duties, went 2-for-3 at the plate with a triple. When he took the mound against Edgerton/Southwest Christian's starting hurler Luke Drooger, Schlomann said, "(Thongvivong) really kept the pressure on. He hit nice spots with his fastball."

Windom Area played solid defense in both games, Schlomann said, and set the tone in the opener against Murray County Central.

"We came out of the gates pretty well," he explained.

Sam Erickson took the loss for MCC in the Windom Area game, and Rebels teammate Nick Petersen led with the bat, collecting two hits including a double.

In other games involving area schools Saturday in Section 3A play:

Edgerton/Southwest Christian defeated Russell-Tyler-Ruthton 5-4, Wabasso beat Southwestern United 5-4 and Springfield beat Adrian 19-2 in five innings.

Today, Edgerton/Southwest Christian will play Wabasso at 5 p.m. in Windom. In a 7 p.m. game in Granite Falls, Windom Area will play MACCRAY.

Action resumes Thursday.

Section 3A softball

Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg, the No. 1 seed from the north, is the team to beat. After winning its first two tournament games by the five-inning rule, KMS defeated Wabasso 9-4 and Edgerton/Southwest Christian 6-2 on Saturday and is the lone unbeaten team remaining in Section 3A.

In other games involving area squads on Saturday, Edgerton/Southwest Christian topped Dawson-Boyd 5-1, Tracy-Milroy-Balaton beat Ortonville 13-5, Wabasso beat Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 3-2, Windom Area defeated Wheaton-Herman-Norcross 11-0 in five innings, and Windom Area tipped Dawson-Boyd 7-1.

Meghan Vesey had three hits for Windom Area in the Wheaton-Herman-Norcross victory and also performed well as a pitcher, holding W-H-N to two hits.

Vesey also picked up the victory over Dawson-Boyd and added four more hits at the plate. Morgan Hockel and Sutton Dewanz each had three more hits for Windom Area, which collected 17 overall.

"We're starting to click when we need to. That's a good sign," said Windom Area head coach Jess Smith.

Today in Marshall, Windom Area plays Wabasso at 5 p.m. and Edgerton/Southwest Christian plays the winner at 6:30 p.m. Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunberg awaits the team that emerges at 5 p.m. Thursday in Marshall.

Windom Area lost to Wabasso 3-1 last week Tuesday. "The girls are excited to play them again," said Smith.

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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