A's top Bulls, 9-5 in Game 1

ADRIAN -- Veteran pitcher Kevin Nowotny hurled nine more solid innings Wednesday night, and teammate Brandon Wolf drove in four runs to help spark the Adrian A's to a 9-5 victory over the Jackson Bulls in Game 1 of their Region 13C amateur baseba...

ADRIAN -- Veteran pitcher Kevin Nowotny hurled nine more solid innings Wednesday night, and teammate Brandon Wolf drove in four runs to help spark the Adrian A's to a 9-5 victory over the Jackson Bulls in Game 1 of their Region 13C amateur baseball playoff series.

Adrian (13-11) now leads the best-of-five series, which continues with Game 2 Friday night (7:30 p.m.) in Jackson.

"This is a nice win for us, but it's a long series," said Nowotny, who is playing amateur baseball for the 33rd year (31 seasons in South Dakota, two in Adrian). "We played solid defense and got the lead right away, so that helped me out a lot. It's easier to pitch with the lead, and we got out of a few big jams to stay in control."

Using a steady diet of off-speed pitches (mostly curveballs), Nowotny, 50, scattered 11 hits, struck out five batters and walked just one to earn his third straight complete-game victory of the post-season.

Nowotny, who is 5-0 with an ERA under 2.00 in five starts this season, held the Bulls scoreless through the first four innings. Meanwhile, Adrian scored four runs in the initial two frames to take command early in the ballgame.


Adrian scored three runs in the first, with Wolf (3-for-4) providing the key hit -- a two-run home run over the left-field fence.

Glen Kruger (2-for-4) walked with two outs before Wolf tagged a 1-1 pitch over the fence to put Adrian up 2-0. A pair of Jackson errors allowed the A's to score one more in the frame.

Joe Kruger (1-for-3) followed Wolf's home run with a single to right-center, moving to second on a fielding error on the play. Jason Stubbe (2-for-5) then popped up, but the ball was dropped in short left field -- allowing Kruger to score the third run of the game.

Adrian added a run in the second to take a 4-0 lead, using another error -- one of six in the game by the Bulls -- to extend the margin.

Jordon Kontz (1-for-4) led off with a single to left and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Gades. A groundout moved Kontz to third before brother Cody Kontz reached on a two-base error -- plating Jordon and giving the A's a four-run advantage.

"Getting that early lead was huge for us," Adrian player/manager Levi Bullerman said. "Brandon's blast got us going, and then we played sharp defense behind Kevin -- who gave us another strong start on the mound -- and tacked on a few more runs later in the game."

Jackson had a hit in each of the first three innings, as Andy Wolf (3-for-5) singled twice, and Jared Rahe (1-for-3) singled in the second. But the A's kept the Bulls from scoring, and Nowotny worked a perfect fourth inning to maintain Adrian's four-run lead.

The Bulls, though, cut the lead in half (4-2) with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth. Jordan Lewis (2-for-4) and Caleb Rossow (1-for-4) started the frame with back-to-back singles to left.


Wolf then grounded into a fielder's choice to leave runners at the corners with one out before Jason Cook plated Lewis with a groundout to get Jackson on the board.

Jon Hummel (2-for-5) then doubled down the right-field line to score Wolf, giving the Bulls some momentum midway through the game.

However, Adrian answered with two runs of its own in the bottom half -- regaining a four-run lead at 6-2.

Cody Kontz led off by reaching on an error, and Glen Kruger slugged a double off the right-center field fence -- moving Kontz to third.

Brandon Wolf followed by stinging a single to center, scoring Kontz with Adrian's five run. Centerfielder Andy Wolf, though, made a perfect throw to catcher Blaise Jacobsen -- nailing Kruger at the plate for the first out.

After going to second on the throw to the plate, Wolf advanced to third on a groundout before scoring on another Jackson error to make it 6-2.

Jackson scored once in the sixth, as a two-out walk to Rahe was followed by a booming RBI-double to left-center by Lewis -- trimming the lead to 6-3.

Adrian again had an answer, scoring one run in the bottom half to go up 7-3. Gades drew a lead-off walk and stole second before going to third on a groundball and scoring on an RBI-single to right by Wolf.


Jackson threatened big time in the seventh, but Adrian limited the Bulls to just one run to keep a three-run lead (7-4). Wolf started the inning with a lead-off single to right.

Cook reached on an error, and Hummel singled to load the bases with no outs. Kip Wachal (1-for-4) plated Wolf with a sacrifice fly to center before Jacobsen was hit by a pitch to again fill the bases.

Nowotny, though, got the next two batters to pop out and fly out, respectively, to wiggle out of the jam and then retired the side in order during the eighth.

Adrian provided Nowotny with a couple of insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, as Stubbe cracked a two-run single to center -- scoring Glen Kruger (who singled) and Wolf (who was hit by a pitch) to extend the lead to 9-4.

Jackson got a run in the ninth, as Grant Carlson (1-for-1) and Wachal both singled and moved up a base on a balk before Jacobsen picked up an RBI with a groundout to second base. Nowotny fanned the next batter for the game's final out.

Jackson used five different pitchers in the game, with Kirby Johnson (a draftee from Windom) going the first five innings and four batters.


Jack. 000 021 101 -- 5 11 6


Adrian 310 021 02x -- 9 9 2

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