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For A/E baseball team, this is the right time go on a roll

One of the two undefeated teams in the Section 3A baseball tournament is the sixth seed in the southern half of the bracket.

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ADRIAN -- One of the two undefeated teams in the Section 3A baseball tournament is the sixth seed in the southern half of the bracket.

What?

Yes, the Adrian/Ellsworth Dragons have finally pushed their win-loss record over the .500 mark, and at 12-11 on the season they are on a roll at exactly the right time.

It’s been a topsy-turvy spring thus far. A/E lost four straight games in mid-season, won two, then lost another four straight. Then they won four straight, including three section tournament games: 6-1 over Minneota (seeded third in the south), 8-2 over Russell-Tyler-Ruthton (2) and 7-1 over Red Rock Central/Westbrook-Walnut Grove (4).

“Four weeks ago it was walks and errors. We’ve always been able to hit,” explained veteran head coach Joe Kruger. “In the section we walked five guys total, and before that it wasn’t unusual to walk seven in a game. And four errors in three games, and we’ve made eight in a game before that.”

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Today (Saturday) at 11 a.m. in Milroy, the Dragons will take on MACCRAY, the No. 1 seed in the north, which is 16-2 on the season. MACCRAY beat Adrian/Ellsworth 7-1 at Raymond on May 17 and is described by Kruger as having two strong pitchers and a solid defense.

It may be safe to assume, however, that A/E has improved since that first meeting.

“We went into the season thinking we had a chance to be good,” Kruger recalls. “There were times when we were good, and there were times we were really, really bad. But we just gotta put our best foot forward.”

The Dragons are led this year by senior Marshall Wagner, a good hitter and team leader who was moved from shortstop to centerfield to improve the outfield defense; junior Dawson Krahling, a pitcher-outfielder and left-handed pull hitter with some power; sophomore Quentin Wolf, a catcher-pitcher who has improved dramatically as a backstop; and junior Evan Lenz, a second baseman-pitcher who bats lead-off and is a solid two-strike hitter.

In a Section 3A consolation bracket game today, Laq qui Parle Valley will play Yellow Medicine East at 1:30 p.m. in Milroy. LQPV beat RRC/W-WG 3-2 in eight innings on Thursday while YME beat Wabasso, the south’s top seed, 7-3.

In the Section 3AA tournament on Thursday, Payneville knocked off Fairmont 3-2 and Pipestone Area disposed of Minnewaska 7-3. Paynesville and Pipestone Area play again today at 1:30 in Marshall.

At 11 a.m. in Marshall today, two top seeds perform. The south’s top seed, Luverne, takes on the north’s top seed, Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City, in Marshall.

ACGC is 20-2 on the season and has beaten Montevideo 5-4, Benson 3-2 and Minnewaska 2-1 in the section tourney thus far. Luverne is 20-3 and, after a first-round bye, has beaten Pipestone Area 7-4 and Fairmont 8-4 in section play.

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