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Hadley's Zwart still shines in amateur ball

A roundup of last weekend's amateur baseball action from around southwest Minnesota

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Max Zwart stood on second base after cracking a double on Sunday afternoon and waved at his little girl in the stands.

He could just as well have been acknowledging the chorus of cheers from an appreciative Hadley Buttermaker crowd.

Zwart continued his tremendous play with three hits and five RBIs Sunday as the Buttermakers defeated the Fairmont Martins 20-5. Zwart, who had four hits and four runs batted in last week as the Buttermakers opened the season with a victory over Fox Lake, is off to a sizzling start to highlight the early weeks of the amateur baseball season.

“We don’t always get the chance to hit and have practices to really know how you’re going to do and how things are going to feel, so it’s just jump in the fire and see how it goes,” he said. “It’s been fun to get back on the baseball field and play with our guys again ... Fairmont has been a good team in our league and region for as long as I’ve been playing. So to play like we did and hit the ball around is nice to see.”

Derek Platt went 4-for-5 and scored four runs for Hadley, which had 16 hits against the 2020 Class C state champion Martins. Joe Larson added three hits, while Danny Blankenship, Alex Petersen and Justin Benda had two hits apiece. Petersen knocked in four runs and Blankenship drove in three.

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Hadley scored 11 runs in the third inning, sending 17 runners to the plate. Platt had two hits in the frame.

Hadley right-hander Avery Weber threw a seven-inning complete game and struck out 11. He walked just two and allowed but four earned runs.

Levi Becker and Spencer Chirpich each had three hits for Fairmont.

Zwart, 34, is a 2006 Edgerton High graduate who is now a special education teacher and coach at his alma mater. He’s also the summer recreation director in his hometown.

Zwart, who played baseball at Southwest Minnesota State, has been one of Hadley’s hitting heroes for a long time. He and his wife, Andrea, have a seven-year-old son, Jace, and a 2-year-old daughter, Maisyn. After her daddy doubled in Hadley’s big third inning, little Maisyn yelled encouragement to him.

And Zwart responded with a wave to his little girl as Hadley fans celebrated.

Also watching the game were Zwart’s parents, Ronnie and Brenda, and his sister, Tana. Grandfather Lloyd Zwart is often in the stands, too.

“It’s so awesome. That’s what makes it so fun for me,” Max Zwart said. “I love baseball, but if you don’t have anyone to share it with and enjoy it with, it wouldn’t be fun. It’s great to be able to look up into the stands and see my family there.”

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In other games involving Gopher and First Nite League teams on Sunday it was:

Jackson 9, Lakefield 2

LAKEFIELD — Chris Gumto had two hits and reached base five times as the Bulls defeated the Frogs.

Andy Wolf, Payton Handevidt and Alex Bretzman each had two hits.

Jackson 5, Heron Lake 0

HERON LAKE — Veteran left-gander Ryan Rasche pitched a seven-inning one-hitter and struck out 11 for the Bulls.

Shad Wacker had a two-run single and Gumto added an RBI single for Jackson.

Heron Lake’s Cesar Otero broke up Rasche’s no-hit bid with a two-out single in the fourth.

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Pipestone 6, Heron Lake 2

HERON LAKE — Austin Evans earned the pitching victory in relief and contributed a run-scoring single as the A’s edged Heron Lake.

Austin Moeller had two hits and an RBI for Pipestone, while Collin Moeller had a two-run single. Brandon Moeller also knocked in a run for the A’s, who scored five runs in the third.

Christian Monserrate had three hits, including a double and an RBI, for the Lakers. Otero had two hits.

Milroy Irish 11, Luverne 2

LUVERNE — Tyler Peterson pitched six innings in relief to pick up the victory and Derek Smith had two hits and four RBIs as the Irish defeated Luverne.

Ethan Beyer drove in both of Luverne’s runs, with a single and a sacrifice fly.

The Irish out-hit the Redbirds 14-7.

Windom 6, Adrian 2

WINDOM —Luke Gilbertson pitched eight innings and allowed only five hits while whiffing six as the Pirates turned back the A’s.

Kyle Espenson knocked doubled and knocked in two runs for Windom. Joel Riordan and Alex Fink also had RBIs.

For Adrian, Brent Hokeness had two hits. Mike Preuss, Jake Olson, Brandon Veen and Nick Harder all pitched well for the A’s.

Fox Lake 7, Mountain Lake 5

TRUMAN — Wyatt Geistfeld smashed a three-run home run as the Foxes edged Mountain Lake.

Paxton Gravlin struck out six in four-plus innings or relief to pick up the victory.

Connor Jones had three hits, including an RBI single, for Mountain Lake. Levi Jahnke had two hits.

Sunday’s Ruthton-Worthington game is printed elsewhere in today’s sports section.

Busy week of baseball.

A full slate of games are scheduled both Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon.

On Wednesday, with all games slated to start at 7:30 p.m., it’s Worthington at Pipestone, Hadley at the Milroy Irish, Luverne at Ruthton, Heron Lake at Windom, Lakefield at Fairmont, and Jackson at Mountain Lake.

On Sunday afternoon at 2, it’s Lakefield at Worthington, Milroy at Adrian, Pipestone at Hadley, Luverne at Mountain Lake, Windom at Ruthton, Fairmont at Heron Lake, and Fox Lake at Jackson.

Scott Mansch, who in a crowded Viking tavern has been known to say “Go Pack Go” at times in complete disregard for his health, can be reached at smansch5rockets@gmail.com
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