Pipestone rally falls short; Slayton advances with 10-6 victory

PIPESTONE -- The Slayton VFW baseball team had a 7-1 lead Monday night and appeared to be cruising to the No. 2 seed out of the Southern Division. However, Pipestone wasn't giving up easily. Pipestone scored five unanswered runs in the middle inn...

PIPESTONE -- The Slayton VFW baseball team had a 7-1 lead Monday night and appeared to be cruising to the No. 2 seed out of the Southern Division.

However, Pipestone wasn't giving up easily.

Pipestone scored five unanswered runs in the middle innings but was never able to overcome the early deficit, as Slayton advaced with a 10-6 victory.

"It was nice to get that early lead, but then they scored those five unanswered runs and we were held scoreless there for three or four innings in the middle," Slayton head coach Ryan Beers said. "We were getting runners on base right away, but there was no clutch hitting. We'd get a couple runners on, and then we'd keep it in the infield."

The first four hitters in the Slayton lineup scored eight times and had four RBIs to lead the offensive attack.


"They get good extension on their swings and they are selective at the plate," Beers said of the top of the order. "They are experienced -- they are my varsity guys."

Both teams had their chances in the game. The Pipestone half of the seventh inning was the only time that either team didn't leave at least one runner on base. Slayton left 12 runners stranded, while Pipestone left 10 guys on the bags.

"We had a few baserunning blunders, and that cost us," Pipestone head coach Rick Zollner said. "Especially when you spend so much energy, not physically, but mentally, trying to get back into it, and you strand runners when you should be picking another run up here or there, those things hurt you."

While Eric Wieneke had a less than stellar performance when he threw against Pipestone Thursday, the right-hander was able to stay one step ahead of the Pipestone hitters Monday.

"I faced them Thursday, and I walked three in the second inning and got pulled," Wieneke said. "We gave up six in the second and we never came back after that."

Pipestone beat Slayton 12-5 that night -- the third time Slayton has lost at Pipestone this season -- providing extra motivation for a victory Monday.

"We were fired up," Wieneke said. "We lost to them three times here this year, so we wanted to beat them here and move on. We had to get through here to move on, and we did it."

Wieneke allowed six runs on nine hits while striking out six. However, he also allowed six walks in a complete-game effort.


"I've been struggling pitching lately," Wieneke said. "I walked a bunch, but my defense stepped up and turned two big double plays, and we hit the ball when we needed to."

Pipestone was threatening in the fifth inning, as Mark Abrahamson singled and Taylor Delaney walked. Dylan Kor reached on an error as Pipestone had the bases loaded with no outs.

Wieneke induced a ground ball from Jason Nettik, and the Slayton defense turned a double play to prevent what could have been a bigger inning.

Devin Gorter hit a ball that was misplayed to score the second run of the inning, and Brandan Alfson hit a single to score Gorter, but Slayton still held on to a 7-6 lead after five innings.

Tyler Rieck hit a towering fly ball with one out in the sixth, and after the ball was missed and the throw went off target, he found himself on third base with one out.

Abrahamson hit a line drive to the left fielder, but Rieck did not tag, and Wieneke struck out the next batter to end the threat in the sixth.

"I think he thought it was going to drop in so he was going to get going early on it," Zollner said. "But, those are little things that you hope don't happen again, but it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway with the jam we got into in the seventh."

In the Slayton seventh, Wieneke singled with one out and stole second.


After recording the second out of the inning, Kyle DeLong hit a single to score Wieneke and extend the inning.

Alex Petersen and Tayler Streff each drew a walk to load the bases for Travis DeLong.

DeLong got a pitch he liked and didn't miss.

He hit a long drive to the outfield to score two runs, but Streff was thrown out at home, and injured his ankle on the play.

"Travis DeLong had a huge hit for us," Wieneke said. "With the bases loaded, Travis came through; it was awesome."

With a one-run deficit turning into a four-run deficit, Pipestone tried to get a rally going in the bottom of the seventh.

Kor walked, but Nettik hit into a double play, and Gorter hit a pop fly to the shortstop to end the game.

"Whenever you have a cushion, you play more relaxed," Beers said. "We had some intensity at the end because they were concerned about Tayler, and they wanted to know how he was."


As Slayton jumped out to a big lead early, it was Streff who provided the big hit in the first inning.

Wieneke, who reached base five times in the game and scored three times, started the game with a single.

Kyle DeLong drew a walk, and Petersen singled to load the bases for Streff.

The left-handed hitter came through with a two-run single to give Slayton the early lead.

Sean Solheim drew a walk to score a run, and Streff scored on Josh Onken's fielder's choice as Slayton had a 4-0 lead after one half inning.

After Pipestone scored one in the bottom of the first, Slayton came back for more in the second.

Ryan Prahm singled, Wieneke was hit with a pitch, and Derek Platt singled to load the bases for Kyle DeLong.

DeLong connected with a three-run triple to clear the bases and give Slayton a 7-1 lead after an inning and a half.


However, Pipestone started its comeback in the bottom of the second.

Abrahamson singled, and with two outs, Nettik and Gorter walked.

Alfson delivered a two-run double but was stranded on second as Pipestone climbed back into the game and trailed 7-3.

"We made a game of it," Zollner said. "We dug ourselves a hole and they came up swinging the bats, and we couldn't find the strike zone right away."

And while Pipestone was within a run in the later innings, Wieneke and the Slayton team stayed one step ahead to advance to this weekend's tournament.

"(Wieneke) gets out of jams, and we've been playing good defense, and that's the key," Beers said. "You have to throw strikes, play good catch and hit well. If you do two out of the three, you have a chance."


Slayton 430 000 3 -- 10 14 2


Pipestone 120 030 0 -- 6 9 1

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