Section 3AA baseball: Luverne nips Windom Area in pitcher's duel
LUVERNE -- With a one-run lead to protect, a runner on second, and a dangerous hitter Luke Gilbertson stepping up to the plate in the seventh inning, Luverne pitcher Tyler Reisdorfer's mindset was to bear down hard. "I knew it was all me. I wante...
LUVERNE -- With a one-run lead to protect, a runner on second, and a dangerous hitter Luke Gilbertson stepping up to the plate in the seventh inning, Luverne pitcher Tyler Reisdorfer’s mindset was to bear down hard.
“I knew it was all me. I wanted to pound it down his throat, if it was up to me,” he recalled. “Coach called two curve balls, so I just put it in his hands. He has more experience. You can’t go against his say.”
LHS head coach Mike Wenninger proved to be correct. Reisdorfer got Gilbertson to ground out to third base. Eric Pfeffer, the pinch hitter who doubled down the left field line with one out to put Luverne’s lead in jeopardy, moved to third on the play. But the next hitter, Andrew Quiring, flew out to center field to end Saturday afternoon’s Section 3AA game at Redbird Field.
Thus, Luverne made a first-inning run hold up in a 1-0 Section 3AA victory over Windom Area.
The Cardinals, who advanced with a 10-1 first-round win over St. James Area earlier Saturday, will next play New London-Spicer Tuesday in a 7 p.m. winner’s bracket semifinal game in Marshall. Windom Area falls back to the loser’s bracket to play Fairmont at Windom at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
In the other Section 3AA winner’s bracket semifinal, Pipestone Area plays Paynesville at 5 p.m. in Marshall.
Elsewhere in Section 3AA South action Saturday, Pipestone Area defeated Martin County West 7-4 and Fairmont 2-1. Fairmont beat Tracy-Milroy-Balaton 13-3 in its first game. Windom Area advanced to the Luverne showdown following a 9-2 win over Jackson County Central.
Windom Area’s Kobe Lovell pitched six innings in his team’s win over JCC on a hot Saturday afternoon. WAHS head coach Brad Schlomann’s plan was to start him against Luverne, intending to spell him with a reliever later. But Lovell was unable to get out of the first inning. He walked Reisdorfer to start the bottom of the first, and when Reisdorfer was caught in a rundown moments later, a bad throw allowed him to reach second. A single by Declan Beers and an RBI infield single by Jaxon Nelson scored the game’s lone run. Another single loaded the bases, and Gilbertson took over on the mound.
He got his first man to foul out, and he struck out the next to minimize the damage.
From there, the game settled into a pitcher’s duel. Windom Area, which loaded the bases off Reisdorfer in its half of the first inning, stranded a runner at second in the second inning, then stranded a runner at third in the fifth -- and, of course, the seventh.
Luverne knows how to win close games. The Cardinals improved to 21-1 on the season with Saturday’s triumph over the gritty Eagles. Their record is a testimony to their love of winning, their focus, and Wenninger’s demand for excellence.
“He pushes us,” said Reisdorfer after the game. “I think we ran 24 bases after practice on Thursday. ‘Cuz that’s how many mistakes we made in practice. And those were sprints.”
Wenninger just smiles. He didn’t say it, but the Cardinals may be in for some more sprints -- Coach wasn’t entirely happy with the way they ran bases on Saturday.
Even so, Wenninger praised both pitchers in the LHS-WAHS showdown.
“Great pitching,” he said. “(Reisdorfer) kept the ball down in the strike zone, changed speeds.”
So why did he order those curve balls?
“It’s always a little different for who’s up, what the pitcher’s throwing …,” he explained. “I don’t think (Reisdorfer) had his best fastball. That’s a sign of his grit, to get the job done in that situation.”
Schlomann agreed his Eagles had their chances.
“It was a good ball game. Offensively, I think we hit the ball pretty good. But we had some line drives that were caught. We knew (Reisdorfer) would be tough on us, and he was.”
The LHS right-hander allowed five hits. He walked three and struck out four. Gilbertson, who pitched five and one-third innings before being pulled for reaching his pitch count, allowed two hits, walked three and struck out five.
Reisdorfer praised his defense, and indeed, the Luverne defense made several nifty plays behind him.
Schlomann reserved more praise for the Luverne baseball program.
“They’ve been killin’ people. They have a good staff, they have a good baseball team. Can’t fault my guys. They played their hearts out. We had opportunities to put runs on the board, and didn’t.”
Windom Area 000 000 0 -- 0 5 1
Luverne 100 000 x -- 1 5 1