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Section 3AA baseball: Luverne puts the pedal down, eliminates JCC

WINDOM -- An eight-run second inning put Luverne in command, and the Cardinals never relinquished it Tuesday night in an 11-1 victory over Jackson County Central in a Section 3AA baseball contest advancing them to the section championship game.Lu...

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Luverne's Gaige Nath slides into third base as JCC third baseman Chris Gumto calls for the ball in the Cardinals' Section 3AA tournament victory at Island Park in Windom on Tuesday. (Tim Middagh /The Globe)

WINDOM -- An eight-run second inning put Luverne in command, and the Cardinals never relinquished it Tuesday night in an 11-1 victory over Jackson County Central in a Section 3AA baseball contest advancing them to the section championship game.
Luverne will need to beat New London-Spicer twice on Thursday, in Granite Falls, for the right to represent the section in the state tournament. Game One is at 5 p.m. Game Two, if needed, follows.
Tuesday’s game at Windom’s Island Park went south for JCC -- which led 1-0 after one inning -- in the top of the second as starting pitcher Darrius Johnson hit the first three batters to load the bases. The next Luverne batter then dodged a pitch behind his head, which sailed to the backstop, and the first LHS run scored. After a strikeout, the Cardinals’ Mark Sterrett walked to load the bases again before Declan Beers drilled a two-run single to make the score 3-1.
On came a new Huskies pitcher, Keegan Klontz. Jaxon Nelson greeted him with a single to load the bases again, and moments later another walk forced in the fourth run. Ben Serie followed with a two-run single and Gaige Nath followed that with an RBI single.
JCC could have gotten out of the inning after that, but a possible double-play was botched on a throwing error at second base, and the eighth run came home. Finally, relief. The inning ended.
Luverne scored two more in the third inning helped by Sterrett’s leadoff double, a Beers bad-hop single, a walk, and an error.
LHS starting pitcher Tyler Reisdorfer enjoyed a 10-1 lead through two and a half innings. But he didn’t lose his focus. He sent down the Huskies 1-2-3 in the second, third and fourth innings. JCC didn’t get a hit off him from innings two through five.
The only run he allowed, in fact, was a gift. It was driven in by the Huskies’ Ryan Christopher on a high fly ball to left field that was lost in the sun.
In all, Reisdorfer hurled six complete innings. He walked three and struck out nine.
“I play like it’s zero-zero,” Reisdorfer said after the game. “If you give them any room to breathe, they’re going to go with it.”
“The old saying is once you push the gas pedal, keep it down,” LHS head coach Mike Wenninger said.
Reisdorfer won’t be able to pitch on Thursday, because on Tuesday he reached his pitch count.
Having to continue without a primary pitcher can hurt a high school team in the playoffs. The pitch count rule certainly didn’t do any favors to JCC, Section 3AA South’s No. 1 seed, as the Huskies’ ace, Christopher, met his pitch count on Saturday. The Huskies used four pitchers against Luverne -- Johnson, Klontz, Dylan Svoboda and Chris Gumto.
Wenninger had to shake his head when contemplating Tuesday’s weird result.
“Part of it is their No. 1 pitcher pitched his pitch count, and Gumto kind of hurt his hand in the New London-Spicer game (on Saturday),” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect. Our pitcher, Reisdorfer, got on top of hitters, and when you do that you get your head down. And then it’s a matter of playing defense.”
Luverne played errorless ball against JCC. In the sixth inning, the Huskies loaded the bases against Reisdorfer, filling the sacks on a couple of hits and a strikeout that was dropped by the catcher and muffed at first base. Undaunted, Reisdofer promptly struck out the next batter to end the inning.
An inning earlier, Reisdorfer was hit in the helmet by a JCC pitch. Stunned momentarily, even that didn’t keep him from taking care of business on the mound.
He credited his pitching development this year to his coaching staff.
“Wenninger emphasized that I work on a slider. I worked on that and got it going. I got a curveball now that’s not so loopy. I used the slider a lot today.”
Early this season the Cardinals struggled. Reisdorfer said Coach Wenninger told the Cards in practice recently that he didn’t think they would make it this far the way they were playing early-on. But the team has tightened things up.
As well as the Cardinals are playing, though, they’re fully aware of New London-Spicer’s abilities. The North’s top seed sent JCC to the elimination bracket on Saturday, and the Wildcats will be tough to beat in Granite Falls.
“They have two-three very good pitchers. They have a good hitting staff one through nine,” Wenninger said.
There was no lack of confidence from Reisdorfer, however, who saw it as automatic that the showdown wouldn’t end quickly.
“It should be two good games,” he said.
Luverne 082 000 1 -- 11 8 0
JCC 100 000 0 -- 1 5 2

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Jackson County Central's Easton Bahr slides in safely on a pick-off attempt. Luverne first baseman Jaxon Nelson catches the throw from the pitcher and applies the tag in the Cardinals victory on Tuesday in Windom. (Tim Middagh / The Globe)

Related Topics: BASEBALL
Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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