STATE BASEBALL: A Dragon split at state

CHASKA -- Who'd have thought thunderclouds would brighten Adrian's state baseball tournament? A 90-minute storm delay turned out to be just what the Dragons ordered on Thursday -- that, and a walk-off balk. Nathan Miller's overzealous move on the...

Dragons celebrate
Michael Brauer/Daily Globe Dustine Polzine (left) and Adrian head coach Kevin Nowotny (front right) sandwich Brian Hokeness (11) after he scored the game-winning run against Minnesota Valley Lutheran on a balk that sent the Dragons to the Class A state baseball consolation final.

CHASKA -- Who'd have thought thunderclouds would brighten Adrian's state baseball tournament?

A 90-minute storm delay turned out to be just what the Dragons ordered on Thursday -- that, and a walk-off balk.

Nathan Miller's overzealous move on the mound cost Minnesota Valley Lutheran its season, and sent Adrian into the Class A consolation final with an eight-inning, 3-2 victory that was nearly called off early due to a thunderstorm.

Good thing for Adrian it wasn't -- because they were trailing 2-1 when the tarps came out.

"It just wasn't going our way, but the baseball gods blessed us with a little sunshine there at the end and let us play," said Luke Tiesler, who pitched through knee and elbow pain the whole way for the Dragons.


"Thank God they didn't call it off because of lightning," added Ross Wieneke, whose RBI double sent the game into extra innings. "That would have been a sad way to end the season."

The sun even poked out by the end of the game, just in time to shine on Adrian's game-winning run.

Justin Wolf doubled, and Tiesler singled pinch-runner Brian Hokeness to third -- all with two outs. Zach Dingmann came up to attempt the game-winning hit, but he never got the chance.

"I'd like to add that Dingmann did not get the walk-off hit," laughed Tiesler, not passing up the chance to kid his teammate before adding, "He induced it a little bit."

Adrian's head coach Kevin Nowotny knew it was a balk right away. He chased Hokeness all the way home with his arms outstretched in joy, then sandwiched the pinch runner between his teammates once he crossed the plate.

"We just thought we were snake-bit, and we had just said it wasn't meant to be," Nowotny said. "But one play can win a baseball game. That's what we've been preaching all year."

Adrian now faces Southland today for the Class A consolation trophy. Not long before the Dragons were celebrating their crazy victory, it looked as though the Lutheran schools would be sending them home with a pair of 2-1 losses.

That was the score when Mayer Lutheran handed the Dragons a first-round defeat earlier in the day, and MVL was on its way toward sealing the same deal -- then came the rain.


The Dragons scored as many runs in their two innings after the delay as they had during their previous 12 frames. Finally, it was Wieneke's bat -- not the lightning -- that truly shocked the Dragons' offense into gear.

With his back against the wall, Wieneke smacked a two-out double into the right-center gap and Tyler Sieve high-tailed it home.

"I was like, 'Oh gosh, do not get the last out of the season,'" Wieneke said.

He didn't.

It was only Wieneke's second double of the season, and both have been timely -- his other one came in a section tournament win over Renville County West.

"Holy cow, he's been doing that a lot in tournaments this year," shortstop Adam Diekmann said. "I guess that's why he's here."

MVL got its early lead in the fourth inning off Dan Holz's RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Zac Kroells. The Chargers' scoring stopped there, though.

Adrian got one run back in the bottom half when a deep Tiesler flyout brought Brett Nowotny home.


Tiesler earned the win, even though he was pitching through two torn ligaments in his knee and a sore elbow. He's due to have ACL surgery next week, but it'll have to wait for one more game.

"You write movies about what he's doing," Nowotny said of his pitcher's effort. "He's got surgery scheduled for next week, he's got a sore elbow. It was a heck of an effort by him."

Tiesler aggravated his knee further during the first game against Mayer Lutheran when he tried to beat a throw to first base. Something popped when his left foot hit the bag, and he got up gasping in pain. He took a few seconds, limped off the field, put on his glove and ran back out to cover third base.

He still had a whole other game to pitch, too.

"When I'm out on the mound I just throw," Tiesler said. "I don't really worry about anything. I have problems with my elbow and my knee, but when I'm out there all that goes away."

Against MVL, Tiesler didn't give up a single earned run, scattered four hits and walked three batters.

He led the Dragons at the plate with a 2-for-4 effort, and also struck out six -- including when he came on after the delay and mowed down MVL's entire side in the top of the seventh.

That gave the Dragons a chance to tie it, and their defense in the eighth inning gave them a shot at winning it.


The Chargers' Galen Holueter and Michael Schlottman walked, but Diekmann, Mitchell Sieve and Dingmann turned a 6-4-3 double play to get Tiesler out of the inning.

"That double play was clutch for us," Wieneke said. "That, I think, turned the momentum."

Now, the Dragons will turn their attention toward Southland, who is coming off a 10-6 victory over Fosston. First pitch is scheduled for noon at the Mini Met in Jordan.

"We wanted to play at Jordan for sure," Wieneke said. "Now, we've got a chance to play for a trophy. That's what we wanted."


MVL 000 200 00 -- 2 4 1

Adrian 000 100 11 -- 3 5 1

Mayer Lutheran downs Adrian in opening round


CHASKA -- Adam Diekmann wasn't about to relinquish his perfect record without a fight.

Adrian's senior pitcher was called out sliding into home for what would have been the tying run, and Mayer Lutheran handed Adrian a 2-1 loss on Thursday in the first round of the Class A state baseball tournament.

Down by one run in the sixth inning and Diekmann on third base, Adrian's Luke Tiesler hit a deep fly to center field. Chad Ische made the catch, gunned it to home and catcher Ryan Lane applied the tag just before Diekmann rolled over the plate.

"I was going to tag up regardless," Diekmann said. "I wouldn't want to live with 'What if I didn't?' I had it in my mind I was going to tag up the whole time."

The Dragons couldn't threaten again in the seventh inning, striking out twice and flying out to end the game.

ML's Aaron Cook didn't allow any earned runs, gave up two hits, walked a pair of batters and fanned six.

Diekmann was nearly as impressive, striking out eight and yielding just one earned run on seven hits. He now holds a 10-1 record on the year.

Mayer Lutheran made its move in the third inning when Cook and Scott Willmsen each singled. Cook stole third, then Willmsen drew an errant throw to first base that allowed him to take second and Cook to score. Josh Genske singled Willmsen home and ML led, 2-0.


Adrian's Tyler Hornstein scored to cut the lead in half after Justin Wolf hit a grounder that was too hot to handle in the sixth inning.


ML 000 200 0 -- 2 7 1

Adrian 000 001 0 -- 1 2 1

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