Tiesler earns complete-game victory to set up rematch with Worthington in second round of VFW playoffs
LUVERNE -- Luke Tiesler wanted another shot at Worthington. After scattering eight hits and striking out six over a complete-game effort Monday to lead Adrian's VFW baseball team to a 5-3 victory against Luverne, Tiesler will get his wish. Fifth-...
LUVERNE -- Luke Tiesler wanted another shot at Worthington.
After scattering eight hits and striking out six over a complete-game effort Monday to lead Adrian's VFW baseball team to a 5-3 victory against Luverne, Tiesler will get his wish.
Fifth-seeded Adrian will face top-seeded Worthington on Thursday in the second round of the playoffs, and the 16-year-old pitcher likely will get the start.
Tiesler was working on a 1-0 shutout July 3 at Worthington, but three errors and two unearned runs in the bottom of the seventh cost Adrian the game.
"I want to get them back, take them down," Tiesler said. "They're the No. 1 seed; we want to take them out."
Although fourth-seeded Luverne got the potential winning run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning, Tiesler and his teammates allowed no such comeback.
Using a two-seamed fastball that darted in on right-handed hitters, and a big, slow curveball, Tiesler kept Luverne's hitters off balance all evening -- despite Luverne's familiarity with him.
"That's the fifth time we've seen him, including (high) school ball," Luverne coach Mike Wenninger said. "He throws strikes; he makes you beat him."
Luverne had plenty of opportunities.
Jon Fodness scored the game's first run in the first inning on an RBI single by Landon Gacke, who was stranded in scoring position when the inning ended -- a dilemma that haunted Luverne all night.
Luverne stranded another runner at second base in the second inning and had three different players reach first base in the third but couldn't produce.
Zane Aubert smacked a one-out double in the fourth, but Tiesler struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
By then, Adrian's confidence was growing.
"Just getting into the fourth inning with Luverne having only one run, the more we thought we could win," Adrian coach Kevin Nowotny said.
In the fourth inning, Adrian's growing confidence resulted in offensive production.
With runners on first and second with two outs, Dustin Polzine and Andrew Lonneman delivered back-to-back RBI singles to put Adrian ahead 2-1 against Luverne starter Gacke, who allowed just one hit through the first three frames.
Luverne responded with two runs in the fifth to regain the lead. Gacke drilled a hanging curveball -- one of Tiesler's few mistakes -- to deep left-center field to score Nick Meyer, and Eric Kor scored Gacke on a soft blooper into left field.
Kor was left stranded at second base.
Adrian added two more runs in the fifth to go ahead 4-3.
Tyler Hornstein scored Mitchell Voss on an RBI single, and Justin Wolf scored Tiesler on an RBI groundout to the right side.
Tiesler followed by recording his only 1-2-3 inning of the night, and Adrian picked up an insurance run in the seventh on Hornstein's RBI groundout.
With runners on first and second in the bottom of the seventh, Luverne attempted a hit-and-run. It failed, as Fodness was thrown out at third to end the game.
Luverne went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight on base.
"They took advantage of the opportunities, and we didn't," Wenninger said. "This team is an elevator ride. A lot of times we're going up three floors, but we can come down two in a hurry."
Adrian, which was 4-10 entering the game, was going mostly down until Monday.
"About a week or two ago, we said, 'Just keep playing, and in the playoffs let's put something together and scratch out a win or two; that would kind of make our summer,'" Nowotny said. "That was a big win for us because Luverne has always been our nemesis -- bigger town, up a division -- and they have consistently beaten us over the years."
Kor, Aubert, Meyer and Josh Boomgaarden each went 1-for-3, and Gacke was 2-for-3 with two RBIs to lead Luverne.
Hornstein went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Wolf, Polzine and Andrew Lonneman each went 1-for-3 with an RBI to lead Adrian.
"This was the best game we played all year," Nowotny said. "Now we have to do the same thing on Thursday."
R H E
Adrian 000 220 1 -- 5 6 2
Luv. 100 020 0 -- 3 8 3