Wilmont stays alive with 15-7 victory against Luverne; Adrian downs Pipestone
WILMONT -- After Luverne scored a single run in each of the first five innings Wednesday night, the Wilmont Cardinals scored 14 combined runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh frames to build a 15-6 lead in their 15-7 victory over the Redbirds in a...
WILMONT -- After Luverne scored a single run in each of the first five innings Wednesday night, the Wilmont Cardinals scored 14 combined runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh frames to build a 15-6 lead in their 15-7 victory over the Redbirds in an elimination game of the Gopher League amateur baseball playoffs.
Top-seeded Wilmont (19-4) will host second-seeded Pipestone Friday at 7:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Region 13C playoffs along with Adrian -- which defeated Pipestone 7-2 Wednesday night.
Aaron Johnson earned the victory, tossing seven innings, fanning five batters and allowing three walks. Ryan Swanson pitched the last two innings, picking up a pair of strikeouts.
Jeremy Irlbeck (2-for-3, three runs, two walks), Nick Ahrens (3-for-5, four RBIs, two runs) and Sam Baumgartner (1-for-4, two walks, one run) ripped three consecutive run-scoring doubles with two outs in the bottom of the fifth -- helping turn a 5-1 deficit into a 7-5 advantage for the Cardinals.
"That was a big inning at the plate for us, with Jeremy and Nick providing the spark with back-to-back two-out, two-run doubles," said Baumgartner, the Cardinals' veteran catcher. "We started to capitalize with runners in scoring position during that inning and then had a couple of more nice offensive innings after that."
Cole Johnson started the Wilmont fifth by drawing a lead-off walk before Aaron Johnson reached on an error and Jay Scheidt was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Cole Johnson scored on a wild pitch with Joe Ahrens at the plate to make it 5-2.
Luverne's Jared Pick (five innings, eight strikeouts, eight walks) fanned the next two batters, though, and looked like he might escape yet another jam -- after stranding six Cardinals on base through the first four frames (including leaving the bases loaded in the fourth).
However, Josh Wasmund coaxed a walk to again load the bases for Irlbeck -- who laced a 1-0 pitch down the left-field line for a ground-rule double. Aaron Johnson and Scheidt scored on the play to bring Wilmont within one (5-4).
Nick Ahrens followed Irlbeck's blast with one of his own, driving another 1-0 offering to the fence in right-center for a double to score Wasmund and Irlbeck -- giving the Cardinals a 6-5 lead.
Baumgartner made it three straight run-producing doubles by smacking a first-pitch two-bagger into left-center, scoring Ahrens for a 7-5 Wilmont lead.
Wilmont then added four runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to extend its margin to 15-6.
Joe Ahrens and Brian Harberts led off the sixth with consecutive singles, and Wasmund scored Ahrens from third with an RBI-sacrifice fly.
After Irlbeck walked, Nick Ahrens singled to left to plate Harberts. Irlbeck also scored on the play, as the ball got past the left fielder.
Ahrens later scored on a wild pitch to make it 11-5 after the sixth.
Wasmund and Nick Ahrens added RBI-singles in the seventh, while Cole Johnson and Aaron Johnson both drew a bases-loaded walk to plate two more runs and put the Cardinals up by nine.
Luverne, though, controlled the game in the early going -- scoring one run in each of the first five innings.
JT Bruynes and Zach Olson drew consecutive one-out walks in the top of the first, and James Fisher singled to load the bases. Andrew DeBoer then grounded out to first, bringing Bruynes in with the game's first run.
Wilmont tied the game by manufacturing a run in the bottom half, as Baumgartner led off with a walk and moved to second on Cole Johnson's sacrifice bunt before advancing to third on a groundout and scoring on a wild pitch.
The next four runs went to the Redbirds, giving them a 5-1 lead after the top of the fifth.
Micah Boomgaarden stroked a two-out double to center and scored on Pick's RBI-single up the middle in the second to give Luverne a 2-1 lead.
Olson then gave the Redbirds a 3-1 cushion in the third, as he singled to center, went to third on a two-base fielding error and scored on the play when the relay throw into the infield was misplayed by the Cardinals.
Boomgaarden again jumpstarted Luverne in the fourth, as he singled to right with one out, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI-single to left by Bruynes -- pushing the lead to 4-1.
Reed Van Hulzen crushed a solo home run over the right-field fence with two outs in the fifth -- giving the Redbirds even more momentum with a 5-1 lead.
Meanwhile, Pick was working out of trouble and keeping the Redbirds in command. Wilmont loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, but Pick fanned a batter and induced a groundout (after falling behind in the count 3-0) to wiggle out of the jam.
However, Wilmont busted through over the next three innings and surged ahead.
Luverne added a run in the seventh, when Olson reached on an error and scored on Van Hulzen's RBI-double to left-center. DeBoer, who followed Olson by smacking a single to center, was cut down at the plate on Van Hulzen's drive -- as the Cardinals made a perfect relay to get the out at home and end the inning.
Fisher scored the game's final run in the ninth to make it 15-7, as he singled to left and went to third on a two-base fielding error on the play. DeBoer's groundout to first scored Fisher.
R H E
Luv. 111 110 101 -- 7 11 2
Wil. 100 064 40x -- 15 12 5
Adrian 7, Pipestone 2
PIPESTONE -- Behind a complete-game victory from Kevin Nowotny, the Adrian A's defeated Pipestone in an amateur baseball playoff game Wednesday.
Nowotny allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out three to earn the victory.
Ryan Meulebroeck suffered the loss for Pipestone, allowing three runs in two-plus innings.
Jordon Kontz had four hits and drove in two runs, while Cody Kontz had three hits and had two RBIs.
Matt Gades had two hits, while Glen Kruger added a two-run single for Adrian (12-11).
Kent Woelber had a pair of hits for Pipestone, while Danny Moffitt had a double.
Adrian will play again Sunday, with the opponent yet to be determined.
Pipestone will face Wilmont Friday, with the winner advancing to face Adrian Sunday.
R H E
Adrian 120 000 022 -- 7 12 1
Pip. 001 000 100 -- 2 7 3