The Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights and Pine Island Panthers played in rain throughout their regular season final game.  Fitting for what has been a spring, coaches, players, athletic directors, umpires and broadcasters would rather forget.  Pine Island defeated Kenyon-Wanamingo 9-1 win in 5 innings.  The game called early due to the soggy conditions.

Freshman left handed pitcher Owen Hilke toed the rubber for the Knights and senior right handed pitcher Michael Horkey for the Panthers.  There was a terrific crowd on hand even with the soggy weather as Kenyon-Wanamingo celebrated the only senior on their team, Jack Beulke.  Beulke has played every position in the infield this season and has been the team's ace pitcher.  Knight Head Coach Kirby VanDeWalker calls him, "A true team player."

In my scorebook the game started with a Knight error on a grounder off the bat of Pine Island shortstop senior Joe Bauer to his counterpart on a full count.  Bauer stole second and really set the tone for the game.  Senior center fielder Jake Olson was  walked and senior second baseman Keegan Majerus put down an excellent bunt for a single to load the bases with nobody out.  Senior first baseman Wesley Sorum was walked allowing the Panthers first run to score.  Designated hitter 6'3 240 pound sophomore Carter Drazan spanked a 2 run single and it was 3-0 five batters into the game.

In the bottom of the first inning freshman catcher Tyler Craig pulled a 2-0 pitch that appeared to be outside for a base hit.  Craig tried to steal second and was thrown out during the Beulke at bat.  Invariably after the runner was thrown out the next one reach.  Beulke was walked on four pitches.  Junior left fielder Micah Johnson then walked on 5 pitches before Hilke hit into a 4-6-3 double play that looked it was pulled off by a major league team.  Pine Island second baseman Majerus scooped the ball in his glove and flipped it out of his glove to shortstop Bauer who stepped on second base and relayed to first for the inning ending double play.  It looked like a play I've seen Brian Dozier make multiple times.

The Panthers would be purring by the fourth inning when they scored 6 more runs while 12 batters came to the plate.  Junior Josh Navratil opened the inning with a double against Hilke and was the last batter the freshman Knight pitcher would face on the evening after hitting a single later in the inning.  Following a error, number nine hitter Horkey hit a single to left field, Bauer hit a line drive to left field that scored a  run.  There was a hit batter followed by Hilke's fifth walk.  The Knights had another error that allowed a run to score when they tried to pick off a runner at first.  That was followed by another error , Hilke's 6th walk then his 4th strikeout was followed by a RBI single and junior Seth Brossard came on in relief to get the last out.

Hilke left the game with 96 pitches thrown, 53 for strikes.  He struck out 4, walked 6 and hit a batter.  Brossard faced six batters and didn't allow a hit while fanning 2 batters and walking one.

The Knights did scratch out a run in the bottom of the fourth.  Hilke started the inning with a single and sophomore Tate Erlandson was walked.  Pine Island then made a pitching change with Horkey giving way to Sorum.  Sophomore shortstop Garrett Grove clubbed a grounder and beat the throw to first, scoring Hilke.  Sorum then struck out the next two batters looking.

The Panthers had senior Alec Jarosinski get an inning of work also and he recorded a strike out while retiring the Knights in order in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Horkey got the win for Pine Island while throwing 57 pitches, 22 for strikes.  He had no strikeouts and walked 5 batters.  Sorum threw 17 pitches, 11 strikes with two strikeouts and Jarosinski tossed a 14 pitch fifth inning with 8 strikes and one strikeout.

Pine Island finishes the regular season 9-7 and Kenyon-Wanamingo is 4-14 heading into the playoffs.  The Panthers are the #3 seed in the West Subsection of Section 1AA and will have Stewartville (5-11) come to Pine Island Wednesday at 5:00 p.m.

Knight Head Coach Kirby VanDeWalker says they won't know their opponent for sure in the Section 2AA Tournament until Tuesday.  Their tournament is seeded by QRF.  All the numbers have to be figured in the section for the final games played Monday night.

Coach VanDeWalker speculated his team would be at either Tri-City United in Montgomery or go to Belle Plaine on Thursday.

Kenyon-Wanamingo Senior Jack Beulke Recognized Before Monday Game- photo by Gordy Kosfeld