Wanamingo, Pine Island, Dodge County in Must Win Mode
One thing is for sure in the Region 5C Minnesota Amateur Baseball playoffs this year: There is no one dominant team.
Never was that more evident than Saturday when two of the games went extra innings and the other two were close until the very end.
After top seed Stewartville/Racine got by Dodge County 8-5 in a winner's bracket game, Waseca defeated Wanamingo 4-2 in 12 innings.
Both coaches told me the last encounter between these two ended in a 13-inning Waseca 2-1 win. The common denominator was Waseca starting pitcher Bryce Bellin. He stymied the Jacks in their first meeting and although they hit off him better Saturday, he still allowed just the two runs.
Brady Anfinson shut down Waseca also, allowing just one run through his seven innings of work. He threw 85 pitches, 66 were for strikes, and was 19 of 27 first-pitch strikes.
Anfinson struck out three Braves batters and walked one while scattering 10 hits. He was able to pitch well under pressure, something not every pitcher can do.
He also received some very good defense behind him and it started with the very first batter of the game. Cody Ulfers hit a ball down the left field line and Eric Swiggum made a long running catch.
Bellin went the first 11 innings and threw 148 pitches, 107 for strikes. He scattered eight hits while striking out 11 and most impressively did not walk a batter.
Jonnie Heiderschiedt picked up a save while pitching the 12th inning for Waseca. He threw 16 pitches, 11 strikes, struck out two and allowed one hit.
Brady Anfinson was one of our Tatge Jewelry of Kenyon-Wanamingo players of the game, not only for his pitching but his all-around game.
Anfinson had two hits, an incredible rolling slide to avoid a tag at home that gave Wanamingo a 2-1 lead at the time and an awesome throw from right field to Alex Roosen, who relayed home to get a runner who would have given Waseca the lead in the eighth inning.
Derek Greseth threw four innings of stellar relief for Wanamingo with just 39 pitches thrown. He had one strikeout of a Waseca batter and one walk and gave up five hits. Gavin Roosen pitched the 12th inning and took the tough loss for the Jacks.
The Waseca go-ahead run came on a hit batsman with the bases loaded and the next run scored on a wild pitch.
Our other Tatge Jewelry Wanamingo players of the game were Kirby Vandewalker, who scored the first run on a hustle play following a throwing error by the pitcher to try to pick him off. Vandewalker also had another hit off Bellin and made a couple of nice fielding plays at second base before moving to short when Roosen went in to pitch the 12th inning.
Eric Swiggum was the other Wanamingo player to receive Tatge Jewelry honors with a three-hit day, including a double.
Following that game Owatonna bested Zumbrota in a 10-inning thriller 4-3.
The Aces Dexter Leer got the game-winning hit for the walk-off win.
Isaac Rocha pitched the first seven and a third innings and allowed just two runs on four hits. He struck out five, walked three and hit two batters while throwing 115 pitches, 67 for strikes.
Dalton Homeier threw to the next five batters, allowing no hits with two walks and a hit batsman.
Trey Fails got the victory while facing eight batters. He had one strikeout and one walk and allowed just one hit.
Kevin Niebuhr started for Zumbrota and went the first nine innings throwing 133 pitches, 86 for strikes. He allowed eight hits while striking out five Owatonna batters and had one walk and hit two batters.
The last game of the day started at 8:02 and ended at 10:38 with Pine Island ending Winona's season in an elimination bracket game 7-5.
Winona had two errors allowing three runs in the first inning and Pine Island had five runs on the board in the first after clubbing four hits also.
Winona chipped away but Pine Island scored a run in the sixth and a run in the seventh to hold off the Chiefs.
Adam Pleschcourt lifted a ball over the draw in infield for an RBI single in the sixth scoring Ben Warneke and Brad Russell had a lead off double in the seventh and scored on a Mitchell Enerson single.
Today's lineup of games goes like this:
- 11AM: Wanamingo vs. Owatonna elimination game
- 2PM: Dodge County vs. Pine Island elimination game
- 5PM: Stewartville/Racine vs. Waseca winner's bracket game
The top two teams out of the region go to state.
All games are being played at Dartts Park in Owatonna.