Amateur Baseball: Hastings forces series finale against Red Wing
HASTINGS, Minn. – Red Wing did not trail until the seventh inning against Hastings Tuesday in the second game of a three-game series against the Hawks in the Section 1B tournament.
But facing a team they beat three times heading into Tuesday, the Aces’ defense fell apart as Hastings put up six runs in the sixth and seventh innings to grab a 9-8 victory at Veterans Park.
“We didn’t play well enough to win,” Red Wing co-manager/starting pitcher Andy Gibart said. “The score was definitely not as close. They really gave us a ball game and they came ready to play.”
The Aces committed four errors in the loss, all four coming at third base, including an error that led to the game-winning run.
“It’s sad because we’ve had such a great regular season defensively,” Gibart said. “Playoffs come around; you need to keep playing good defense. Errors cost us today.”
Just five players had hits for the Aces Tuesday with Adam Thygesen going 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Zach Garner was 1-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored, Steve Boldt went 1-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored and Jimmy Bohmbach finished 1-for-3 with two RBI. Tyler Goering was 1-for-2 with a run scored.
The Hawks outhit Red Wing 11-6 with Brandon Morgan finishing 3-for-5 with an RBI. Drew Benson was 1-for-5 with a home run and four RBI and Jordy Horsch went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Neither starting pitcher had an easy time in the game with Gibart going 5 1/3 innings and giving up eight runs (six earned) on eight hits and two walks while Kyle Fritz allowed seven runs (six earned) on four hits and seven walks in 3 1/3 innings.
Jordan Jeske secured the win with 4 2/3 innings of relief, allowing one run on two hits and three walks. Ty Buck was the losing pitcher in 1 2/3 innings, striking out one.
The Aces jumped out front quickly in the first inning as Thygesen led off with a single and Garner brought him home with a triple. After a walk to Boldt, Bohmbach hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to give Red Wing a 2-0 lead.
Garner scored again in the third inning, putting the Aces up 3-0 on a ground ball off the bat of Blahnik.
Then, Hastings struck back as Horsch walked to start the bottom of the third inning, Morgan bunted for a hit and Benson walloped the first pitch he saw from Gibart for a game-tying home run.
“It was just a first-pitch fastball and he jumped on it,” Gibart said.
Red Wing quickly responded in the fourth inning, staying patient at the plate and scoring four runs with the help of five walks and a single.
In the top of the sixth inning, Boldt led off with a home run to right field for an 8-3 lead and all appeared set for the Aces to advance through the first round of playoffs.
But the Hawks had other plans.
An error by Tyler Goering put Hastings’ Austin LaDoux on-base to start the sixth inning and it snowballed from there. Spencer Diedrich and Andrew Flack followed with singles and Andy Sammon walked to load the base with no outs in an 8-4 game.
“Right now, I’m just kind of mad, we let this one get away,” Gibart said. “We had a lead, I had a strong fifth inning and went back out there in the sixth, and just a couple of bloop hits and the inning just kind of steamrolled on me. I’m mad at myself for pitching that tinning and not taking myself out sooner but I’m just mad at the way we played in general.”
Jeske hit into a fielder’s choice as Red Wing cut down a runner at home but Nick Horsch was hit by a pitch and Jordy Horsch tapped an infield single to cut the lead to 8-6.
Buck entered the game for Red Wing, giving up an RBI-single to Morgan and Benson tied the game with a sacrifice fly to left field. Buck coaxed a ground ball to third to end the inning after 11 hitters came to the plate.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Andrew Flack led off with a single and Tony Kaiser entered as a pinch-runner. Buck struck out Andy Sammon swinging in the next at-bat but Kaiser stole second with no one covering second base and Tyler Goering dropped the throw from Boldt in centerfield while trying to make the tag. Kaiser scored a batter later as Jeske launched a deep fly ball that Mike Stegora ran down in the gap.
“We had a chance to stop them from getting the ninth run and we didn’t do that,” Gibart said.
“We should have been out of the inning right there; that was a momentum shift in their favor,” Bohmbach added.
The Aces were set down in order in the ninth inning as Jose Velez picked up the save.
The final game of the three-game series will take place Friday at 8 p.m. at the Red Wing Athletic Field. The winner will face Miesville Sunday at Jack Ruhr Field in Miesville.
“I think we feel that we’re the better team, we just didn’t play like it tonight,” Bohmbach said. “We just didn’t finish the job.”