Baseball: Lake City's Thomas spectacular in victory
LAKE CITY - Lake City is content with the little things.
The Tigers have good pitching, solid defense and an athletic roster full of three-sport athletes tailor-made for small ball.
Facing fifth-seeded Dover-Eyota Saturday in the Section 1AA-East sub-section semifinal, top-seeded Lake City played its style of baseball to perfection and came away with a 4-0 victory at Bill Kieffer Field.
"The small ball kind of jump-started us a little bit," Tigers' head coach Perry Iberg said. "That got some things going; sometimes that works out and sometimes it doesn't."
Lake City's Logan Thomas threw a one-hitter, striking out nine and walking four.
"It was just mentally staying in it, knowing that I got to throw strikes and trust the defense behind me," Thomas said. "I'm a little more of a strikeout pitcher this year but my mentality is to go in there and trust the defense that they'll have my back and make the plays, which they did."
The Tigers had the luxury to manufacture runs because of Thomas' sparkling start.
"We've been notorious for slow starts, but it's easier to start slow when you're not giving up runs," Iberg said. "(Thomas) was in control all day."
Thomas balked in the sixth inning, the only blemish in a nearly unhittable performance.
Lake City (16-4) had five hits on Saturday, with three coming via the bunt. Reid Lundell was 1-for-2 with a bunt single and a run scored, Ben Schramski went 1-for-2 with a bunt single and a run scored and Elliot Cox finished 1-for-3 with a bunt single and an RBI. Nick Oeltjen was 1-for-1 as a pinch hitter with a ground ball single and Trevor Gnotke finished 1-for-3 with the Tigers' only base hit out of the infield.
"For the most part, we're a very fast team," Thomas said. "We've got some people that can lay the bunt down. Speed is definitely a perk to our success."
The Eagles (9-8) tallied the first and only hit in the second inning. Josh Hall was 1-for-2 and was hit by a pitch.
Tanner Allen threw five innings for D-E, allowing four runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks. He had three strikeouts.
"Dover-Eyota made a couple nice defense plays too; to their credit they shut us down," Iberg said. "I thought their pitcher kept us a little off-balance with a couple different pitches. He did a pretty nice job, too."
Lake City took advantage of its few opportunities, scoring two runs in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth inning. The Tigers did not tally a hit in the fourth inning, but used a leadoff walk to Schramski, an error on the Eagles' first baseman and two sacrifice flies to center field to take a 2-0 lead.
In the fifth inning, Oeltjen led off with a single, Lundell bunted for a single, John Brown grounded into a fielder's choice and Schramski bunted to load the bases with one out. Then, Lake City attempted a squeeze play to score Lundell from third but the bunt was missed. Lundell was caught in a rundown but scored when the pitcher forget to cover home and missed the relay throw.
"We scored a couple runs in two innings and took advantage of a couple miscues and that's the name of the game," Iberg said.
Griebenow grounded out to second base later in the at-bat to bring home Brown for the final tally.
The Tigers will play second-seeded Winona Cotter Monday in the Section 1AA-East sub-section championship in Lake City. The Ramblers defeated La Crescent 3-2 on Saturday.
"We're not thinking ahead to anything," Thomas said. "We're playing one game, one day at a time."