Aces win Tauer TournamentGreat pitching, stellar performances and high emotions carried the Red Wing Aces to the victory every step of the way in the Dewey Tauer Tournament.
By: Anne Jacobson, The Republican Eagle
Great pitching, stellar performances and high emotions carried the Red Wing Aces to the victory every step of the way in the Dewey Tauer Tournament.
The team posted back-to-back 5-4 wins coming off Friday's 13-3 trouncing of New Richmond. On Saturday, Red Wing defeated Austin in the 11th inning following a rain delay after the 10th. On Sunday, the team held off Mankato to take the championship.
For player/assistant manager Andy Gibart, winning the local tournament and having a 15-4 record halfway to August signals the Aces are well on their way during this transition year.
"I don't think we could have asked for a better start or a better outcome for the first half," he said.
The Aces lost numerous longtime players after last season, including player/manager Corey Tauer. He sat tucked in the stands Saturday, Gibart said, but every player knew he was there taking in the 24th Father's Day Weekend tournament named for his late father.
"This was a big test for us," Gibart said. "This is the first year without the Tauers, but it's still the same emotion."
Sweetening the emotion was the fact the Aces defeated two quality ball clubs. The wins began with good pitching.
Tyler Goering earned the win Saturday, throwing two innings in relief. He did not give up a hit and had two strikeouts.
The star, however according to Gibart, was Aaron Johnson. The Austin Greyhounds got to him with two runs in the third and two in the fourth, but thereafter he rendered their bats silent: Johnson threw nine innings, retiring the last 13 batters he faced.
"He gave up a homerun and a double early, but settled down on Saturday. It was pretty much lights out," Gibart said.
On Sunday, Augie Lindmark took the mound against the Mankato Twins, who boast perhaps the best lineup the Aces will see during the regular season.
"Despite not striking out a batter, he managed to give up only two runs in eight innings," Gibart said.
Acknowledging the Aces' solid defense played a role, Gibart stressed that was Lindmark's control that set up that defense.
"It was really much a testament to Augie mixing up pitches and keeping them off balance," Gibart said.
Offensively, the weekend belonged to Jimmy Bohmbach and Dave Jenson.
Bohmbach went to the plate 15 times and opponents got him out just twice, Gibart said.
"He made it on base 13 times," Gibart said.
"It came down to me just not trying to do too much," Bohmbach said, who admits he has had a tendency to swing too hard in the past. This season he's concentrating on putting the ball in play, and that's getting results.
"I think I had five or six walks over the weekend and didn't strike out once," he said.
Jenson meanwhile had the game-winning RBI both Saturday and Sunday.
He smacked a double Saturday after the rain delay to break the 4-4 tie, and he got the insurance run Sunday with a sacrifice fly in eighth inning. That put the Aces up 5-2 and proved essential when Mankato scored twice in the ninth.
"The Dewey Tauer Tournament -- it's always a special tournament for our team. We've had great success in the last 10 years," Gibart said. "Winning it is our goal every year and we accomplished that this year.
'We're 15-4. We need to realize we're a good baseball game."
Gibart said he gave the team a pep talk afterward with that very message. He firmly believes the Aces can contend with anyone they face.
"We have great pitching this year and, more than anything, hitting has been timely. We need to carry the confidence over as we move forward," he said.
While most the big amateur tournaments are over until the post-season run, there will be plenty of tough league games ahead. Each will be important in determining the section seating, Gibart said, and should provide good entertainment for baseball fans.
Leading up to the Fourth of July contest against the Miesville Mudhens, the Aces will play Cannon Falls on Friday, Randolph on Sunday, Menomonie Eagles on Tuesday and Hastings on July 3 - all at home. Plus, travel to face the Rochester Royals July 1.
"Hey. We're 15 and 4," Gibart said. "People should come out."