Amateur Baseball: Aces continue to get timely hits to advance in playoffsHASTINGS – Red Wing’s torrid turnaround continued Wednesday with an 8-4 victory over Hastings in the Section 1B playoffs.
By: Nick Gerhardt, The Republican Eagle
HASTINGS – Red Wing’s torrid turnaround continued Wednesday with an 8-4 victory over Hastings in the Section 1B playoffs.
The sixth-seeded Aces, who have won 12 of their last 14 games, knocked off the third-seeded Hawks with timely hitting and clutch two-out hitting, much like they have during this stretch.
“This is the team we knew we were going to be this year and we’re finally showing that potential,” Red Wing player-manager Andy Gibart said. “It’s fun winning like this. You can tell the atmosphere in the dugout is better and we know we’re going to win games when we step on the field.”
The Aces went 1-9 in section play during the regular season and finished with the worst record in the section. Six of those losses came by three runs or less and Red Wing held leads in the majority of those games. But now the Aces have reversed course at the right time and sit one win away from securing a spot in the Super Section, which will be played in Red Wing Aug. 17-19.
All nine hitters recorded a hit for the Aces against Hastings and the bottom of the order came through in a big way. Dave Jenson, who normally hits in the five spot, moved to the No. 8 spot with the addition of Ryan Boldt to the lineup and finished 3-for-3 with two doubles, an RBI and a run. Jenson reached base in all five plate appearances. Shortstop Zach Garner delivered a clutch two-run double in the seventh inning that extended Red Wing’s lead to 7-2 and provided the cushion the Aces needed to close out the game.
“We’ve had this deep lineup and we’ve had some guys hitting and we’ve had some guys slumping and now we’re all coming together and playing with a lot of confidence and having a lot of fun,” Jenson said.
Jenson had gone 0-for-2 with a groundout and a strikeout against Hawks starter Deryk Marks in the first meeting between the two teams, but got the better of Marks in the second meeting. Jenson doubled in his first two at-bats and drove in a run in the third inning to put Red Wing up 4-1 after Hastings had taken a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
Aces Leadoff hitter Adam Thygesen, who went 3-for-5 with a run, started the third inning with a double. Right fielder Ryan Boldt reached on a walk and pitcher Steve Boldt sent a ball to the fence in left field that should have scored both runners, but instead loaded the bases for catcher Jimmy Bohmbach. Bohmbach singled on a 3-2 count to score one run and tie the game. One batter later center fielder Chris Guetzlaff came through with a two-run double to give Red Wing a 3-1 lead.
Red Wing took a 5-2 lead in the sixth inning after Jenson led off with a single and later scored on a Ryan Boldt groundout. Instead of resting on that lead, like the Aces had during the regular season, they added to it in the top of the seventh and eighth innings.
With two outs, Red Wing’s No. 9 hitter, Garner, fouled off several pitches on a 2-2 count before depositing a single in left field to score two runs to make it 7-2 in the seventh.
“That kind of gave us that insurance and the cushion that we need in every game,” Gibart said. “That’s what we’ve been doing, finding a way to get that extra run in the middle innings and that leads to the victories that we’ve been getting.”
In the eighth inning Ryan Boldt singled to start the inning, reached second on a sacrifice bunt and stole third off Hawks catcher and high school teammate David Goggin. Goggin had thrown Boldt out trying steal second base in the third inning. Boldt came around to score on an error at third base and made it an 8-2 game.
Steve Boldt got the start, just his third of the season, and went 7 1/3 innings. Boldt gave up four runs on seven hits, walked four and struck out five. Boldt ran into few problems the first seven innings but Hastings started to get to him in the eighth.
After a flyout to start the eighth, Goggin singled and Christian Abilla was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Jordan Warren came on in relief of Boldt and gave up an RBI double to Drew Bensen and Mark Moriority grounded out to make it an 8-4 game, but that’s all Hastings got.
Boldt, who normally plays in the outfield, threw 125 pitches in 7 1/3 innings, but gave the Aces the kind of start they needed to advance in the playoffs.
“He threw 125 pitches and every one of them he was challenging guys,” Gibart said. “It’s nice to have an outfielder like that.”
The Aces will face the winner of the Dundas-Elko game, which was suspended Wednesday because of rain, Friday on the road. A win would clinch a spot in the Super Sectional. If Red Wing loses Friday they will play Sunday.
“We knew we could do it,” Steve Boldt said. “We were in most the games, it’s just one or two innings blew up in our face. Now we’re closing games out and getting big hits with two outs. It’s kind of a total reversal from the regular season, but this is the time to do it.”