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Amateur Baseball: Aces headed back to super sections

Led by Steve Boldt (17) and Adam Thygesen (7), the Red Wing Aces celebrate after beating Miesville 2-1 in Game 3 of the best-of-three Section 1B series. With the victory, Red Wing clinches a berth in the super section tournament.1 / 4
Aces’ starting pitcher Aaron Johnson winds up for a pitch. Johnson finished with 13 strikeouts in the victory.2 / 4
Miesville second baseman Jordan McGowan (left) tries to complete the double play while Red Wing's Zach Garner goes for a slide during Friday's Section 1B game at Jack Ruhr Field in Miesville.3 / 4
Miesville pitcher Erik Olson gets set for a pitch early in Friday's Section 1B game against Red Wing in Miesville.4 / 4

MIESVILLE – Once he got an edge, Aaron Johnson was going to do everything he could to put Red Wing in the super section. 

So when Jimmy Bohmbach put the Aces ahead of Miesville 2-1 with a two-run single in the sixth, Johnson took it upon him to shoulder the load.

“Once we got those two runs, I told myself, ‘I need to go out and keep it at one,’” Johnson said.

And in a performance that has become the norm for the lanky left-hander, Johnson mowed down the Mudhens with 13 strikeouts, putting the Aces past the rival Mudhens with a 2-1 victory Friday at Jack Ruhr Field.

“That was a classic pitcher’s duel between Aaron and Erik (Olson, Miesville’s starting pitcher),” said Aces’ co-manager Andy Gibart. “Jimmy comes up with the huge hit, and then with the one-run lead, Aaron comes up huge again. He really took control in those late innings.”

With the victory, Red Wing faces Dundas in the Section 1B seeding game at 8 p.m. today in Dundas. Super section seedings will be announced on Sunday.

“I really wanted this game,” Johnson said. “I was going to do anything I could to get us into the super section.”

Both teams were unable to get on the board until the third inning when Miesville’s Aaron Stein reached base on a wild pitch. After a sacrifice bunt by Jordan McGowan and a stolen base, Stein came home on a bloop single by Charles Bruchu. 

All the while, the Aces couldn’t solve Olson, who held Red Wing to two hits through the first five innings.

The Aces (32-7) finally got their break in the top of the sixth when Adam Thygesen led off with a single, then moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by Zach Garner. Steve Boldt followed with a single to put runners on first and third, setting up Bohmbach with two on. 

Then Boldt stole second base, putting Bohmbach at ease in the box. The Aces’ catcher/co-manager waited on a hanging curve by Olson, taking it to the right-field wall to score Thygesen and Boldt.

“Steve’s steal changed a lot in that at-bat,” Bohmbach said. “That relieved me a little bit and they couldn’t set up for the double play, which has been kind of a problem for me.”

Olson held Red Wing to seven hits and one walk while striking out three in the loss.

“We knew tonight would be a pitcher’s duel. Erik pitched a great game and one mistake makes the difference,” said Miesville center fielder/manager Matt Van Der Bosch. “It was a nice piece of hitting for Jimmy in that at-bat.”

After getting the lead, Johnson rolled through the Mudhens’ lineup, striking out eight while holding Miesville to one hit in the final four innings. 

After David Vogelgesang led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, Van Der Bosch tried to lay down a bunt. With the ball popped up on the bunt attempt, Johnson lunged for the ball, making a bare-handed grab before throwing out Vogelgesang at first for the double play.

“Aaron doubled up Vogelgesang, and then the biggest thing was getting a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth,” Bohmbach said. “He stepped up huge at the end.”

The failed bunt capped off a frustrating night for the Mudhens (21-9), who were 2-0 against Red Wing in games Johnson started in the regular season.

“We’ve beaten (Johnson) twice; we knew we could do it,” Van Der Bosch said. “I messed up the bunt and that cost us. … Hats off to Aaron Johnson for a great game. We didn’t do a good job of getting the hits we needed to.”

Clinging to the one-run lead, Johnson started the bottom of the ninth with two strikeouts, then got Bruchu to pop out to right field, putting the Aces in the super section.

“Olson’s one hell of a pitcher and I thought we’d need to get as many runs as we could against Miesville,” Johnson said. “Thank God all we needed was the two runs.”

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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