State Baseball: 'One bad inning' costs Randolph at state tournament
JORDAN -- Fighting his control, and maybe some nerves as well, Randolph’s Andrew Wenstrom couldn’t make it out of the third inning. The Rocket pitcher began the inning with a strikeout, but the inning turned disastrous as Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg scored eight runs on six hits and two errors.
It was enough to knock Wenstrom out of the game, and the fifth-seeded Saints added two more in the fourth en route to a 10-0 win over the fourth-seeded Rockets on Thursday at the Mini Met in Jordan.
“We haven't played like that at all (this year),” said Randolph head coach Chris Stanton. “One bad inning.”
In that third inning, Saints leadoff man Weston Gjerde singled, Dylan Rudningen singled and Regan Carlson followed with a walk to load the bases. Then Isaac Call drove in a run on a single and Christian Diederich drove in two on a single to left. With runners on the corners, Saints pitcher Alex Call bunted in a run on a safety squeeze. Cade Melin then reached on an error and Levi Sweere singled in a run.
With eight consecutive batters reaching safely, Stanton pulled Wenstrom.
Noah Thorson came to bat with the bases loaded against the new Randolph pitcher, Joel Gehrke. Thorson, the 10th batter of the inning, singled in a run. Another run came across to score on a wild pitch with the bases loaded. Gjerde drove in the eighth and final run of the third on a sacrifice fly to center field.
“Sometimes you just don't have it,” Stanton said about Wenstrom. “That's alright, we're here. We'll see what we can do tomorrow.”
The Rockets got its first hit and baserunner in the third inning. Isaac Stoesz led off with a single, but was picked off first and tagged out in a rundown between first and second base. Two batters later, Brandon Gerster walked and was picked off first for the final out of the inning.
Stanton said such mental mistakes like getting picked off while trailing big was frustrating. The Rockets don’t make mistakes like that, he said.
“They were all anxious,” Stanton said. “They were all nervous, being here for the first time with the big crowds, which is weird because usually when we play in Cannon Falls it's kind of the same feeling.”
The Saints had starter Alex Call pitch two innings and reliever Regan Carlson, another lefty, pitch the final three innings. Between the two Saints pitchers, the Rockets managed just three hits and a walk.
“The guys said (Call) had a nice tail on his fastball,” Stanton said when asked how difficult it was to hit Call and his pitch mix. “We don't see a lot of lefties that throw hard.We'll learn from it.”
Stanton said the nervousness should wear off by tomorrow when the Rockets play Sebeka at 10 a.m. at Chaska Athletic Park. A win would put the Rockets into the consolation championship game later Friday at 3 p.m.
“We still have to get our first win here and we still have something to fight for,” Stanton said. “You have to win two tomorrow to get the consolation championship. That's what we're shooting for now.”