ST. CLOUD, Minn. - New London-Spicer played an airtight game and lost Saturday afternoon in the third-round of the Class C Minnesota State Baseball playoffs.
But the Irish played flawless ball, too, and took away a 2-0 victory to advance to Sunday's quarterfinal round at the MAC to play the Howard Lake Orphans.
"We had our chances but we just couldn't string any hits together," said catcher Kevin Soine, who had two of the Twins' 7 hits against Green Isle's bull-shouldered righthander Mac Zachow. "It's not how many hits you get, it's when you get them."
Indeed. the Twins outhit the Irish 7 to 4 but got only two baserunner's as far as second.
Zachow, a town-team veteran, didn't walk a Twin and fanned 9. He hit one batter. Two double plays in the early innings doused budding rallies.
Tyler Horning had two hits but fanned twice, also, while handling five chances in the field. "He wasn't overpowering but he hit his spots and changed speeds," Horning said of Zachow.
Brent Mergen, the Twins' draftee off the Farming club, pitched equally well.
The lefty fanned four and walked two, but Pat Moriarty, burly as an Irish bartender, took Mergan deep in the over the right-field ivy in the second inning. It turned out to be the only run Zachow needed.
The Irish added a second run in the fourth on a walk, a sac, an infield hit and an RBI ground out.
From the fifth inning on Mergen and the Twins' defense allowed only two baserunners and neither got as far as second.
But Zachow had plenty to work as he, too, got stronger in the 70-degree sunshine as the well-paced game moved into the late innings. It was Zachow's second complete game of the tourney.
"I couldn't be more proud of our guys," said Twins' manager Jamie Scheevel. "I'm not disappointed. We faced a tough pitcher. We just didn't get the one hit we needed."
As one Twin noted it's hard to string together three or four hits against a pitcher like that who doesn't walk and a defense that doesn't make mistakes.
Besides Soine and Horning with two hits each, Mike Danielson, Jack Schwaegerl and Ben Kulset each singled.
Soine drove six hours from college in Des Moines each weekend to play. "This was just awesome," said the Twins catcher. It was so much fun and this is a great group of guys."
Jake Rambow made some fine plays at short as did Jake Damhof in centerfield. Scott Rambow, cousin to Jake, hit a towering fly to the warning track in right field that the southeast wind tamed just enough for Zach Herd to camp under.
NLS was making its third appearance of this century. And, of course, the legendary Spicer 9 made the state tourney in 1933, the 10th year of the amateur state tournament.