MONTEVIDEO -- The age-old question of whether good pitching trumps good hitting, or vice versa, came out decidedly on the side of the arms on Saturday in the Morris Legion's District 7 championship duel with Eden Valley-Watkins.
One arm in particular.
Eden Valley-Watkins right-hander Hayden Wilner pitched 12 innings and won twice against Morris on Saturday and made EV-W a repeat champion in District 7, Division II.
Wilner allowed just four hits and no earned runs in EV-W's 5-2 victory in Saturday's first game, forcing a second, winner-take-all game in which he again took the mound against the top-seeded Post 29.
Wilner, allowed by rule to pitch up to five innings, did just that and was stronger the second time through the Morris lineup, giving up just two hits in a 1-0 victory that locked up the championship.
EV-W, which lost to Montevideo in the first round of the district Final Four, rebounded with losers' bracket wins over BOLD and Monte to advance to the championship game.
In the deciding game, Eden Valley-Watkins scored the game-winner early, when Kevin Kramer led off the game with a single, stole second base and later scored on Brandan Ashton's single. In EV-W's five tournament games, Ashton had 12 hits and at one point had reached base 13 times in 14 plate appearances.
After Wilner finally ran out of innings, EV-W reliever John Bautch set Morris down in order in the sixth and seventh innings to earn the save.
Chandler Erickson and Jordan Staples had Morris' two hits in the second game, not nearly enough offense to support pitcher Mac Beyer's strong outing. Beyer worked six innings, scattering eight hits while striking out four.
Morris' best chance to score came in the fourth when Erickson singled with one out to break up Wilner's no-hitter, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Tyler Henrichs walked with two outs, but EV-W's Bautch, then playing left field, made a nice running catch of Bryce Jergenson's sinking liner to end the inning and the threat.
In the first game, EV-W led by a run heading into the fourth and set Morris back on its heels with a three-run fourth. They took a 5-0 with a run in the fifth before Morris scored twice in the fifth thanks to some uncharacteristically sloppy EV-W defense.
Jacob Torgerson, Erickson, Henrichs and Staples had Morris' hits in the first game. Erickson took the loss.
Morris' Torgerson, Beyer and Tanner Picht were named to the all-tournament team. Torgerson had a pitching win and three hits, Beyer also won a game and had two hits, and Picht had three hits in tournament play.
EV-W, which won the Division II state and regional championships last year, advances to play the District 3 champion at 9:30 a.m. Friday in the first round of the state tournament in Sacred Heart.
Legion Distict 7 Championship
Eden Valley-Watkins 1, Morris 0
Morris 000 000 0 -- 0 2 0
EV-W 100 000 x -- 1 8 1
Hitting -- Morris: Chandler Erickson 1-for-3, Jordan Staples 1-for-3 ... Eden Valley-Watkins: Kevin Kramer 1-for-3 r, Mitch Geislinger 1-for-3, Brendan Ashton 3-for-3 rbi, Hayden Wilner 1-for-3, Bautch 1-for-3, Zach Schlangen 1-for-3.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Morris: Mac Beyer (L) 6-8-1-1-0-4 ... Eden Valley-Watkins: Wilner (W) 5-2-0-0-1-3, Bautch 2-0-0-0-0-0
Eden Valley-Watkins 5, Morris 2
EV-W 001 310 0 -- 5 10 2
Morris 000 000 0 -- 2 4 1
Hitting -- Eden Valley-Watkins: Kevin Kramer 1-for-4 r, Mitch Geislinger 2-for-3 rbi-2, Alex Geislinger 1-for-4, Brendan Ashton 1-for-4, Hayden Wilner 1-for-4, Garrett Warren 1-for-3 r, John Bautch 1-for-2 2b r, Travis Linn 2-for-3 2b rbi ... Morris: Tanner Picht 0-for-3 r, Jacob Torgerson 1-for-3, Chandler Erickson 1-for-3, Tyler Henrichs 1-for-2, Jordan Staples 1-for-3 r.
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Morris: Erickson (L) 7-10-5-4-0-3 ... Eden Valley-Watkins: Wilner (W) 7-4-2-0-3-5