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Amateur Baseball: Norway Lake-Sunburg wins County Line playoffs on infield single in 9th

(Tribune photo by Rand Middleton) Norway Lake-Sunburg Lakers second baseman Nate Schlagel tags out Atwater Chuckers' Justin Schroeder attempting to take second in the fifth inning on a play at the plate Sunday at Sunburg in the championship game of the County Line League Playoffs.

SUNBURG -- Norway Lake-Sunburg completed an impressive march through the County Line League playoff bracket by nudging Atwater 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday.

Atwater already had assured its spot in the Region 15C playoffs by decking Starbuck in the early game Sunday at Willie Reigstad Field 13-2.

The second game determined region seeding and also crowned the Lakers as the County Line League Tournament champions for 2011.

The temperature was 87 degrees in the shade and perhaps 10 degrees over that on the sandy infield. Atwater, whose bench had only two reserves the second game, held up well considering over five hours in the relentless sun with nary a breeze.

It was so hot each team rotated catchers but battled to the end. Atwater led 5-3 after seven.

With two outs in the ninth, the Lakers' Chris Braaten scored the game-ending run racing in from third base as Jonah Johnson beat out an infield grounder in a bang-bang play at first.

Braaten's double had driven in Aaron Zimmer to tie the score 5-5.

Atwater put together a three-run fifth to take a two-run lead. NL-Sunburg got one back in the eighth.

Jonah Johnson pitched five innings of two-hit relief for the win. He allowed one run, walked one and fanned three Chuckers. Drained by the heat, Lakers' starter Grant Johnson took himself out in the fifth, though he remained a factor at the plate with four hits.

Jordan Tanner took the loss in relief of Vance Martin, who was hit in the ankle by a comebacker in the fourth inning and had to leave the game.

Justin Schroeder drove in two runs for the Chucker and Matt Tanner had two hits, one driving in a run.

There was a scary moment when the bat slipped from the grasp of Lakers' hitter Grant Johnson in the seventh and struck James Cortez, his on-deck teammate, in the temple just below the helmet rim.

Cortez fell to the ground blood oozing from a cut. The Lakers' catcher recovered in about five minutes and took his at bat.

The Lakers drafted Jon Hoffman from Starbuck while the Chuckers picked up Austen Hadley from Paynesville.

The Region 15C playoffs will be in Spicer. Atwater will play at 10:30 p.m. and NL-Sunburg at 1:30 p.m. next Saturday.

NL-Sunburg 6, Atwater 5

Atwater 200 030 000 -- 5 6 1

NL-Sunburg 003 000 012 -- 6 12 2

HITTING - Atwater: B.J. Kingery 1-for-3, 2 runs; Josh Cunningham 1-for-4, 2 runs; Matt Tanner 2-for-3, rbi; Justin Schroeder 1-for-3, 2 rbi; Zach Cunningham 1-for-4, rbi ... Norway Lake-Sunburg: Grant Johnson 4-for-5, Jordan Johnson 1-for-4, Aaron Zimmer 1-for-5, rbi; Kent Gjerde 2-for-3, rbi; Chris Braaten 2-for-5, 2b, rbi; Chad Searcy 1-for-5, Jonah Johnson 1-for-3, rbi

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Atwater: Vance Martin 31/3-5-3-2-4-0, Jordan Tanner (L) 51/3-7-3-3-2-3 ... Norway Lake-Sunburg: Grant Johnson 4-4-4-3-3-1, Jonah Johnson (W) 5-2-1-1-1-3

Atwater 13, Starbuck 2

Under a blazing sun, the Atwater bats sizzled sparking 14 hits and allowing B.J. Kingery to cruise on the hill on a five-hitter.

Zach Cunningham and Jeff Peterson each had three hits and combined for seven RBIs. Matt Tanner hit a two-run homer.

Starbuck 002 000 0 -- 2 5 4

Atwater 022 315 x --13 14 2

HITTING - Starbuck: Zach Lagred 2-for-4, Shane Bosek 2-for-3, rbi; Taylor Kollman 1-for-2 ... Atwater: Josh Cunningham 1-for-4, 2b; Matt Tanner 2-for-4, 3 rbi, 2-run HR; Justin Schroeder 2-for-3, rbi; Matt Lilleberg 2-for-4, rbi; Zach Cunningham 3-for-3, 4 rbi; Vance Martin 1-for-1, Jeff Peterson 3-for-4, 3 rbi, 2 2b's

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Starbuck: Taylor Kollman (L) 3-6-6-4-2-1, Andy Toop 2-3-4-4-2-1, Corey Holden 1-5-3-3-0-0 ... Atwater: B.J. Kingery (W) 7-5-2-1-2-4

Saturday's games

Atwater 3, Paynesville 2

The winning run was scored by Ryan Walsh with two outs in the bottom of the ninth on a wild pitch.

Justin Schroeder threw a six-hitter with three walks and eight strikeouts for Atwater. His mound opponent, Aaron Savelkoul, allowed five hits, walked nine and fanned five.

Lucas Pickle and Matt Tanner had RBI hits for the Chuckers.

Brett Savelkoul had two hits and an RBI and Jordan Haag also had an RBI for Paynesville.

Paynesville 000 100 010 -- 2 6 0

Atwater 100 000 101 -- 3 5 1

HITTING - Paynesville: Aaron Savelkoul 1-for-4, Jamie Paul 1-for-4, Keagan Meagher 1-for-2, Brett Savelkoul 2-for-3, rbi; Jordan Haag 1-for-4, rbi ... Atwater: B.J. Kingery 1-for-2, 2b, 3 bb's; Lucas Pickle 1-for-2, 2b, rbi; Josh Cunningham 1-for-3, Matt Tanner 1-for-4, rbi; Zach Cunningham 1-for-4

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Paynesville: Aaron Savelkoul (L) 82/3-5-3-3-9-5 ... Atwater: Justin Schroeder (W) 9-6-2-2-3-8

NL-Sunburg 13, Starbuck 6

Chad Searcy singled, doubled and slugged a three-run homer, James Cortez went 4-for-5 and Grant Johnson also homered as the Lakers assured their slot in regions.

Chris Braaten threw six innings for the win.

NL-Sunburg 030 051 130 --13 19 4

Starbuck 000 033 000 -- 6 10 1

HITTING - Norway Lake-Sunburg: Justin Johnson 2-for-6, rbi; Grant Johnson 2-for-5, solo HR, rbi; James Cortez 4-for-5, 2b, rbi; Jordan Johnson 1-for-5, Aaron Zimmer 3-for-4, 4 runs, 2 rbi; Chris Braaten 1-for-5, Chad Searcy 3-for-4, 2b, 3-run HR, 4 rbi; Jonah Johnson 3-for-5, 3 rbi ... Starbuck: Ryan Ganderud 1-for-4, rbi; Joe Alexander 2-for-4, Zach Lagred 1-for-5, Mike Andreas 1-for-3, Matt Daniels 1-for-3, 2b, rbi; Chad Andreas 2-for-4, 2 runs, Taylor Kollman 2-for-3, 2b, 2 rbi

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Norway Lake-Sunburg: Chris Braaten (W) 6-9-6-3-1-4, Nate Schlagel (S) 3-1-0-0-2-4 ... Starbuck: Jon Hoffman (L) 42/3-9-8-8-3-5, Nick Sutton 22/3-7-5-4-0-1, Corey Holden 12/3-3-0-0-0-1