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Meeting for seventh time in 2011, Saints tip Rockets for 11C title

Sacred Heart's Jeremy Hinderks carried a one-hitter into the ninth innings Saturday against Raymond at Eden Valley. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton.

By Rand Middleton

EDEN VALLEY -- It may be the area's best rivalry -- when Sacred Heart and Raymond go head-to-head.

The teams met twice on the final weekend of the Region 11C amateur baseball playoffs, each winning once.

Raymond won 2-1 in 10 innings on Saturday evening stamping their passport to Brownton and the Class C state tournament starting Saturday.

That tied the Cornbelt rivals at three-wins apiece in head-on meeting.

The Cold Spring Rockies were still in the Saints path after the Rockies eliminated Milroy 11-9 late Saturday.

With a state spot at stake, the Saints shaded the Rockies 2-1 relying on the arm of Adam Loe Sunday afternoon.

That set up a Game 7 this summer between the Rockets and Saints, the outcome determining state seeding.

This time is was Sacred Heart winning 5-3, the Rockets' stranding the tying run at first in the bottom of the ninth.

The Saints will play Region 16B runner-up Pelican Rapids at 4 p.m. Saturday, in Brownton.

Raymond plays 16A top seed Brandon-Evansville at 7:30, also in Brownton.

Opening weekend games are also being played in Glencoe and Hutchinson.

The Rockets Jordon Smith was selected Tournament MVP. Region 11C media steward Matt Pennertz said it was close with Jeremy Hinderks of Sacred Heart and Kyle Knott of Raymond also worthy.

Pennertz pointed out in two wins on the hill, Smith allowed two runs, one earned, over 18 innings and didn't give up a walk. He also hit well and started the game-winning rally on Saturday and scored the game-ending run in the winner's bracket final that guaranteed a state berth.

The same two teams went to state last year out of the old 9C alignment, also with Sacred the top seed.

Region 11C final

Sacred Heart 5, Raymond 3

Was Jeremy Hinderks making a statement after Saturday evening's extra-inning loss to the Rockets.

The slugger went 4-for-5 with two solo home runs and knocked in four of his team's five runs.

The losing pitcher on Saturday also retook the mound to get the last out -- getting Kyle Knott -- his Saturday nemeses -- to fly out to left with the tying run on first base.

Nate Hebrink went the first seven innings to get the win allowing seven hits and two runs. Losing pitcher Tyler Knott threw seven innings giving up 11 hits and five runs, four earned.

Kyle Knott finished with three hit for the second game in a row.

Tyler Kleinhuizen went 3-for-5 for the Saints.

Sacred Heart 101 02 100 -- 5 12 1

Raymond 000 011 001 -- 3 10 2

HITTING - Sacred Heart: Ryan Hebrink 2-for-4, Tyler Kleinhuizen 3-for-5, Nate Hebrink 1-for-4, Jeremy Hinderks 4-for-5, 2 solo HR, 4 rbi; Mike Kuschel 1-for-4, Mike Johnnson 1-for-4 ... Raymond: Tyler Steen 2-for-4, Jordan Smith 2-for-5, 2b, rbi; Kyle Knott 3-for-5, 2b, rbi; Jordan Daugherty 1-for-4, Jordan Ruter 1-for-2, Justin Koenen 1-for-3

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Sacred Heart: Nate Hebrink (W) 7-7-2-2-2-4, Matt Koenen 1Xc-3-1-1-2-1, Jeremy Hinderks (S) Zc-0-0-0-0-0 ... Raymond: Tyler Knott (L) 7-11-5-4-3-7, Tyler Kanten 2-1-0-0-1-0

Elimination final

Sacred Heart 2, Rockies 1

The result propelled the Saints to state a second year in a row. Adam Loe threw all nine inning allowing six hits and walking two. He won a pitcher's dual with John Rossman, who allowed five hits and walked four.

Tied 1-1 in the fifth, Mike Kueschel's two-out single chased in Kleinhuizen from second. Kleinhuizen had walked and advanced to second when Hinderks also drew a walk off Rossman.

Hinderks' RBI single in the third tied the game 1-1.

Cold Sp. Rockies ...001 000 000-- 1 6 0

Sacred Heart 001 010 00x-- 2 5 1

HITTING - Cold Spring Rockies: Davis Jonas 2-for-4, rbi; Ryan Bell 2-for-3 ... Sacred Heart: Nate Hebrink 1-for-3, 2b; Jeremy Hinderks 1-for-3, rbi; Mike Kueschel 1-for-4, rbi; Dakota Freiborg 2-for-4

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Cold Spring Rockies: John Rossman (L) 8-5-2-2-4-2 ... Sacred Heart: Adam Loe (W) 9-6-1-1-2-6

Saturday results

Elimination semifinal

Milroy 4, Bird Island 0

Josh Hadley fanned 14 Frogs and had to extinguish only a single Bird Island threat.

In the bottom of the sixth trailing 1-0, the Bullfrogs loaded the bases with one out but Hadley got clean-up hitter Tyler Hebrink to ground into a double play with shortstop Eric Dolan making the twist.

The Yankees scored three in their next at bat. Matt Bauer's second double of the game drove in a pair of runs and Dave Schmidt doubled in another.

Milroy 010 000 300 -- 4 11 0

Bird Island 000 000 000 -- 0 5 1

HITTING - Milroy: Matt Bauer 2-for-4, 2 2bs, 2 rbi; Andy Schmidt 2-for-4, Chris Eichten 1-for-2, Eric Dolan 1-for-4, rbi; Brian Dolan 2-for-3, Josh Hadley 1-for-5, Justin Schlemmer 1-for-4, 2b; Dave Schmidt 1-for-4, 2b, rbi ... Bird Island: Mark Neubauer 2-3, 2b; Brad Gass 1-for-4, Andy Stevens 1-for-3, Ben Maiers 1-for-3

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Milroy: Josh Hadley (W) 9-5-0-0-4-14 ... Bird Island: Jesse Bjur (L) 4-6-1-1-1-2, Cody Fruin 2Zc-1-3-3-5-2, Brad Gass 2Xc-4-0-0-0-1

Winner's bracket final

Raymond 2, Sacred Heart 1

A terrific game played out in the evening sun with late-inning drama to boot.

Hinderks subdued the Rockets' hitter through eight innings giving up just a hit and no runs.

Though the Saints had eight hits, Raymond's Jordan Smith was equally tough and appeared to be getting stronger in the latter innings.

Protecting a 1-0 lead since the fifth inning, Hinderks got Mike Jeseritz to fly to left leading off the bottom of the ninth.

That brought up clean-up hitter Kyle Knott, who had the only hit so far off Hinderks, a double off the yellow-tubing capping the left-field wall. This time, Knott singled.

Jason Meyer followed with a shot to the gap in deep right-center. Centerfielder Trent Novotny made a leaping over-the-shoulder catch but the ball exploded out of the webbing of his glove. Knott ended up on third and Meyer at second on a two-base error.

Zach Nelson, the Rockets' DH, then sent a blooper over the head of first-baseman Ross Hebrink allowing Knott to score the tying run.

Smith put the Saints down in order in the top of the 10th.

The Raymond pitcher singled in the bottom of the 10th with one out. Jeseritz bunted him to second, then Knott drilled his third hit of the game to right center allowing Smith to beat the throw and end the game.

Hinderks gave up six hits, walked four and fanned six.

The run in the fifth off Smith was unearned. The right-hander fanned eight.

"My legs were getting kind of tired in the later innings and I was relying more on location," he said. "If we lost we'd have to play two (on Sunday), and I was hoping we wouldn't have to do that."

Sacred Heart 000 010 000 0 -- 1 8 1

Raymond 000 000 001 1 -- 2 6 2

HITTING - Sacred Heart: Nate Hebrink 1-for-4, Jeremy Hinderks 1-for-4, Dakota Freiborg 2-for-4, Tom Lippert 1-for-4, Ross Hebrink 1-for-4, rbi; Mike Johnson 1-for-4, Mike Kueschel 1-for-4 ... Raymond: Kyle Knott 3-for-5, 2b, rbi; Jordan Smith 1-for-5, Michael Johnson 1-for-4, Zach Nelson 1-for-4

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Sacred Heart: Jeremy Hinderks (L) 9Xc-6-2-1-4-6 ... Raymond: Jordan Smith (W) 10-8-1-0-0-8

Region 15C

SPICER -- The Elrosa Saints ended the Norway Lake-Sunburg season 5-2 on Saturday afternoon at Green Lake Diamond.

The Saints' Ethan Vogt and the Lakers' Chris Braaten, both ex-Ridgewater College hurlers, each went the distance.

Vogt gave up nine hits, walked two and fanned eight. Braaten was touched for eight hits, walked only one and struck out five.

The Lakers didn't commit an error in the field but Vogt picked off two base runners and a third was thrown out at third base on a single to right.

Matt Middendorf homered to left in the first and the Saints' added three in the third, Braaten's only shaky inning.

NL-Sunburg got two back in the sixth, both runs scoring on a bases-loaded ground and a throwing error by Middendorf trying to turn a double play.

Aaron Zimmer, James Cortez and Jonah Johnson each singled twice for the Sunnies.

Lake Henry defeated Spring Hill 5-2 to finish the region unbeaten. Spring Hill crushed Elrosa 13-3 in the elimination final earlier on Sunday.

Elrosa 5, NL-Sunburg 2

Elrosa 103 001 000 -- 5 8 2

NL-Sunburg 000 002 000 -- 2 9 0

HITTING - Elrosa: Matt Middendorf 2-for-4, 2 runs, solo HR; Ethan Vogt 2-for-4, 2 runs; Pat Illies 2-for-3, rbi; Steve Mueller 1-for-3, rbi; Kevin Kuefler 1-for-4 ... Norway Lake-Sunburg: Aaron Zimmer 2-for-4, James Cortez 2-for-4, Jonah Johnson 2-for-4, Justin Johnson 1-for-3, Chris Braaten 1-for-4

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Elrosa: Ethan Vogt (W) 9-9-2-2-2-8... Norway Lake-Sunburg: Chris Braaten (L) 9-8-5-5-1-5