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Prep Baseball: Willmar edges Buffalo, upended by New Prague

(Tribune photo by Rand Middleton) Willmar pitcher Damon Ruter can't come up with a throw to prevent a New Prague run in the second inning at Baker Field after his catcher, Trey Tollefson, recovered a wild pitch Saturday in Willmar. Ruter was the losing pitcher, but had a better day at the plate going 2-for-2.

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Cardinals went 1-1 in a baseball triangular at Baker Field on Saturday in ideal baseball weather.

Willmar twice staged comeback rallies in last-chance at bats to tip Buffalo 5-4 in 9 innings.

Against New Prague, Willmar pitching couldn't hold a 4-4 tie and watched the Trojans bound away 11-5 behind a seven-run sixth inning.

Now 2-1, the Cardinals are slated to host the Hutchinson Tigers (3-1) today at 5 p.m.

Game One

Willmar 5, Buffalo 4

Willmar scored twice in the bottom the seventh to send the game into overtime tied 2-2.

The Bison posted two runs in the top of the ninth off Adam Nibaur for a 4-2 lead.

Willmar, which won its opener against Sartell on Thursday with a last-ditch rally, was again in its element.

Tyler Stegeman led off the ninth with a walk and with one out Brandon Christenson also drew a pass. Trey Tollefson was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Dean Stier's grounder to third allowing Stegeman and Christenson to score tied the game 4-4. Jason Gunvalson followed with a bad-hop single over the shortstop's head to plate Tollefson with the winning run.

Nibaur, who got Thursday's save, got the win this time. The sophomore allowed three hits and two runs in three innings.

Starter Josh Warne threw six good innings permitting four hits, two runs, two walks with three strikeouts.

Willmar also put together three walks in the seventh to kindle the game-tying rally. A ground-ball out by Jason Gunvalson provided one run and a shortstop error on Tony McCleary's ground ball brought in the tying run.

Buffalo 000 002 002 -- 4 7 3

Willmar 000 000 203 -- 5 7 2

HITTING - Buffalo: Jason Senger 1-for-2, 2 rbi; JD O'Donnell 1-for-5, rbi; Nick Mattson 1-for-4, rbi; Mitch Annis 1-for-4, Andy Iverson 1-for-4 ... Willmar: Tony McCleary 1-for-3, 2b, rbi; Trey Tollefson 1-for-3, sac; Jason Gunvalson 2-for-4, rbi; Josh Pehrson 1-for-3, Cole Christenson 1-for-3, Cole Hagen 1-for-3

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Buffalo: JD O'Donnell 7-4-2-0-7-5, Mitch Annis (L) 2-3-3-3-2-1 ... Willmar: Josh Warne 6-4-2-2-2-3, Adam Nibaur (W) 3-3-2-2-2-2

Game Two

New Prague 11, Willmar 5

With the game tied 4-4, the Trojans scored seven runs in the bottom of the fifth. Four walks, a hit batter and a pair of two-run doubles by Erik Wagner and Ben Doerr did the damage.

Willmar starter Damon Ruter struggled with his control pitching into the fifth before giving way to Josh Pehrson and Brandon Christenson.

Hits were equal at eight apiece but the Trojans benefited from nine free passes and four hit batters, plus several wild pitches.

Christenson's two-run double to the cap in right-center during a three-run fourth was the hitting highlight for the Cardinals (2-1). Ruter and Jason Gunvalson each had two hits.

Willmar 010 301 0 -- 5 8 0

New Prague 130 070 x-- 11 8 2

HITTING - Willmar: Dean Stier 1-for-3, Jason Gunvalson 2-for-3, 2 runs; Cole Christenson 1-for-1, Tyler Stegeman 1-for-2, rbi, sac; Brandon Christenson 1-for-2, 3 rbi; Damon Ruter 2-for-2, 2 runs ... New Prague: Erik Wagner 1-for-4, 2b,3 rbi; Jake Molitor 1-for-2, rbi; Andy Simon 2-for-3; Ben Doerr 2-for-4, 3 rbi

PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Willmar: Damonn Ruter (L) 4-4-6-6-7-0, Josh Pehrson 0.1-1-4-4-2-0, B. Christenson 1.2-3-1-1-0-3 ... New Prague: Garrett Palmstein (W) 6-8-5-4-2-7