Willmar wins with late rally
COLD SPRING -- Pitching, defense and a little bit of luck helped Willmar edge Rocori 3-2 Tuesday in Central Lakes Conference baseball action.
Trailing 2-1 in the top of the seventh inning with one out and a runner at second base, Rocori (3-1, 3-1) chose to walk Jordan Smith intentionally. But Alec Saunders made the Spartans pay with a double to left field to score Austin Adamson with the tying run. John Saw-atzky's single one batter later gave the Cardinals (3-1, 5-2) the go-ahead run.
Smith then retired three Rocori batters in the seventh inning on ground ball outs to earn the win.
Smith allowed just five hits in a complete-game effort and contributed defensively with two run-saving plays to keep Rocori from reaching the plate.
In the fourth inning, Smith fielded a ball that bounced off of Sawatzky, the Cardinals' catcher. Smith retrieved the ball and relayed it back to Sawatzky in time to catch Chris Lardy at the plate.
Then in the sixth, Smith fielded a ground ball with a runner at second base and instead of getting the force out at first, caught the lead runner at third. The play ended up holding the Spartans to two runs.
Sawatzky went 3-for-4 to lead the Cardinals.
Willmar 3, Rocori 2
Willmar 000 001 2 -- 3 6 2
Rocori 000 002 0 -- 2 5 0
HITTING - Willmar: Alec Saunders 1-for-4, 2b, rbi; John Sawatzky 3-for-4, rbi; Jake Oesterich 1-for-4, 2 sb's; Adam Fagerstrom 1-for-3 ... Rocori: Adam Backes 1-for-4; Eric Loxtercamp 1-for-3; Chris Lardy 2-for-3, 2 sb's; Scott Willenbring 1-for-3, 2 rbi
PITCHING (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Willmar: Jordan Smith (W) 7-5-2-2-2-6 ... Rocori: Mathias Butala 5Xc-4-1-1-4-4; Scott Willenbring (L) Zc-2-2-2-2-0