Amateur baseball roundup: Willmar Rails live to see another day
Amateur baseball report for Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in west central Minnesota. Willmar needs 13 innings to beat Paynesville Pirates and stave off elimination in 4C
SPICER — The Willmar Rails were looking to wrap up a victory in the Region 4C tournament in a brisk 20 minutes.
Willmar led the Paynesville Pirates 7-6 going into the bottom of the eighth inning on Sunday before rain suspended play to Monday. All the Rails needed were six outs.
“I was definitely expecting a fresh (Christian) Lessman to shut them down, get six outs, get out of here in 20 minutes and drink some beer,” manager Dustin Overcash admitted.
“But that didn’t happen.”
Instead, Willmar and Paynesville needed 13 innings to decide a winner.
A pair of home runs in the top of the 13th extended the Rails’ season with a 12-7 victory at Green Lake Diamonds.
With the win, Willmar plays Atwater at 11 a.m. Saturday at Spicer in another elimination game.
“Unbelievable, that’s all I really got to say,” Overcash said.
Willmar was one out away from sealing the win in nine innings before a heads-up play by the Pirates’ Grayson Fuchs sent the game into extras. On a 2-2 count, a close pitch was called for a ball, extending the count and leading to a slow throw back to the mound. Fuchs took off for the plate and stole home for the game-tying run.
“That one’s definitely on me,” said Willmar catcher Ashton Gregory. “I need to be checking third and I didn’t. My bad.”
Four innings later, Gregory redeemed himself.
Caleb Owens led the 13th off with a single, then got to second on a sacrifice bunt from Zach Reierson. Christian Lessman hit a single that seemed destined to bring in a run before Owens slipped in the grass around third, keeping him on the base as Gregory stepped into the batter’s box.
“We still got the runner on first and the risk of a double play is always in the back of your mind,” Gregory said. “But you got to stick to your guns and go up there confident.”
Gregory, a 2020 Willmar High School grad, drove a pitch by Paynesville’s Luke Johnson down the third-base line for a three-run home run to put the Rails ahead 10-7.
“He just gave me a fastball middle-in, just how I like it,” Gregory said. Combined with Sunday’s efforts, he finished the game 3-for-6 with two home runs and four RBIs.
Two batters later, Ian Koosman put another ball over the wall with a two-run shot to left-center. He was 3-for-6 with three runs and two RBIs.
“We rarely get a home run and we got three in this one,” Overcash said. “We’ll need those bats this week when we play Atwater and probably Josh Kingery.”
Patrick Courtney threw four scoreless innings of relief to get the win. He struck out two with four hits and no walks allowed.
“We just kept fighting,” Overcash said. “We kept getting the outs that we needed and no matter what the circumstances were, we kept playing hard.
“Just a good all-around effort by the guys to get the win.”
Willmar 12, Paynesville 7
Willmar 302 011 000 000 5-12 15 2
Paynesville 302 000 101 000 0-7 9 0
Hitting - Willmar: Zach Reierson 1-5 r bb sac, Christian Lessman 1-3 r-2 rbi bb hbp sb sf sac-2, Ashton Gregory 3-6 hr-2 r-3 rbi-4 bb, Jack Baumgart 2-6 r rbi-2 bb, Ian Koosman 3-6 hr 2b r-3 rbi-2 bb sb-2, Sam Etterman 3-7 2b rbi-3 sb, Caleb Owens 1-5 r-2 bb sb, Adam Herman 1-3 bb hbp … Paynesville: Grady Fuchs 2-7 rbi, Blake Vagle 1-6 2b bb, Garrett Leusink 3-6 hr r-2 rbi hbp, Grant Fuchs 1-3 r rbi, Abe Bullard 1-2 r bb-2 hbp-2, Drew Tangen 1-5 r rbi bb, Luke Johnson 0-7 r, Griffin Bjerke 0-2 rbi bb-4, Grayson Fuchs 0-3 r bb sb
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Willmar: Jayden Dierenfeld 3-3-5-2-5-4, Koosman 4-2-1-1-1-7, Lessman 2-0-1-1-3-0, Patrick Courtney (W) 4-4-0-0-0-2 … Paynesville: Bjerke 5-6-6-6-4-5, Bennett Evans 3-1-1-1-3-2, Johnson (L) 5-8-5-5-0-3
Milroy 11, NLS Twins 1
With the offense putting together 15 hits and pitcher Isaac Schmitt tallying 11 strikeouts, the Milroy Yankees knocked the New London-Spicer Twins out of the Region 4C playoffs in an elimination game over eight innings at Spicer.
Milroy plays Starbuck at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Spicer in another elimination game.
Alex Thompson paced Milroy’s offense, going 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. Andy Schmidt, Branden Flock, Aaron Mathiowetz, Jacob Hughes and Jackson Hughes all had two hits for the Yankees.
Schmitt gave up one run on five hits and no walks to obtain the victory.
Scott Rambow drove in NLS’ lone run with an RBI single in the top of the seventh. He finished 2-for-3.
NLS 000 000 10-1 5 3
Milroy 000 600 41-11 15 0
Hitting - NLS: Jake Rambow 1-3 hbp, Adam Schrader 1-4, Hunter Magnuson 1-3 2b r, Scott Rambow 2-3 rbi … Milroy: Andy Schmidt 2-5 2b-2 r, Branden Flock 2-4 r-2 bb, Aaron Mathiowetz 2-4 r-2 hbp, Brock Schultz 1-4 rbi hbp, Alex Thompson 3-5 r-2 rbi, Jacob Hughes 2-4 r-2 rbi, Jackson Hughes 2-3 2b r rbi-2 bb, Jake Tauer 1-4 r rbi, David Schmidt 0-4 rbi-2 bb
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - NLS: Ben Kulset (L) 3.2-8-4-4-2-3, Carson McCain 2.2-5-2-2-1-1, Mike Danielson 1-2-1-0-0-0 … Milroy: Isaac Schmitt (W) 8-5-1-1-0-11