Town Ball: A state victory is out of reach for Regal Eagles
St. Patrick scores four late to beat Regal in Class C opener at Milroy
MILROY — All Regal and St. Patrick wanted was that crooked number to go up on the board.
With both the Eagles and Irish throwing their aces, offense came at a premium for both squads in the opening round of the Class C state amateur baseball tournament Sunday.
With a leadoff single to start the bottom of the eighth, St. Patrick got its opening. And they got that crooked number that put the Irish over the top.
Putting together four runs on four hits, including a Kyle Rhodus RBI single and a three-run home run from Matt Ambroz, the Irish advanced with a 5-1 victory.
“We had a few opportunities and had a couple guys in scoring position a couple different times early,” said Eagles first baseman/manager Nathan Beier. “We just couldn’t come up with that clutch hit. It would have been nice to get a couple runs and the lead. It was a battle; both pitchers pitched damn good.”
For Regal, starter Chris Beier kept the Irish off-kilter with throws around the diamond. He registered six strikeouts over 7-2/3 innings, and had two pickoff throws when St. Patrick tried to get aggressive on the base paths. The bottom of the second saw Ambroz lead off with a single, eventually reaching second after Ryan Friedges was hit by a pitch. Instead of throwing to the batter, Chris made the pickoff throw to second into the waiting glove of shortstop Jordan Beier, who tagged Ambroz for the final out.
“They got a good feel for each other and it’s a really good timing play,” Nathan Beier said of the second-base pickoff. “When it’s executed right, it’s deadly.”
Regal right fielder Blake Karsch flashed his glove in the first, making a diving catch on a ball that looked like a certain multi-base hit from Rhodus.
“I thought I wasn’t going to be there in time but it was just floating,” Karsch said. “It was perfect.”
As strong as Regal’s fielding was, St. Patrick’s defense was just as stout. The Eagles had runners in scoring position in both the third and fourth innings, only to have nothing to show for it. And, the Irish ended the fifth and sixth innings with double plays.
“We hit the ball. We made contact. We just couldn’t find those gaps,” Karsch said. “All it takes is one inning and we were down.”
St. Patrick starter Collin Denk, who is a sophomore pitcher for Minnesota State-Mankato, struck out seven, giving up eight hits and one walk in a complete-game victory.
“His fastball has enough velocity on it, his breaking pitches are both pretty good, he has good control and throws a lot of strikes,” Nathan Beier said of Denk. “You can’t just sit and rip on whatever. He keeps you honest. (He’s a) good pitcher.”
Karsch had the most success against Denk, going 2-for-3 and scoring the Eagles’ lone run in the top of the second on a Derek Dengerud two-out single.
“I knew he was going to throw his slider or his off-speed after 0-1 or 0-2, so I tried to get on him right away,” Karsch said. “It seemed to work out a little bit. His slider is amazing.”
St. Patrick will face the Rochester Roadrunners at 2 p.m. Saturday in Springfield.
Regal concludes the season with a 10-7 record.
“In the beginning, I wouldn’t have thought we had the caliber (of team) this year to get here,” Karsch said. “Once regions hit, we turned it up.”
St. Patrick 5,
Regal 010 000 000-1 8 1
St. Patrick 001 000 04x-5 9 0
Hitting - Regal: Jordan Beier 1-4, Josh Beier 1-3 hbp, Nathan Meyer 1-4 2b, Blake Karsch 2-3 r bb, Shane Rademacher 1-3 sac, Nathan Beier 1-4, Derek Dengerud 1-4 rbi … St. Patrick: Jack Friedges 2-4 r-2 sb, Kyle Rhodus 1-4 r rbi, Matt Ambroz 2-4 r rbi-3 hr, Jordan Goracke 2-4, Ryan Friedges 0-2 hbp, Zak Endres 2-3 r, Jace Westman 0-2 sac
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) - Regal: Chris Beier (L) 7.2-9-5-1-0-6, Rademacher 0.1-0-0-0-0-0 … St. Patrick: Collin Denk (W) 9-8-1-1-1-7
Here are results from the first weekend of the state Class C amateur baseball tournament in Milroy and Springfield:
Foley 8, Hanska 7, 11 innings
Randall 4, Hadley 3
Union Hill 13, Avon 7
Luverne 5, Mora 3
Buffalo 8, Fort Ripley 1
Lake Henry 3, Midway 1
Waconia 8, Cannon Falls 0
Watkins 3, Howard Lake 0
Watertown 5, Red Wing 2
Cold Spring 12, Starbuck 1, 8 innings
Dilworth 5, St. Clair 3
Maple Lake 15, Alexandria 2
St. Patrick 5, Regal 1
Carver 14, Clinton 2
Gaylord 5, St. Martin 0
Prior Lake 13, New Ulm 10