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Willmar rides pitching to VFW playoff win

WILLMAR -- Terrific pitching made up for sluggish offense and the Willmar VFW I team opened the postseason with a 3-0 win over Ortonville in a District 5 matchup Tuesday night.

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Willmar's Jon Broman lifts a fly ball in the first inning of Post 1639's District 5 playoff game with Ortonville Tuesday. Clay Cunningham / Tribune

WILLMAR -- Terrific pitching made up for sluggish offense and the Willmar VFW I team opened the postseason with a 3-0 win over Ortonville in a District 5 matchup Tuesday night.

The game seemed to turn in the second inning. After allowing the first two runners to reach base, Post 1639 starter Caleb Ditmarson fell behind Pet Treinen 3-1.

But after working the count full, Ditmarson forced Treinen to fly out to short, then struck out the next two batters to escape the jam unscathed.

Willmar proceeded to score twice in the inning’s bottom half. Zak Madsen had an RBI double, then scored on Jayden Dierenfeld single.

“It’s always nice to grab that early lead,” Post 1639 Coach Tom DeBoer said. “It can give you confidence and also keep the other team from getting the confidence they would need to come to your place and beat you.”

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From there, a three-man Willmar rotation took over. Ditmarson, Bryan Weidemann and Kaden Kesler-Gross combined on a two-hitter, with none of them working more than three innings.

DeBoer said he will likely let his starters work later into games going forward but was happy to have enough depth to keep guys fresh.

One thing he wasn’t happy about was Tuesday’s offensive showing.

After scoring 15 runs against the same Ortonville team just a week ago, Post 1639 struggled to duplicate that success, mustering just seven hits.

“It seemed like we didn't really get up for our opponent the way we should have,” DeBoer said. “Our guys just had an off night offensively.

“Sometimes it just happens like that,” he added. “I don’t see it being a problem going forward.”

Top-seeded Willmar, which has won 15 consecutive games, returns to action Friday, when it takes on No. 4-seed Starbuck at 5:30 p.m. in Alexandria.

Starbuck beat New London-Spicer 1-0 in its District 5 opener Tuesday.

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Willmar 3, Ortonville 0
Ortonville   0000000-020
Willmar   020010x-372
Hitting -- Ortonville: Nathan Strong 1-2, Bryce Hoffman 1-3 2b… Willmar: Kaden Kesler-Gross 1-2, Zak Madsen 2-2 2b r-2, Caleb Ditmarson 1-3 rbi, Drey Dirksen 1-3 2b r rbi, Jayden Dierenfeld 1-2 rbi, Brady Bauman 1-1  

Pitching -- Ortonville: Strong (L) 4-6-3-3-2-0, Dexter Tweeter 2-1-0-0-2-3… Willmar: Ditmarson 2-1-0-0-1-2, Bryan Weidemann 2-0-0-0-0-1, Kesler-Gross (W) 3-1-0-0-1-3

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