Morris Area wins 2 conference games
As the regular season was winding down, the Morris Area baseball team picked up two West Central Conference South wins.
Morris Area 5
Nate Gades threw a complete game, backed up by three double plays, for a Morris Area win over Benson 5-1 Monday night at Chizek Field.
In the first inning, Gades to Eric Riley to Jon Jallo gave the Tigers a double play. Another double play in the seventh, Dustin Sauter to Riley to Jallo, ended the game.
The biggest double play was in the third inning when the Braves had the bases loaded and only one out. Benson's Brennan Kent lined a single to left for an RBI, when Tyler Hansen gunned the ball home to hold the second runner at third base. Catcher Darrick Henrichs fired to Sauter at second who had two runners trapped at third. Sauter ran and tagged one out, then fired to Henrichs to nail the second out at home.
Down 1-0, the Tigers broke through in the fourth against lefty Jed Eix for all five runs. Sauter and Gades singled, Sauter stole third and scored on the throwing error to third. Tanner Berning lined a clutch two-RBI single to center to score pinch runner Jason Grasshoff and Henrichs. Mitch Carbert doubled, Eric Riley walked, and later scored on Hansen's at bat (ruled an error), and Chris Boettcher beat out an infield grounder for RBIs.
Gades had little trouble after that, stranding a runner at second in the fifth with a fly to left and a pop up to himself.
"The Tigers had a nice day in the field with Carbert making a nice stretch and tough foul ball catch at first."
Sauter made an orange-ball play at second ranging far to his left.
Jallo had a great dig at first to finish a double play.
"It was a good win to even our record," said Rambow. "Once again, good base running helped us get the lead. We stole four bases.
"Gades pitched well and we're starting to make solid plays in the field."
The Tigers smashed three home runs and three doubles to build a 9-3 lead, and held on to defeat Paynesville 9-8 on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs are the West Central Conference South champions this year, finishing at 13-3.
Morris is now 9-6 in the conference.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Tigers had a 9-3 lead when the game got very interesting. A walk and a fly to right for one out. Then a single and two errors and it's a 9-5 game. Nate Nietfield hits a three-run homer to get the Bulldogs as close at 9-8. It was Paynesville's fourth hit.
Hansen came in to get the save with a fly to right and a strike out with a man on second.
"Eric Riley had pitched well, but walked seven and had some key miscues behind him," said Rambow.
All eight Paynesville runs were unearned.
In the first, Hansen led off with a high fly double to deep center. Boettcher homered to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. Henrichs, Tanner Berning, and Ryan Beyer singled to make it 3-0.
Tied 3-3 in the fifth, Riley smashed a homer to deep center. Then Hansen walked and Boettcher singled, before Gades ripped a two-RBI single. Henrichs doubled, then Gades got a great jump off third to score on Berning's grounder.
Boettcher banged his second two-run homer in the sixth to put the Tigers up 9-3.
"It was great to see our batters really hit the ball hard and put up some big runs," said Rambow. "Riley pitched well but had some hard luck.
"I see important improvements. The kids are playing hard."