By: Mark Zinnel
The second round of the Region 13C playoffs began with the Hadley Buttermakers getting the #6 seed and facing the #3 seed, Windom Pirates. The Buttermakers advance to the Regional semi-finals as they ousted the Pirates in two games. Here is the series recap.
Wednesday at Pipestone Hadley 4 Windom 3
Since neither team has lights for night baseball, league by-laws dictate that the lower-seeded team is forced to host the first game as the home team on the road under the lights. That meant for this round Hadley would not have a true home game. Despite this predicament, A’s Park in Pipestone was full of Buttermaker fans and an avid Pirate contingent. Everyone in attendance knew how important Game 1 was as each fan base was on the edge of their seats rooting their hometown team. Both starting pitchers had control over the hitters as hits were a limited resource. Fortunately for Hadley, they made use of the few hits they got to take Game 1. Here is the game recap:
Nick Bruning started the assignment for Game 1. In the first inning, Nick would get the first Pirate batter out on a strikeout. The next batter got a soft line drive hit to right field. Nick Bruning then ran into trouble as he walked the next two batters to load the bases. He gathered himself and struck out the next two batters leaving the bases loaded and Windom off the boards.
In Hadley’s at-bat, Derek Platt led-off and hit a slow roller to the Pirate second baseman which was misplayed allowing Derek to reach base. Platt moved up a base on a passed ball. He moved to third base on an infield ground out by Joe Larson. Nick Bruning came to the plate and hit a double to bring in Platt and a 1-0 Buttermaker lead. Bruning advanced to third base on a wild pitch but was stranded there as the inning ended.
Neither team did anything the next two innings. In the fourth, Windom led-off with a single. Nick Bruning gave up a walk to the next batter. In the next at-bat, the Pirate runner on second was taking a big lead. Trent Carlson attempted to pick the runner off that caught the runner off guard. Carlson’s throw to Derek Platt would have been successful, but Platt mishandled the throw allowing the runner to advance to third base. The runner on first base advanced to second on an infield ground out. With two outs, the Pirate batter hit a sharp ground ball up the middle that Nick Bruning got a piece of but continued towards second base. Eric Wieneke was ready to field the ball and make the play at first when the ball hit second base and hampered Wieneke’s effort to make the play as both Pirate runners crossed home plate for a 2-1 Windom lead.
Hadley tried to counter in their at-bat in the fourth as they put runners on second and third on a walk and a hit batter but were unable to get a big hit to bring either home as the game moved on with Hadley down a run.
Windom added to their lead in the fifth inning. The Pirate lead-off batter hit a ball up the middle that Eric Wieneke tried to backhand but was unsuccessful as the ball bounced off his glove and into center. A sacrifice bunt advanced the runner to second base. The next batter singled to score the run and a 3-1 lead. The next batter lined out to Blake Rogers at third base and his throw to first would get the Pirate runner picked off for a double-play to end the inning.
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