By PATRICK SLACK
Sixth-seeded Royalton entered Tuesday’s sub-section semifinal versus second-seeded Isle as the underdog according to the seeds, but with plenty of confidence after shutting out the Huskies 9-0 in the regular season finale a week prior.
It appeared the Royals might be on their way to another easy win, striking for a pair of runs in the second and third to build a 4-0 cushion.
However, Isle wouldn’t go quietly, utilizing three errors to pull within a run at 4-3.
Royalton summoned senior Steve Hoff to the mound and Hoff slammed the door, turning in four scoreless, no-hit innings to keep Isle at bay and allow the Royals to pull out a 6-3 victory.
“The Isle game was much the same (as against Hinckley) with the exception of one inning,” Royalton head coach Rusty Gwost said. “Otherwise we were pretty good on both sides. Steve Hoff was the difference. (He) shut the door which allowed us to build on our lead.”
Freshman Brady Moulzolf went 2-for-4 with a double and a run and freshman Jordan Smieja hit a two-run double for Royalton.
Senior Jeremy Grittner doubled and senior Brandon Lattimer, junior Matt Silbernick and Hoff contributed singles.
Royalton 6 7 3
Isle 3 3 2
Royalton—Brady Moulzolf: 2-4, 2B, R; Jordan Smieja: 1-2, 2B, 2-RBI, R; Jeremy Grittner: 1-4, 2B, RBI; Steve Hoff: 1-3, RBI; Brandon Lattimer: 1-3, R; Matt Silbernick: 1-3, R; WP-Hoff: 4-IP, 0-R, 0-H, 0-BB, 3-K.