By PATRICK SLACK
Region 8C, comprised entirely of Victory League teams, flexed its strength at the opening weekend of the state tournament.
With Sobieski already guaranteed a spot in the second round as region champion, Lastrup, Avon and Nisswa all came away with wins to make the region one of only two to advance all four of its qualifiers past the first round.
Lastrup 5, Clear Lake 0
Lastrup got the action started in the first game of the tournament, blanking Clear Lake 5-0 at Dick Putz Field in St. Cloud, Friday.
Lakers ace Chad Weiss was staked to a 2-0 lead before even taking the mound, as Lastrup used three walks, a wild pitch and an RBI single by Dave Woitalla to strike twice in the top of the first.
Weiss took it from there, scattering six hits and striking out nine without issuing a walk to post the shutout.
Weiss also drove in a run in the top of the second inning on a base hit to make it 3-0, then worked around Clear Lake’s biggest threat, a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the bottom of the inning.
Lastrup tacked on its final two runs in the fourth on an RBI double by Woitalla and a squeeze bunt by Shawn Fischer.
Woitalla finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs, Rick Schlieman reached base four times and scored a run and Reggie Litke singled and crossed the plate twice.
Scott Janson, Brandon Lochner, Nate Janson, Dan Saehr and Weiss also recorded hits.
Nisswa 4, Madison 2
In an era in which most professional pitchers get lifted soon after crossing the 100-pitch threshold, Nisswa starter Logan Kalis obliterated that mark with 163 in the Lightning’s opener against Madison at Dick Putz Field, Sunday.
Playing in what turned out to be the only extra-inning game of the first round, Nisswa outlasted Madison 4-2 in 15 innings behind the gutsy starting effort from Kalis and a dominant relief outing from Luke Schumer.
Kalis lasted 11 innings, racking up 14 strikeouts while allowing only two hits before giving the ball to Schumer, who worked four perfect frames and fanned seven to pick up the win.
Madison took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second, but Nisswa came up with two runs in the fourth to take a 2-1 edge, which it held until Madison tied the game in the eighth.
Both teams staged mild threats with no success for the next six innings, until Nisswa broke the deadlock in the top of the 15th.
With two runners on and one out, Schumer singled to right to score Mike Zauher, with Drew Boland following him home on an error.
Zauher led Nisswa with three hits, Schumer and Jason Roepke added two apiece and Jeremiah Piepkorn and Aaron Jenkins each doubled and knocked in a run.
Avon 6, Young America 2
Avon ace Kyle Collins held Young America scoreless through seven innings to lead the Lakers to a 6-2 opening round triumph at Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud, Saturday.
Collins struck out nine through seven before Young America finally broke through with a pair of runs in the eighth to chase him from the game.
By that time it was too late, though, as reliever Peter Burg prevented any further damage with four strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings of work to notch the save.
Neil Manthe led Avon offensively with three hits and two RBIs, with Dave Kalthoff, Taylor Holthaus and Jeff Swenson adding two hits apiece.
Lastrup plays against Region 6 champion Jordan at Dick Putz Field, Saturday, at 11 a.m.
Sobieski plays against Region 15 fourth-place qualifier Lake Henry at Joe Faber Field in St. Cloud, Saturday, at 8 p.m.
Avon plays against Region 2 champion Lamberton at Joe Faber Field, Sunday, at 11:30 a.m.
Nisswa plays against Region 7 champion Green Isle at Dick Putz Field, Sunday, at 5 p.m.
Lastrup 5 9 0
Clear Lake 0 6 1
Lastrup—Dave Woitalla: 2-4, 2B, 2-RBI; Rick Schlieman: 1-2, R, 3-BB; Chad Weiss: 1-3, RBI, R, 2-BB; Reggie Litke: 1-4, 2-R, BB; Scott Janson: 1-1; Brandon Lochner: 1-3, BB, SAC: Nate Janson: 1-4, R; Dan Saehr: 1-4; WP-Weiss: 9-IP, 0-R, 6-H, 0-BB, 9-K.
Nisswa 4 10 2
Madison 2 2 1
Nisswa—Mike Zauher: 3-4, R, HBP, SAC, SB; Luke Schumer: 2-7, 3B, RBI, R; Jason Roepke: 2-7; Jeremiah Piepkorn: 1-5, 2B, RBI, R, BB, HBP; Aaron Jenkins: 1-6, 2B, RBI, SAC; Drew Boland: 1-6, R, BB; Logan Kalis: 11-IP, 2-R, 2-H, 7-BB, 14-K; WP-Schumer: 4-IP, 0-R, 0-H, 0-BB, 7-K.
Young America 2 5 3
Avon 6 12 0
Avon—Neil Manthe: 3-4, 3B, 2-RBI, R; Dave Kalthoff: 2-3, 2B, RBI, BB; Taylor Holthaus: 2-4, 3B, RBI, R; Jeff Swenson: 2-5, 2B, R; Reed Voit: 1-4, R; Matt Meyer: 1-5, R, HBP; Rick Hendrickson: 1-5; Luke Manthe: 0-3, R, BB, SB; Tony Schoenberg: 0-4, RBI; WP-Kyle Collins: 7 1/3-IP, 2-R, 3-H, 3-BB, 9-K; SV-Peter Burg: 1 2/3-IP, 0-R, 2-H, 0-BB, 4-K.