By PATRICK SLACK
Sobieski, Lastrup and Avon rode the arms of their aces to give the Victory League (VL) three of the final eight state Class C amateur baseball quarterfinalists.
Once there, though, all three fell by 3-1 scores, bringing their seasons to a close during the final weekend of the tournament in St. Cloud, Sept. 1 – 2.
Sobieski 4, Winsted 0
Maple Lake 3, Sobieski 1
Sobieski ace Tyler Jendro led the Skis to a 4-0 win over Winsted in the round of 16, tossing a three-hit shutout while striking out nine.
Jake Kluver was involved in three of the four Sobieski runs, giving the Skis an early 1-0 lead with an RBI double in the second.
After Isaac Smieja drove in a run in the fifth to make it 2-0, a single to right by Kluver and a Winsted error allowed Nate Olson to score, then Kluver came around to cross the plate following a stolen base and wild pitch.
The Skis received a solid outing the following day from Cole Jendro in their quarterfinal match-up with eventual state champion Maple Lake, but couldn’t muster enough offense in a 3-1 defeat.
Sobieski scored its only run in the ninth on a two-out single by Josh Wenzel to bring the tying run to the plate, but couldn’t get him aboard to end the game.
Nate Olson went 2-for-3 with a double off the wall in the eighth and Riley Hirsch and Andrew Gurbada added two hits apiece.
Fort Ripley draftee Brett Kramer worked 2 2/3 innings of shutout relief.
Lastrup 2, Waconia 1
Fergus Falls 3, Lastrup 1
Waconia scored 21 runs in its second-round win leading into its third-round match-up with Lastrup.
However, Waconia’s bats were silenced by Lastrup ace Chad Weiss, who fired a one-hitter as the Lakers earned a 2-1 win to advance.
Waconia scored its only run in the sixth to take a 1-0 lead, taking advantage of a leadoff error and its only hit to cross the plate.
Lastrup battled back to tie the score in the seventh on a leadoff double by Dustin Schmaltz, sacrifice bunt by Scott Janson and run-scoring grounder by Shawn Fischer.
In the eighth, Reggie Litke led off with a single, moved to third on a bunt by Rick Schlieman and single by Dave Woitalla.
With pinch runner Nate Janson caught in a rundown between first and second, Litke attempted to score but was thrown out at the plate for the second out of the inning.
However, after Jason Sadlovsky drew a walk to put runners at first and second, Schmaltz doubled for the second inning in a row to score Janson with what turned out to be the game-winning run.
Taking on Fergus Falls in the quarterfinals, Lastrup traded runs in the sixth before falling behind 3-1 in the top of the eighth.
The Lakers put together threats in their final two at-bats, but couldn’t convert after an appeal led to an inning-ending strikeout in the eighth and a bases-loaded, no-out double play in the ninth.
Dan Saehr and Schmaltz each reached base three times for the Lakers.
Avon 1, Cannon Falls 0
Fairmont 3, Avon 1
Kyle Collins earned his third win of the state tournament in spectacular fashion, throwing a no-hitter to lead Avon to a 1-0 win over Cannon Falls in the round of 16.
Collins only issued one walk in the game and fanned eight batters.
Avon tallied its only run right away in the first when Taylor Holthaus drove in Matt Meyer with a single.
The Lakers couldn’t duplicate their success in the quarterfinals, getting clipped 3-1 by eventual state runner-up Fairmont.
Avon got on the board first on a base hit by Tony Schoenberg, carrying a 1-0 lead into the seventh, but the Martins scored one run in each of the final three innings to pick up the win.