By Tyler Ohmann
Though both Ft. Ripley and Nisswa punched their respective tickets to state Sunday, July 31, the biggest drama came in a 3-2 Sobieski win in an elimination game.
The Skis narrowly knocked off the St. Stephen Steves in an elimination game of the Region 8C Tournament at Pierz Legion Park.
Jake Kapphahn, who would normally be a pinch-runner or on the bench, started due to some players being at the Legion State baseball tournament.
“It is the region tournament and it is always dramatic,” said Skis manager Brad Czech, who was also forced into duty. “That was one of those games.”
The skis are glad he did. Kapphahn blasted a two-run home run in the eighth inning, one of three hits in the game.
Tyler Jendro had his finest pitching performance of the season since recovering from offseason arm surgeries. He went the distance, striking out 10, allowing only three hits.
“We talk about the big moments and the big stage, and that’s when you want someone to step up,” Czech said. “You never know who the hero is going to be, but we had a couple of those today in Jake (Kapphahn) and Tyler (Jendro).”
Joey Hanowski drove in the other Skis’ run with an RBI sacrifice fly that drove in Kapphahn.
“We certainly didn’t play our best baseball, and we know that,” Czech said. “We have to improve our level of play heading into Freeport.”
Sobieski fell 13-7 to Ft. Ripley in the first region game, Saturday, July 30.
The Rebels sent 13 batters to the plate and scored nine runs in the third inning to open an 11-0 lead and held on from there.
Logan Kalis hit a grand slam and had four hits in the win for the Rebels. Brett Kramer also had a long ball with three RBIs.
Jon Czech had two RBIs to lead the Skis.
The Rebels advanced to state with a 21-0 trouncing of Lastrup, Sunday, July 31.
The Rebels decimated six Lakers pitchers by scoring seven runs in the first and 11 more in the third.
Kalis hit his second grand slam of the weekend, and Kramer followed with his second long ball of the tournament.
Kalis also allowed only two hits in six innings of work on the mound.
Jason Sather added another dinger. Ft. Ripley scored 11 runs on two hits in the third.
Lastrup’s two hits came from Brad Meyer and Dan Saehr.
Lastrup did win Saturday, in a 2-1, 12-inning marathon with St. Stephen.
Jason Sadlovsky scored the game-winning run when Nate Janson drew a walk in the 12th.
Chad Weiss was spectacular for the Lakers, tossing 11 innings, striking out 11 and allowing just three hits.
Buckman is on to the second weekend with a 1-1 finish after the first weekend.
The Billygoats topped Avon, 7-1, on the arm of Jeremy Monson, Saturday, July 30. He allowed four hits in a complete game win.
Mark Kahl hit a home run and drove in four to lead the Buckman offense.
However, the Billygoats lost 10-0 to Nisswa in Sunday’s second round game in the winner’s bracket.
The Lightning hit three home runs, and Buckman had just five hits, led by Joe Kahl, who had a hit and a walk.
Finally, the Upsala Blue Jays were eliminated from region play after a pair of losses.
The Jays fell 8-3 to Nisswa, Saturday, July 31.
Dustin Biniek scored twice and rapped two hits to lead Upsala in the loss.
The Jays were then eliminated by Avon with a 6-1 loss in the nightcap of day two.
Matt Swanson drove in the lone Upsala run scored by Biniek in the sixth.
Justin Lampert had a potential three-run bomb robbed by Cody Stich in the eighth as he climbed the wall to make the catch, which would have potentially sparked a Jays run.
Eric Lampert had 11 strikeouts in five innings of relief for Upsala in the loss.
Avon plays Lastrup at 1 p.m., and Sobieski plays Buckman at 4 p.m. in state-qualifying games at Freeport, Saturday, Aug. 6.
Nisswa and Ft. Ripley square off in winner’s action at 7 p.m., Saturday.
Action continues Sunday, Aug. 7, with games at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., also in Freeport.