By Tyler Ohmann
The final two Region 8C state-bound teams were determined as Sobieski and Ft. Ripley both earned return trips with wins in qualifying
games, Saturday, Aug. 5 in Avon.
Sobieski was up first, and took on St. Stephen, who put up a strong fight.
However, Tyler Jendro proved too much for the Steves, and Sobieski pulled out a 4-1 win.
“Credit St. Stephen, and Nick Krippner did a heck of a job today, but we found a way to win,” said Skis manager Brad Czech.
Sobieski took a 1-0 lead on a Dan Marod sacrifice fly in the third.
Marod again drove in a run on a ground out in the bottom of the sixth.
“We were slow to get going today, and it was big that we got it going at the end there, but I think things will pick up real soon,” Marod said.
Marod was the designated hitter (DH) for the Skis. He said that it is a bit different than playing the field, but he accepts that there are better fielders.
“I just got to be focused,” Marod said. “Johnny Czech retired just last year, and he said that as a DH always be ready, and always have the bat in your hands.”
St. Stephen threatened several times, getting runners in scoring position multiple times. They finally scored in the eighth inning, drawing the deficit to a single run.
Jendro, who also tossed a complete game, provided a two-run single in the top of the ninth to add some cushion for the Skis.
“Tyler (Jendro) pitched an awesome game, and at the plate, he carried us as well,” Marod said. “Today really came down to who wanted to be here, and Ty really wanted to be here.”
Jendro struck out 11 Steves in the complete game, allowing just one run on nine hits.
Scott Litchy went 2-for-3 in his return from a collegiate wood bat league in California. He was co-MVP of the league.
Sobieski is excited to move on to state.
“The bottom line is that no matter how we played today, we got off the field and we’re going to state,” Marod said. “We’re all hoping that things come together, and we can win.”
Despite the tight games for the Skis in the region, Czech said it is a clean slate at state.
“It all starts fresh once you begin the state tournament, and I know that Region 8C will represent well again,” Czech said.
The Rebels’ return to state was easier than the Skis, Brett Kramer made sure of that.
After bombing a ball deep over the right field fence in the opening inning of a state qualifier against Nisswa Saturday, Aug. 5, Kramer went deep again in his next at-bat.
The second was a grand slam, and it broke the game open, leading to a 9-1 Ft. Ripley win.
Jack Hegarty tossed all nine innings for the Rebels, allowing just one run on four hits.
Kramer also scored four times, once after a triple in the eighth inning.
Nick Jelacie also homered for the Rebels in the dominating win.
Buckman concluded the day of ball with a 6-3 victory over Avon to secure a spot in the Region 8C championship.
Jeremy Monson went the distance, allowing three runs on eighth hits and striking out five.
Aaron Weber had a pair of doubles and drove in two runs. Joe Kahl scored and drove in a run for the Billygoats.
The Skis and Rebels then began to play for seeding, Sunday, Aug. 6. The loser of the game would become the No. 4 seed, and the winner would fight with Avon for the three seed.
Ft. Ripley took an early lead, using three Skis errors to score three runs in the first.
Nick Jelacie made it 6-0 Rebels with a bases-clearing double in the third inning.
However, the skies opened up, and the game was postponed due to heavy rain that caused an unplayable field.
The game resumed, Saturday, Aug. 12. The winner moved on to play Avon shortly after.
The winner of that game will play Buckman in the title contest, Sunday, Aug. 13 in Avon.
State begins Friday in Norwood, Hamburg and Green Isle.