SPIRIT LAKE - Two-run home runs by Derek Nieland and Matt Burrell highlighted Estherville Lincoln Central's regular-season sweep over Spirit Lake as the Midgets won 8-1 on Monday.
While both teams managed just four hits, ELC drew four more walks than the Indians and committed four fewer errors.
"This was as good as game as we've played," said ELC coach Lee Evans. "I was pleased with how we came out. We came up with the big hits and got our pitcher the lead."
ELC’s Derek Nieland (3) is greeted at home plate by his teammates after a two-run home run in the first inning against Spirit Lake on Monday. While it turned out that was all the scoring ELC needed, the Midgets scored six more times including a two-run home run by Matt Burrell in the fifth inning.
EDN photo by David Swartz
Tyler Swanson earned the win for ELC as he struck out four and walked one.
"I think 'Swanny' only threw about 80 pitches," said Evans. "Defensively we played really well. With just the one error, I'll take that when we can score runs like we did."
Spirit Lake starter Reese Salmon took the loss and finished with eight strikeouts and five walks in six innings of work. But the Indian defense finished with five errors.
The Midgets scored immediately as Tyler Swanson hit a one-out single threw the left side of the infield. Nieland followed with a blast over the left-field fence as ELC went up 2-0.
"Derek's hit gave us a big boost right away and helped everybody relax," said Evans.
Spirit Lake got one run back immediately. Nic Amudson led off with a single, went to second on a passed ball and to third when Brandon Stoll flew out to deep center field. Salmon then hit a ball to left field as Stoll scored on the sacrifice fly.
ELC scratched out another run in the second inning. Alec Wycoff drew a one-out walk and aggressively ran to third as Tim Greving reached on an error by the Indian second baseman. Evan Hansen then laid down a squeeze bunt and Wycoff came home to score.
In the fourth inning, Corey Reeves led off with a double. With one out, Greving and Hansen both drew walks to load the bases. Adam Reiter then hit a ball to the shortstop, but the Indians couldn't quite turn the double play as courtesy runner Blake Gjerde came home to score. With two outs and Reiter aboard by the fielder's choice, he stole second and the throw from catcher Amudson went into center field as Greving scored.
In the fifth inning, Nieland drew a leadoff walk. This time Burrell came up with the home run as ELC led 7-1.
ELC scratched one more run across in the sixth inning. With one out, Hansen struck out, but reached first on the dropped third strike. Reiter again reached on a fielder's choice as Hansen was forced out at second base. But Reiter then stole second base and scored when Swanson hit a ball to center field that was dropped.
Meanwhile Spirit Lake had trouble getting a runner to third base. After stealing second base with two outs in the second inning, Cole Thate was tagged out in a close play as he tried to steal third. In the sixth inning, Amudson hit a leadoff double and went to third on a groundout. But Swanson recorded his fourth strikeout for the second out and then got Tony Eckart to pop up for the third out.
In the seventh inning, Nic Wetzler led off with a single and went to second on a passed ball. But when Nile Skogerboe hit a ball to ELC third baseman Tucker Milburn, Wetzler was hung up between second and third and tagged out. A groundout and a pop up to Swanson ended the game.
For ELC, Nieland was 1-2 with two RBIs; Burrell was 1-4 with two RBIs; and Swanson and Reeves each were 1-4. Reiter and Hansen each had an RBI.
ELC (11-13 overall, 6-8 Lakes) ends the regular season in Orange City tonight as they take on MOC-Floyd Valley.
Spirit Lake (13-8 overall, 7-7 Lakes) will play a doubleheader against Sioux City East on Wednesday.