By David Swartz
The clich in sports is that it's hard to beat a team three times a row.
Senior pinch runner Cole Budach scores the lone run for Estherville Lincoln Central in the Midgets' 2-1 loss in Saturday's Class 2A District Final game at Hess-Limberg Field in Estherville.
Photo by David Swartz
Unfortunately for Estherville Lincoln Central, that proved to be the case on Saturday as Emmetsburg defeated the Midgets 2-1 in the Class 2A District 2 final.
The E'Hawks scored the go ahead-run in the top of the seventh inning as Jacob Kibbie and Joe Jackson both singled. Austin Egeland, pitching in relief of ELC starter Billy Snyder then had No. 9 batter at an 0-2 count, but hit the E'Hawk freshman to load the bases.
Egeland then struck out leadoff batter Dillon VanOosbree, but walked Aaron Bird to bring around the go-ahead run.
While Egeland then struck out Luke Jackson and forced Greg Wesley to ground out to first the damage was down.
In the bottom of the seventh, Dan Christensen hit a one-out single and Alec Wycoff and stole second. After Riley Strenge went down on strikes as he fouled off a two-strike bunt, Alec Wycoff was intentionally walked Jake Bortvit stepped to the plate and grounded out to third base to end the game.
ELC coach Lee Evans points to the first inning as where it all started.
VanOosbree led off with a single and Bird reached on an error. Luke Jackson reached on a fielder's choice as Snyder grabbed the bunt and threw third base to get the force out on VanOosbree. But a passed ball let the runners advance to second and third and Bird scored when Wesley grounded out to second base.
In the bottom of the first inning, Wycoff hit a one-out double to left-center field and then Snyder reached on an error by the E'Hawk shortstop. But Wycoff rounded third and couldn't get back in time as he was tagged out. With two outs, courtesy runner Cole Budach attempted to steal second base and was thrown out for the third out.
"That first inning was huge for them with the error and the passed ball," said Evans. "Then we had some base running mistakes that cost us. Give Emmetsburg credit, they came to play."
After the first inning, Snyder retired 10 of the next 11 batters he faced, giving up a one-out single to Kibbie in the second. But catcher Corey Reeves threw Kibbie out trying to steal second. The E'Hawks then had three two-out singles in the bottom of the fifth, but ELC got out of the inning as Bird popped up to Egeland at first base.
ELC had chances to score. Trey Jacobson and Carsten Bosch both drew two-out walks. Reeves then hit a grounder to third baseman Dunlap, who missed the tag on Jacobson as ELC loaded the bases. But Christensen flew out to center to end the threat.
In the fourth inning, Jacobson hit a two-out single and stole second, but Bosch went down on strikes. In the fifth inning, Strenge drew a two-out walk and stole second, but Wycoff went down on strikes.
In the sixth inning, Egeland hit a one-out single and courtesy runner Budach stole second. A single to left by Zach Humble, plus an E'Hawk error allowed Budach to tie the game at 1-1. With Humble at second, Jacobson flew out to center and Bosch grounded out to the shortstop to end the threat.
ELC had five hits on the night as Jacobson was 1-2 and Wycoff, Egeland, Humble and Christensen each went 1-3.
Snyder pitched five innings and gave up five hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
Egeland pitched two innings and took the loss. He gave up two hits, struck out three batters, walked one and hit one.
"I thought Billy and Austin battled well and gave us a chance to win every time out," said coach Evans.
VanOosbree finished with seven strikeouts and four walks as he picked up the victory.
ELC wraps up a 15-9 campaign with seniors Billy Snyder, Cole Budach, Riley Strenge, Blake Gjerde, Jake Bortvit, Tim Greving, Alec Wycoff and Corey Reeves playing in their final game.
"I'm proud of all the seniors-they were great to work with," said Evans. "We have some goals to set for next year and some things to work on."