After going 1-1 during the first weekend of play of the Section 7B tournament, the Marshall A's are one win from being able to play on their home field in the super section tournament.
A solo home run by Andrew Kinney in the bottom of the eighth inning gave the A's a 4-3 win over Sauk Rapids Saturday in Richmond. With a chance to clinch a super section spot Sunday against Cold Spring, the wheels came off late for the A's, who allowed seven runs in the eighth inning of a 9-1 loss and dropped to the losers' bracket of the five-team, double-elimination tournament.
Marshall (20-7 overall) will play Sauk Rapids for a third time this season when the two teams meet again Aug. 10 in Richmond. The winner of that game clinches a super section spot and will get to play Cold Spring for the section championship. The A's have won each of the previous two meetings by one run.
Saturday's one-run win came via some late-game heroics by Kinney, who broke a home run drought with a game-winning bomb in the bottom of the eighth.
"You couldn't ask for a bigger home run," A's manager Sean Culhane said of Kinney's blast. "He led off the inning and on the first or second pitch he hit it to right center. It was one of those things where it was really windy and he hit it into a cross wind and got every bit of it.
"Kinney is one of those guys where it can happen at any moment. It hadn't happened in a while for him, but he came through when we needed him to."
Marshall had six hits in the game. Jason Minett was 2-for-2 with a double, two walks and an RBI. Tanner Neale was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
Travis McGlauflin, who threw a shutout in a 1-0 win over Sauk Rapids July 20, got the win again for Marshall in the rematch. He worked eight innings, giving up three runs on five hits with five strikeouts and five walks. Sauk Rapids scored all three of its runs in the second inning, some of which were the result of Marshall's center fielder losing a fly ball in the sun, Culhane said.
Kinney came on for McGlauflin in the ninth and gave up two hits, but kept the Cyclones off the board and earned the save.
Marshall's game against Cold Spring was another tight one, until it wasn't.
The A's and Springers were tied at 1-all and each had put up three hits going into the seventh inning. Cold Spring put up one run in the seventh, then exploded for seven runs in the eighth and finished the game with 11 hits to Marshall's six.
Culhane had concerns about Nate Dickhausen's arm before giving him the start Sunday. Dickhausen was taken out after just one inning in a July 26 start against Castlewood (S.D.) due to a sore arm. He didn't show any issues against the top-seeded Springers through most of the game, holding them to just one run through six innings.
Cold Spring is 31-4 and has clinched a spot in the super section tournament. Ryan Morse, a former Southwest Minnesota State Mustang, got the complete-game win for the Springers, giving up one run on six hits.
Sauk Rapids030 000 000-3 7 1
Marshall120 000 01X-4 6 1
SR-Andy Thayer. M-Travis McGlauflin, Andrew Kinney (9). WP-McGlauflin. LP-Thayer. S-Kinney. 2B: M-Jason Minett, Tanner Neale.
Marshall100 000 000-1 6 1
Cold Spring000 010 17X-9 11 3
M-Nate Dickhausen, Andrew Kinney (8), Ben Korger (8). CS-Ryan Morse. WP-Morse. LP-Dickhausen. 2B: CS-Drew VanLoy.