MARSHALL - After splitting two games with the Luverne during the season, Marshall suffered a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday night and dropped to the bottom bracket in the Class 2A Section 3 Tournament.
Luverne scored what would prove to be the winning run in the top of the 5th as Connor Hoffman lead off with a double before being bunted over to third by Kendall Meyer and then scored on a passed ball.
Marshall coach Chace Pollock felt the bunt to get the runner over to third was a key moment in the game.
Photo by David Merrill
Marshall’s Connor Winkelman reacts after hitting the ball against Luverne during the semifinals of the Class 2A Baseball Section 3 Tournament on Tuesday at American Legion Field.
"They had a kid lead off with a double and then the next kid got a great bunt down," Pollock said. "If you were going to choose a turning point, that would be it. They were probably going to score in that situation. The percentages were with them."
Marshall was able to get one runner on in the bottom of the second following two groundouts, via a Bryce Johnson walk, before a strikeout ended the contest.
The Cardinals had a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning before Nate Hoeft plated Derek Rasmussen, who doubled to lead off the inning, to tie the score at 3-3.
Neither team scored in the first inning before Luverne opened it up in the top of the second with RBI from Andrew Verhey and Zane Hiller.
Marshall put together a two-out rally of their own in the second inning when Connor Winkleman doubled to center and scored Mason Campion. Bryce Johnson brought Winkleman home with a single before he was picked off at second base.
Luverne coach Mike Wenninger spoke about the competitive contests between Marshall and his Cardinals.
"Chace does a heck of a nice job with Marshall," Wenninger said. "He always has his team ready to play. Anytime you see Drew (Hmielewski) on the mound, it's going to be a battle. It was a 4-3 game that could have gone either way. The difference was just manufacturing runs and staying away from the crooked numbers."
Hmielewski pitched the full seven innings and struck out two while allowing no walks but let up four runs (three earned) on seven hits.
Connor Winkleman provided a bulk of the offense for the Tigers, going 2-for-4 with a double and had an RBI and a runs scored. Johnson had the other RBI, as he finished 1-for-2 from the plate.
Rasmussen doubled and Campion singled as each scored a run.
Verhey, Ziller and Gunnar Olson contributed RBI for the Cardinals while Hoffman contributed two hits and scored a run.
Hiller picked up the win on the mound, going three innings and striking out two against one walk while Olson pitched four innings in relief and struck out three.
With the loss, Marshall plays the winner of an elimination game between Benson and New London- Spicer - which was not completed before press time Tuesday - on Thursday.
Pollock talked about the team's mindset now that they are one game away from elimination.
"We have to have a short memory," Pollock said. "We're just having fun playing baseball. Not a lot of teams in the state have that opportunity and we do, so we're not going to look too far ahead."
Luverne 4, Marshall 3
Hitting: Luverne (Olson 1-for-3, RBI; Verhey 1-for-2, RBI, run; Hiller 1-for-3, RBI; Sliater 1-for-4, run; Hoffman 2-for-2, run) Marshall ( C. Winkleman 2-for-4 , RBI, run; Johnson 1-for-2, RBI; Hoeft 1-for-3, RBI; Campion 1-for-2, run; Rasmussen 1-for-3, run).
Pitching: Luverne (Hiller 3-5-2-1-1-2; Olson 4-2-1-1-1-3) Marshall (Hmielewski 7-7-4-3-0-2).