By Nick Hansen
The Buttermaker’s Colby Pack rounds the bases after hitting a home run during Hadley’s 5-3 win over Fairmont Sunday.
Photo by David Merrill
Isaac Dolan of the Milroy Irish hurls a pitch toward th plate during Milroy’s 4-2 win over Luverne on Saturday. Luverne would go on to win the series, however, defeating the Irish 7-2 on Sunday to end the season for Milroy
HADLEY- If Hadley Buttermakers pitcher Sam Erickson wanted a "Beatles" song to represent his 5-3 win against the Fairmont Martins, it might be "With a Little Help From My Friends."
The Buttermakers defense made numerous catches and ground ball outs to deliver the win for pitcher Erickson. "They are the best defense in the Gopher League. I love playing in front of these guys," said Erickson after the game. Hadley only committed only one error during the game. First baseman Chris Halbur kept busy as part of eight putouts coming from the left side of the infield.
The defense also stepped up when Fairmont threatened to score in the ninth inning.
Erickson gave up a hit to the leadoff man, Logan Peymann, a line drive that went between the shortstop and second baseman. Erickson was then replaced by Nick Bruning, who then walked Tanner Nowrocki, to bring the go-ahead run to the plate for the Martins.
Taylor Rignell, Nate Wieneke and Halbur connected for a 4-6-3 double play to halt the scoring threat. Wieneke and Halbur connected on a 4-3 putout on the next batter to end the game and get Erickson the win. Bruning earned the save.
Even though Erickson gave up three runs in the first inning he shook it off and had a dominating rest of the game.
"Sam was tough. He's been pitching well for us all year, but he stepped it up even more today. Against a good team like that he really came back and pitched well for us," said Hadley manager Myron Bennett. Erickson only gave up three hits after the first inning.
He also struck out five Fairmont batters.
"I have faith in this team. I have faith that if we are down three nothing in the first inning that we are going to come back," said Erickson.
All of Hadley's scoring came off of home runs. Wade Rignell hit a three-run home run that cleared the left field fence in the first inning. Colby Pack hit a two-run shot to left field in the fifth.
Bennett hopes the Buttermakers bats will come alive even more next game. "We gotta keep having good at bats when we are up there. Hopefully when we'll get down there and put pressure on them right away in the first inning," he said.
Although Hadley won, Fairmont seemed to stick around all afternoon. The Martins actually outhit the Buttermakers 8-6, but they could not string any of them together.
"[Erickson] kept us off balance. They were scattered hits," said Fairmont manager Adam Schmidt after the game.
The Buttermakers will play the third game in the series against the Martins tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Fairmont.
Minneota lost its first playoff game 2-1 to Dumont in 10 innings.
Dumont pitcher Sam Thielen brought a no-hitter into the ninth. Minneota's Jesus Macias homered to put Minneota up 1-0 in the ninth inning. Dumont's James Paul answered with a home run for Dumont in the bottom half off the inning. Ryan Schwagel hit a double off the wall in the 10th to win the game for Dumont.
Milroy Irish 2
The Milroy Irish lost 7-2 to the Luverne Redbirds. Tyler Peterson took a three-hitter and a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning before the damage started. With two outs and nobody on base, Peterson hit Skyler Wenninger, before giving up a hit to right by Brian Beuning. "Peterson was pitching lights out until the sixth. Then the two hit batsmen and one bloop hit really killed us," said Manager Bob Dolan.
With Luverne's best hitter, Phil Paquette coming up, Dolan decided to intentionally walk him. "I thought our chances were better to face Jared Pick rather than Paquette because Jared was 0-13 against us," said Dolan. Peterson hit Pick on the very next pitch to tie the game. Luverne scored two more runs with a bloop single to right to take a commanding 4-2 lead.
The Irish could not muster any runs off Beuning.
"I was very proud of our team. We battled every game and forced a Game 3," said Dolan.
Milroy finished off its season with a 19-14 record and qualified for their third consecutive region playoffs.
Lamberton secured a No. 2 seed in the Region 2C playoffs with an 11-1 win over Gibbon Sunday.
Blake Altermatt provided a big offensive threat with a two-run home run while Mike Wotschke finished with two RBI and batted a perfect 3-for-3.
Neil Eichten finished the game 3-for-6 and had an RBI while Lamberton also got an RBI from Logan Willhite.
Shane Schoborg picked up the win on the mound, striking out four and walking two in seven innings of work.
Brady Bierl pitched the eighth and final inning and struck out one batter and gave up two hits.
Ryan Panning was a bright spot for Gibbon, going 1-for-3 with a double.