AMATEUR BASEBALL: Marshall breaks out offense in 19-2 rout over Willmar

Photo by Sam Thiel Marshall’s Jordon Kontz connects on a swing during their game against Willmar on Sunday.

MARSHALL – Offense was put on display early, often and everywhere in between for the Marshall amateur baseball team during their game against the Willmar Rails on Sunday, as the A’s broke out for 18 runs and 16 hits en route to an 19-2 rout in seven innings.

Marshall manager Ryan Schwagel knows the importance of getting out to a strong lead and said his players did a good job of setting the tone early.

“It’s always nice to playing with the lead,” Schwagel said. “It always makes it easier on our pitching and our defense and if we play with the lead and have some runs to work with, everybody can play loose. We jumped out with two runs in the first and scored in every inning, so 18 runs on 16 hits, we hit the ball.”

It appeared that Willmar would get out to an early day offensively in the opening half-inning, as it used three consecutive singles to plate a run and give the Rails a 1-0 advantage. But the A’s had a quick response, opening the game with four straight hits – including an RBI single from Ryan VanMoer and an RBI double from Zach Olson – to get a pair of runs across and take the lead for good at 2-1 after an inning of play.

Marshall’s offense continued to roll throughout the next several innings, as Logan Tomasek connected on a leadoff single before Zach Thompson reached on an error and Connor Winkelman and VanMoer brought in a pair of runs on an RBI groundout and an RBI double, respectively, to make it 4-1. The A’s then added two more runs in the third thanks to an RBI sacrifice fly from Nick Macchio and a fielder’s choice to push their lead to 6-1.

It was in the next inning, however, that the Marshall offense broke out the bats. After VanMoer and Jordon Kontz both reached on one-out errors, Alex Thompson stepped up and smacked a two-run double before Tomasek and Zach Thompson connected on back-to-back RBI singles to make it 10-1. Two batters later, Winkelman plated two more runs on a single to extend the A’s lead to 12-1.

The Rails would get back on the scoreboard in the fifth, using an RBI single to cut the deficit to 12-2, but Marshall once again responded with a run of its own in the bottom half of the frame, as Tomasek reached on an error to help plate a run and bring it back to an 11-run margin.

Marshall then added six more runs in the sixth on an RBI single from Rusty Swanson, a bases-loaded walk from Dillon Loft, a hit by pitch from Brayden Hilgemann, a fielder’s choice from AJ Toulouse, an RBI single from Zach Thompson and an error to make it to 19-2.

Zach Thompson led the way for the A’s with a 2 for 5 day at the plate with three RBI while Winkelman went 2 for 4 with three RBI and VanMoer, Tomasek and Alex Thompson all added a pair of hits and two RBI.

“(We were) just hitting the ball and putting it in play,” Schwagel said. “Good things happen when you put the ball in play and put pressure on their defense and that’s all we’ve been doing all year.”

Tomasek earned the victory on the mound, going five innings while allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out six.

Schwagel said Tomasek did a good job of attacking the strike zone right away and continuing to hit his spots throughout the game.

“Just throwing strikes and attacking the zone,” Schwagel said. “We got that lead right away so it was just about hitting the zone. He hit a few batters and walked a few but all in all, we trust the defense.”

Marshall (8-2) will continue its homestand on Wednesday when it faces Brookings (S.D.) at 7:30 p.m. Schwagel said their biggest takeaway is to continue to keep the bats going and have a high-level of offensive production like they’ve had so far this year.

“Just try to keep the bats hot,” Schwagel said. “We’ve had more than 10 hits in a lot of games and we’re getting guys in when we need them to and if we just keep hitting the ball and putting it in play, we’ll be fine.”

Marshall 19, Willmar 2 (7 innings)

Willmar 100 010 0 — 2 9 4

Marshall 222 616 — 19 16 1

HITTING: Marshall (Winkelman 2-4, 3 RBI, run; VanMoer 2-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Kontz 2-3, run; Olson 3-4, RBI, run; A. Thompson 2-3, 2 RBI, 2 run; Tomasek 2-3, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Z. Thompson 2-5, 3 RBI, 2 runs; Swanson 1-1, RBI, run; Macchio 0-1, RBI, run; Terfehr 0-0, run; Alcorn 0-1, run; Mernaugh 0-0, 2 runs; Loft 0-1, RBI, run; Hilgemann 0-1, RBI; Toulouse 0-1, RBI, run; Welvaert 0-2, RBI).

PITCHING: Marshall (Tomasek 5.0-7-2-2-2-6; Olson 2.0-2-0-0-0-0).