REGION 13C TOURNAMENT: Hadley splits pair of games to wrap up region tournament
HADLEY – Looking to come away with a region championship and a first-round bye in the state tournament, the Hadley amateur baseball team earned a 6-3 victory over Fairmont on Saturday to set up a deciding final game in the best of three series. Unfortunately for the Buttermakers, they weren’t able to secure a bye in the third game, dropping a hard-fought 1-0 decision to the Martins on Sunday afternoon.
Neither team would get scoring throughout the first seven innings, as both sides’ pitching were locked in a duel. Hadley starter Jacob Van Dam was able to take a no-hitter into the seventh.
After Hadley went down in order in the top half of the eighth, Fairmont connected on a solo home run in the bottom of the frame to take a one-run lead.
The Buttermakers were able to get a pair of baserunners aboard in the top of the ninth, but couldn’t capitalize as Fairmont hung on to win Region 13C.
Hadley will face No. 7C Cologne in the Class C tournament on Aug. 17 at 1:30 p.m. in Delano.
Hadley 6, Fairmont 3
After a disappointing 11-1 loss in the Region 13C championship series opener, Hadley returned to form in Saturday’s Game 2 matchup by beating Fairmont 6-3.
Earning the win on the hill for Hadley was newly-acquired draftee Luke Gilbertson, who pitched eight complete innings for the Buttermakers before Max Zwart closed out the game in the ninth.
Manager Myron Bennett identified Gilbertson’s excellence on the mound as a major factor in the team’s success on Saturday.
“I think the pitching was (key to our success),” said Bennett. “It was a good performance by our draftee throwing strikes. I think he only walked one guy and he was tough. He kept them off-balance and he did a good job for us.”
In the top of the first inning, Gilbertson was forced to dig deep in order to stave off an early scoring threat by the Martins, who opened up the game with a pair of singles. Fairmont’s base runner would make it all the way to third base before consecutive outs prevented the Martins from getting on the board first.
Bennett identified the early sequence as crucial to getting back on track after struggling defensively in the series opener.
“It was nice to get out of that first inning. They started at first and third and we got out of that, and they didn’t score any runs that was key to the game too,” said Bennett. “Like I said the other night we just didn’t play well in the field. We had five errors and then that led to eight unearned runs. This time of the year if you give them extra outs you’re going to pay for it and we did the other night.”
Out of the field and into the batter’s box, Hadley set the tone offensively in the latter half of the first with a four-hit burst that provided the Buttermakers with an early 2-0 lead.
The scoring was set in motion when leadoff man Derek Platt broke through with the club’s first hit and later advanced to third base on a pair of wild pitches. Justin Benda stepped to the plate next and connected on an RBI single to open the scoring. Benda went on to be picked off at first, but the scoring continued when Eric Wieneke blasted a standup double to center field and later scored on a base hit by Zwart.
After having their lead cut in half in the top of the second inning, the Buttermakers got the bats going again in the bottom of the fourth as Blake Rogers crushed a solo home run to center field for the team’s third run. Hadley would add a fourth run in the next inning on a base hit by Wieneke to make it 4-1 after five complete.
With the three-run lead still intact into the bottom of the seventh, the Buttermakers put the Martins away for good with a bases-loaded single by Zwart that drove in a pair of runs. Fairmont would respond with a pair of solo home runs in the eighth and ninth innings off Gilbertson before Zwart stepped into the game with one out and retired the final two Martins hitters to secure the win.