Chandler gives RTR walk-off win over MCC

Photo by Kim Nelson: Russell-Tyler-Ruthton pitcher Kolby Louwagie hits a pitch during a baseball game against Murray County Central on Thursday in Ruthton. The Knights defeated the Rebels 6-5 on a seventh-inning walk-off.

RUTHTON — On a beautiful day for baseball, fans saw a good pitcher’s duel between Murray County Central’s Teague Meyer and Russell-Tyler-Ruthton’s Kolby Louwagie.  Each team scored early, but it was the sixth inning of the game that had all of the fireworks. MCC scored three unearned runs in the top of the sixth and RTR answered back with three runs in the bottom of the sixth.  But it was Drew Chandler’s walk-off single in the seventh inning that gave the Knights a 6-5 victory.

“We fought back today, everybody showed up, and it was a team effort,” RTR head coach Danny Moffitt said. “We have been improving every game and I hope we can keep the momentum going into the playoffs.  We may be a 6 or 7 seed, which is where we probably belong, so this is a great win for us going into the sections next week.”

With Gavin Schreurs coming on in relief in the top of the seventh, the sophomore put down the Rebels in order, and that set up the game-winner for RTR.  Seth Cowell got a one-out single, and Blake Christianson drew a walk.  Chandler stepped up to the plate and drilled a single to center to drive in Cowell for the winning run.

“It is always good to get some momentum coming into the playoffs,” Chandler said. “We finally were able to have good pitching by Kolby Louwagie and good clutch hitting in the same game.  If we keep hitting and pitching well, we will be alright.”

Louwagie pitched the first five innings for RTR, allowing two earned runs and three unearned on six hits and a walk. In relief, Schreurs pitched two scoreless frames, holding MCC to one hit and striking out a batter.

RTR opened up the scoring in the first inning with Louwagie reaching on an error.  After a Cowell single and a walk to Christianson, a passed ball allowed Louwagie to score the go-ahead run.  

In the top of the third inning, the Rebels came back with two runs to take the lead. Gavin Gillette opened the inning with a single and Meyer followed that up with a double.  Aiden Dierks then drove them both home with a single to give the Rebels a 2-1 lead.

Things stayed the same until the fifth inning when an Eli Determan double off the fence was followed by an RBI single to center by Gabe Elton to tie the game at 2-2.  

Meyer pitched the first six innings for MCC, allowing four earned runs and one unearned on eight hits. He also struck out eight batters with just one walk.

The sixth inning started with both Owen Gillette and Dugan Kluis reaching on errors and a walk to Cayden Veldhuisen loaded the bases.  After a wild pitch allowed Gillette to score, Meyer delivered a double to drive in two runs, giving MCC a 6-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth.  

In the bottom of the sixth, started things off with a triple to deep center field. Christianson promptly drove him in with a single and Chandler followed up with a single.  Gabe Elton then drove home two runs with a single to center to tie the game at 5-5.

“We finally got some hits with runners in scoring position today,” Cowell, who accumulated three hits and the game-winning run, said. “It was fun. We never quit and everybody contributed.  Louwagie pitched well today and Gavin Schreurs came through in the clutch.  It was a great win for us against a really good team”

“It was a very competitive game, and unfortunately we fell on the wrong side of it today,” MCC head coach Paul Counter said. “We have been pretty fortunate this season to win a lot of close games but today it didn’t go our way.  We probably had it coming, with a couple of bloop hits, a walk, then just like that, the game is tied.  But we have had a great year, and you can’t let one game affect us.  We have another game tomorrow, and we have to be ready to go.  I thought Teague Meyer did a great job today, but he may have run out of gas at the end.  For the most part, we made the plays behind him. But we fell one play short.”

  MCC is now 11-3, and RTR evens their record at 7-7. RTR will go on the road to face MACCRAY today at 4:30 p.m. while MCC will host Adrian-Ellsworth at 3:30 p.m.


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