Pirates advance to State
The Blue Earth Pirates will be heading to their 11th consecutive State Tournament.
Two victories over Morristown and Minnesota Lake in the Regional Tournament sealed the deal last weekend.
“Even though we are guaranteed a State berth, we still want to compete this next weekend and earn the No. 1 seed,” player/manager Lee Hodges says. “The No. 1 seed from each region gets a bye in the first round of the State Tournament and that would be great to have.”
The State Tournament starts on Aug. 16 in Jordan and Belle Plaine.
Pirates 11, Minn Lake 0
The Pirates (who have yet to lose a playoff game) defeated Minnesota Lake 11-0 last Sunday, in eight innings and punched their ticket to the State Tournament.
Blue Earth tallied 15 hits, compared to only two for Minnesota Lake.
Aaron Wendt pitched five innings, gave up one hit and had three strikeouts.
Wendt was also 3 for 5 with four RBI. He opened the game in the fifth inning with a three-run homerun.
The Pirates led 8-0 after the fifth inning.
Lee Hodges was 3 for 4 with two doubles.
Cody Sukalski went 3 for 4 with four RBI. He hit a bases clearing double in the fifth inning.
“With all the talent we have on this team, we truly expected to make the State Tournament,” player/manager Lee Hodges explains. “Not just make it, but we want to perform well, too. It will be tough to beat us if we keep hitting the way we are.”
Pirates 5, Morristown 4
The Pirates almost gave it away, but luck was on their side in the opening Regional game last Saturday.
Their game against the Morristown Morries concluded with a game-ending double pickle.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” player/manager Lee Hodges says. “We had to sweat it out, but at the end of the day, we came out with the win.”
Up 5-4 heading into the ninth inning, Hodges took the mound to complete the game.
He gave up two consecutive singles and a sacrifice-bunt which moved the runners into scoring position.
“We thought they would try a squeeze play and tie the game up,” Hodges says. “I threw a slider and the hitter missed. We caught the man on third base in a run-down and tagged him out.”
In the same play, the Pirates also caught the second baserunner in a run-down trying to reach third base.
Hodges pitched nine innings, gave up three earned runs and registered seven strikeouts.
Morristown struck first by scoring one run in the top of the fourth inning with a light blooper to left field.
The Pirates answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. Bobby Olson brought home two batters and David Franta also had an RBI.
Blue Earth tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Aaron Wendt reached on a throwing error and stole second base. John Franta then drove Wendt home with a single.
The Morries used a wild pitch, an error and two hits to roar back and score three runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Leading the Pirates was John Franta, who went 3 for 3 with an RBI.
Olson was 2 for 4 with two RBI.
The Pirates play Hampton, in Hampton, on Saturday, Aug. 9.
Game results will be in the next Faribault County Register.