Bucs remain unbeaten in playoffs
The Blue Earth Area Buccaneers remain undefeated in Section 2AA baseball action. The No. 4-seeded Bucs beat the No. 9-seeded Belle Plaine Tigers 4-3 on Thursday night, May 30, in Blue Earth.
The Bucs held a 2-0 lead until the Tigers scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning. BEA responded by scoring two runs in the bottom of the fifth to retake the lead 4-3 and then held Belle Plaine scoreless the last two innings.
“We made two bad plays in the top of the fifth but we did not let it snowball, we bounced back,” coach Todd Schmidtke said.
The Tigers put at least one man on base in each of the first four innings but the BEA defense rose to the challenge to prevent any damage, including a 6-4-3 double play to end the top of the fourth.
Neither team scored in the first inning.The Bucs scored one run in the bottom of the second. Koby Nagel led off the inning with an infield single, Keegan O’Brien was hit by a pitch. Following a strike out, Gavin Storbeck was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Brayden Barnett drew a walk to force in Nagel and give BEA a 1-0 lead.
The Maroon and Gold added another run in the bottom of the third. Anders Fering singled with one out and went to third on Nagel’s ground-rule double.
O’Brien hit a grounder to the shortstop who threw to the catcher to get Fering out on a controversial play at the plate. Nagel took third on the play with O’Brien reaching first base. With Luke Mertens at the plate, O’Brien broke early for second and the Tiger’s pitcher was called for a balk which allowed Nagel to score to make it 2-0 in favor of the Bucs.
Belle Paine had runners on second and third in the fifth inning when Schmidtke tried calling a timeout to make a pitching change. Storbeck had started his motion and heard the call for timeout. He paused, which resulted in the umpires calling a balk and allowing the runner from third to score. An error and a double plated two more Tiger runners. The Bucs avoided further damage when Nagel picked off a runner a third base to end the inning.
Trailing 3-2 going into the bottom of the fifth inning, BEA wasted no time responding.
Karson Legred led off with a double. Kean Hicks courtesy ran for Legred and went to third on a passed ball. The catcher threw to the third baseman attempting to get Hicks out but the ball sailed into left field which scored Hicks and tied the game 3-3.
Following a fly out, Nagel walked, took second on a passed ball and third on a wild pitch. A popout and a walk to Mertens put runners on first and third with two outs. Storbeck hit a hard grounder the Tiger’s third baseman could not handle to plate Nagel with the eventual winning run.
“Belle Plaine is a good team, they play a tough schedule,” Schmidtke commented. “I am very proud of our guys.”
Storbeck started the game and pitched into the fifth inning. He allowed two runs on three hits. He issued six walks and struck out two.
Nagle relieved Storbeck in the fifth inning and struck out three and walking none. He gave up two hits and one unearned run.
BEA and St. Peter are the only undefeated teams remaining in the double elimination tournament. The Bucs and the Saints faced off on Saturday, June 1, at 11 a.m. in Waterville. The Faribault County Register will have the results of that game and other section games in next week’s edition.
BEA 8, KW 1
The No. 4-seeded Blue Earth Area Buccaneers defeated the Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights 8-1 in Section 2AA baseball action on Tuesday, May 28, at Veterans Field in Blue Earth.
“We played really well today,” coach Todd Schmidtke said. “We were focused and played aggressive. It was a good team effort.”
Hunter Bleess relieved starting pitcher Gavin Storbeck in the second inning and threw six scoreless innings of relief. He gave up one hit, struck out eight Knight batters, walked five and hit one batter.
Kenyon-Wanamingo scored one run in the first inning and were threatening to add more in the second when their first two batters walked. Coach Schmidtke decided to make a pitching change and brought in Bleess who proceeded to strike out the next three Knights to come to the plate.
BEA scored in every inning. They scored two runs in the first inning to erase the Knight’s lead and put the Bucs on top for good.
Caelan Sanders walked with one out in the bottom of the first inning and stole second base. The fleet- footed junior advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Karson Legred’s double. Kean Hicks courtesy ran for Legred and moved to third on Anders Fering’s infield out. Koby Nagel’s single brought Hicks home with the Bucs’ second run.
A three-run third inning built the Maroon and Gold’s lead to 5-2. Brayden Barnett singled, Bleess walked and Sanders bunted for a base hit. With the bases loaded, Legred was hit by a pitch to bring home Barnett. Bleess was tagged out on a close play at the plate while trying to score on a wild pitch. Fering came through with a single to plate two more runners to give the Bucs a 5-1 lead.
The Bucs added single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to seal the 8-1 victory.
Sanders finished the game with a hit, two walks and three runs scored. Legred hit an RBI double. Fering hit a single for two RBIs. Luke Mertens and Barnett each had two hits for the Bucs. Koby Nagel had one hit and reached base two times on errors
.BEA 8, LCWM 5
Blue Earth Area defeated the Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial Knights 8-5 in the opening round of the Section 2AA baseball playoffs in Blue Earth on May 23.
The No. 4-seed Bucs, who came into the game with a season record of 14-6, had built a lead of 7-0 through the first four innings of the contest.
BEA used four walks, a bloop single, a sacrifice fly and a double to score five runs in the bottom of the second inning. Walks to Luke Mertens and Gavin Storbeck sandwiched around a Keegan O’Brien bloop single loaded the bases. Walks to Brayden Barnett and Hunter Bleess brought in the first two Buccaneer runs. Caelan Sanders hit a short pop up between home plate and first base which had the pitcher, first baseman and catcher all giving chase. Courtesy runner Will Howard saw no one was covering home after the catch and scampered in with the Bucs third run.
Karson Legred stepped to the plate and delivered a double to the left field corner to drive in two more runs.
The Bucs added two more runs in the fourth and one in the sixth while LCWM scored single runs in the fourth and fifth to make the score 8-2 in favor of BEA as the Knights came to bat in the top of the seventh.
LCWM scored three runs and had the bases loaded with zero outs when a one-hop liner was snared by Mertens who stepped on third base for a forceout and then threw the ball to catcher Legred to complete a double play. Pitcher Bleess struck out the next batter to end the rally and preserve the Buccaneers win.
Storbeck started the game and went five innings allowing only one hit and two total runs, one which was earned. He also struck out six and walked one to get credit for the win.
Legred and O’Brien each had two hits for BEA. Legred finished with three RBIs while Anders Fering had two RBIs.