By Mike Marsnik
The Hutchinson Huskies trailed for eight innings but came from behind to beat Sauk Centre 5-2 in 11 innings Friday afternoon.
The Titans struck first with a pair of runs in the third. Brian Benning homered to left with one out. Dylan Haskamp then singled up the middle and took second on a wild pitch from Huskies' starter Evan Kohli. Haskamp scored on Andrew Rousslance's ensuing base hit to left.
The score would remain 2-0 until the seventh when the Huskies bunched together three hits. Leadoff hitter Jayden Fleck and No. 2 hitter Matt Piechowski both singled to open the frame, then Kohli, hitting cleanup, bounced one over the center field fence for a ground rule double, ending Titans' starter Shane Trattles' night. Piechowski was stranded at third when sidewinding reliever Brian Benning caught Marcus Hahn looking at a curveball.
The Huskies tied the score in the top of the ninth. With one out, Piechowski singled, Jake Wedland drew a walk, and Kohli drove in Piechowski with a hit to left field. Benning intentionally walked Hahn to load the bases. Jake Arlt then hit a grounder to third baseman Alex Kowski who threw home to get the lead runner on a force out. Cody Arlt, who went 3-for-6 in the game, then flew out to center to end the inning with the score knotted at 2.
The Huskies got three runs on four hits in the top of the 11th. Wedland scored what turned out to be the winning run, scoring from second on a Hahn single to left. Piechowski also had three hits as part of Hutchinson's 18-hit attack. Jeremiah VanDerSteeg pitched 6-1/3 scoreless innings to notch the win. He took over for Kohli, who came up limping after recording two outs in the fourth. He remained in the game as Hutchinson's designated hitter. Hunter Hart, draftee from Delano, earned a save wtih a one-two-three 11th inning in his home park, striking out the final two batters of the game.
Titans' starter Shane Trattles scattered 11 hits, allowing only one run in his 6-1/3 innings. He pitched into and out of jams in the fourth and sixth innings. Benning was tagged with the loss. He blanked the Huskies in the 10th, but ran into a buzz saw in the 11th when they scored three runs on four hits.
Waterville walks off Fairmont 3-2 in the ninth
Waterville Indians' DH Dalton Grose scored from second on a Sam Stier line drive to right in the bottom of the ninth inning Friday night in a walk-off win over the Fairmont Martins in what was, for the most part, a pitchers' duel.
Indians' starter Luke Sellner allowd two runs, only one earned, on five hits over seven innings. He fanned 10 and walked only two, but got a no decision. Bladyn Bartlett kept the Martins off the board in the final two innings for the victory. He faced eight batters, striking out five and walking two.
The visiting Martins opened the scoring in the third. Blake Cranner reached on an error and Dalen Keltgen coaxed a walk. Fairmont's ninth-place hitter Owen Wulter tried twice to advance the runners with a bunt, but failed. Sellner struck him out. Leadoff hitter Ethan Hurn singled to left, loading the bases, and Cranner scored from third on a grounder to first by Sam Schwiege.
Waterville tied it in the bottom of the inning. Grose led off the inning with a single. Tom Gannon dropped down a bunt to move him to second. With two out, Stier drove him in with an opposite-field single to right.
The Martins took the lead in the fourth. Levi Becker opened the frame with a double to center. One pitch later, he scored on a Christian Petschke single to right. The Indians tied it back up an inning later. Gannon led off with a broken bat hit to short. Ty Kaus bunted him to second and he made his way to third on a passed ball. Stier then hit a come-backer to Martins' starter Collin Lovell, draftee from Windom, who threw to third baseman Schwieger, catching Gannon between third and home and tagging him out. Waterville chose to intentionally walk Shane Sellner with two out. That brought up Indians' cleanup hitter Ben Boran, who singled up the middle, scoring Stier from second.
Grose went 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Stier was 2-for-5 with one scored and two RBI, including the game-winner off Tyler Tennyson, who took the loss.
Hutchinson and Waterville will face off at 11 a.m. Sunday in a quarterfinal match at Maple Lake.