Alexandria’s offense batted .186 through two tournament games.
“That’s probably a bit misleading,” Canova/Howard shortstop Trevor Oswald said after his team lost 8-1 to the Angels Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. “They’re decent hitters.”
Alexandria used one big inning, scoring seven runs in the bottom of the third, to advance to tonight’s semifinal round. The Angels, who got another strong pitching performance from Trever Vermeuelen, clash with fellow District 5B and Sunshine League rival Parkston Mudcats at 7:30 p.m. today for a berth in Sunday’s state championship.
To get to the round of four, Alexandria sent 13 batters to the plate in the third, which started out with back-to-back errors from The Gang.
“They gave us some,” Alexandria manager/starting catcher Chris Marek said, “and we took advantage of them giving us opportunities to score.”
Cory Marek hit a pop up to Nick Koepsell at second base and reached on the dropped ball. Cole Wenande dropped down a nice bunt and reached on a throwing error from third baseman Lincoln Gassman.
Peyton Smith had an RBI single to right, Jordan Gau had a two-RBI double down the left-field line and John Greicar had a one-out RBI single, helping Alexandria to a 5-0 lead.
“We definitely capitalized on the opportunities they gave us,” said Greicar, who was the game’s only multiple-hit player with two singles. “We’re manufacturing runs in different ways and hoping to keep our offense going.”
Greicar and Trevor Doyle each added runs in the third, the inning Canova/Howard starter Jared Hegdahl was pulled. The righthander gave up two earned runs and six hits.
“That just killed us,” Oswald said of Alexandria’s big inning. “It deflated us completely.”
Vermeulen threw six innings, picked up the win and allowed one hit, a single to right from Gassman. Vermeulen, who also had a single at the plate in the seventh, walked one and struck out seven. He now has 24 strikeouts in two state tournament outings.
Alexandria, which had eight hits and capitalized off seven Canova/Howard errors, added its final run in the sixth off a bases-loaded walk to Chris Marek.
Gau recorded the final nine outs for Alexandria to give Vermeulen some rest with the large lead. He picked up the save, struck out four, allowed one hit and one earned run.
NOTES: Oswald had the only other hit for Howard/Canova, a double off Gau in the top of the ninth. … Dan Noonan scored The Gang’s lone run off a wild pitch in the ninth. … Zach Weber pitched 5 1/3 innings of relief for Howard/Canova, striking out 11 of the 23 batters he faced. … Wenande reached base all four times he was at the plate. He got on once by hit by pitch, twice on errors and had a single in the third.Talk about it