One for the books
What a difference one out makes.
Armstrong-Ringsted had Estherville Lincoln Central on the proverbial ropes with a 6-1 lead and two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
However, the final out was too elusive.
ELC came up with three hits, two walks and a hit batter, but it was A-R’s first error that allowed the tying run to score.
With the go-ahead run on third, the Midgets came up a hit short, but then outscored the Mustangs 2-1 in the eighth inning for an 8-7 win.
ELC coach Chuck Fandel complemented A-R starter Ridge Christiansen for his effort.
“He threw a good game and kept us off balance,” said Fandel. “He did a good job of getting two outs before anything happened.”
Conversely, ELC starter Jeremy Hunt and reliever Cody Prather often put runners on base.
“But they kept their composer,” said Fandel of the two sophomores. “Jeremy did a good job in his second varsity start and it was Cody’s second time (pitching) varsity.
ELC scored its first run in the bottom of the first when Matt Gruhlke and Marcus Stangl hit back-to-back doubles.
A-R tied the game in the bottom of the second when Travis Hantelman singled and then Brett Tigges hit a grounder to third baseman Prather. Prather’s throw was off the mark allowing Hantelman to score.
The loss to ELC was first baseman Marcus Stangl who came up hobbling when he twisted leg running after the errant throw. He was done for the evening as Gruhlke took over first base and Marcus Christensen went to the otufield.
The Mustangs took the lead in the top of the fourth when Dillion McBride singled, Shaun Ash reached on an error and Ethan Eisenbacher came up with an RBI single.
In the fifth inning, Spencer Clausen drew a walk followed by a single from Logan Anderson and an RBI double from Ridge Christiansen. ELC finally got two outs as Hunt recorded a strikeout and Anderson was tagged out going home on a bunt by Brett Tigges.
However, McBride came up with a two-run double for a 5-1 A-R lead.
A double play in the top of the sixth helped ELC’s defense. After a one-out single by Tonderum, shortstop Alex Arends scooped up a grounder by Clausen, stepped on second and threw to first.
However, A-R added a run in the top of the seventh as Prather relieved Hunt and gave up a couple walks. With two outs, McBride hit an RBI single for a 6-1 Mustang lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Prather helped his cause with a leadoff single, then A-R second baseman Ethan Eisenbacher caught a pop up by Chance Moore down the first base line. Hunt reached on a fielder’s choice with Prather forced out at second.
With two outs, No. 9 batter Justin Doyle was able to draw a walk to put runners at second and first. Keith Fandel and Arends came up with back-to-back singles to score two runs. A-R intentionally walked Matt Gruhlke to load the bases.
Spencer Johnson stepped in for his first at-bat and was hit by the first pitch as ELC cut the deficit to 6-4.
Scott Schmidt then hit a hard grounder at the A-R shortstop Clausen that allowed two runs to score and tie the game.
Prather ended the inning on a pop up.
A-R retook the lead in the eighth as Eisenbacher drew a walk. ELC appeared ready to get out of the inning as Tonderum hit a grounder to short and ELC forced out Eisenbacher at second.
Moments later, Tonderum tried to steal second and was thrown out by catcher Doyle.
Prather gave up another walk though to Clausen who scored on an Anderson double to the left-center field gap.
ELC wasn’t done yet though.
With one out, Hunt reached on A-R’s second error and Doyle came up with a single. Fandel was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Arends came up with the hit to bring in the two runs.
In the win, Prather gave up two hits and walked three. Hunt pitched six innings, striking out five batters while giving up eight hits and three walks.
Christiansen gave up six hits, struck out thee batters and walked five. Eisenbacher gave up two hits in the loss.
At the plate for ELC, Arends was 3-5 with three RBIs. Fandel was 1-4 with an RBI, Gruhlke was 1-3 with a double and Stangl was 1-1.
For A-R, McBride was 3-4 with three RBIs, Tonderum was 2-3 and Anderson was 2-3 with an RBI.
ELC (11-8, 4-3) returns to lakes Conference play at Spirit Lake today.
A-R (6-7) is at Clay Central-Everly.
A-R 010 130 11 – 7 10 2
ELC 100 000 52 – 8 8 3
A-R – Christiansen, Eisenbacher (LP) and Tonderum. ELC – Hunt, Prather (WP) and Doyle. 2B – AR: Christiansen, McBride, Anderson. ELC: Gruhlke, Stangl, Arends.