Class 3A District Baseball – One ‘Moore’ game
SPIRIT LAKE – Down 2-1 to Storm Lake with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Estherville Lincoln Central baseball team appeared to be done for another year.
But wait as long as there was one strike left, the Midgets had a chance-a Chance Moore that is.
With Marcus Christensen on first base, the Midgets stayed alive when Cody Prather took a 1-2 pitch and hit a hard grounder to the Storm Lake third baseman. The defender booted the ball. Prather reached on the error with Christensen sliding to third.
Jeremy Hunt stepped to the plate and delivered a double to right to bring Christensen home, tying the game at 2-2.
Then Moore stepped to the plate and delivered a walkoff single to right field. The Storm Lake player dived at the ball, but it bounced through as Prather crossed home plate for a 3-2 win on Monday.
The victory gives ELC the District 2 Championship. the Midgets (22-11) will playa substate game in Storm Lake against Sergeant Bluff-Luton, a 12-10 winner over Bishop Heelan on Monday.
Against Storm Lake (21-10), the Midgets had plenty of chances to put the game away early.
In the bottom of the first inning, Keith Fandel led off with a double followed by a single from Alex Arends and another from Matt Gruhlke to plate one run.
With one out, a single by Scott Schmidt loaded the bases, but Storm Lake turned the double play when Prather hit a grounder to the shortstop.
Defensively, ELC was solid for the first four innings.
Storm Lake did have runners at second and third in the first inning with two outs, but Fandel’s second strikeout ended the threat.
The Tornadoes went down in order in the second inning. In the third inning, Fandel struck out No. 9 batter Zach Miller before giving up a walk to leadoff batter Cort Goodchild. However, ELC turned a double play as the next batter, Mike McCabe, went down swinging and catcher Justin Doyle threw out Goodchild trying to steal second base.
After Storm Lake put runners at first and second with just one out in the fourth, ELC again came up with a double player on a grounder to second baseman Joel Kazmerzak, who flipped to shortstop Arends on the base and he threw to first baseman Marcus Stangl.
The Tornadoes finally broke through in the fifth inning with the bottom of the order.
A leadoff single followed by an ELC error on the attempted sacrifice bunt, put runners at second and third. A pop up gave ELC one out, but Fandel gave up his second walk to load the bases. ELC got a break when the lead runner was caught in a rundown for the second out, but two RBI singles put the Tornadoes ahead before Fandel recorded his eighth strikeout.
Meanwhile the Midgets had chances to score with the bases loaded in the fourth inning, but left wanting.
In the sixth, Moore reached third as he reached base when he was hit by the pitch, went to second on a passed ball and third on a groundout by Fandel, but he was left stranded.
In the top of the seventh, the Tornadoes tried to get an insurance run after Goodchild drew a leadoff walk.
But Coach Chuck Fandel went to senior ace Gruhlke.
After a sacrifice bunt, a groundout and strikeout left Goodchild stranded on third base.
in the top of the seventh, Gruhlke flew out to left field followed by a single by Stangl. Schmidt grounded out, sending pinch runner Christensen to second to set up the game-ending scenario.
“We finally got he big hits when we need them,” said coach Fandel, whose team left 10 baserunners stranded through six innings. “Jeremy came up with the clutch hit and then Chance really came through.”
Keith Fandel earned a no decision as he gave up six hits and five walks while striking out nine batters.
Gruhlke faced just three batters and had one strikeout in earning the win.
Storm Lake000 020 0 – 2 6 2
ELC100 000 2 – 3 10 1
Storm Lake – Seaman (LP). ELC – Fandel, Gruhlke (WP) and Doyle. 2B – ELC: Doyle, Fandel, Hunt.