Class 3A District Baseball: Just three hits and you’re out
Estherville Lincoln Central did nearly everything it needed to beat Storm Lake, except for one-get hits.
For a team that has struggled defensively at times, the Midgets were errorless behind starting pitcher Joel Kazmerzak in the 2-0 Class 3A District loss on Monday.
ELC (16-17) had runners on third base in four of the seven innings-but twice the Midgets went down on strikes for the third out. ELC left seven baserunners stranded on the night.
“We got runnes at third, but didn’t get the hits we needed,” said ELC coach Chuck Fandel. “We played well defenseively and Joel pitched a good game.”
The Midgets started well enough as Marcus Christensen led off the bottom of the first inning with a double and Scott Schmidt reached on the first of Storm Lake’s four errors.
However Keith Fandel hit into a double play for the first two outs as Christensen moved to third. ELC loaded the bases as Alex Arends was hit by a pitch and Cody Prather drew a walk.
But Hunt was the first strikeout-victim of starter Nolan Cone.
In the third inning, Schmidt drew a one-out walk, stole second base and went to third when Fandel grounded out to shortstop. This time, Arends was Cone’s second strikeout of the night.
Prather led off the fourth inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Hunt. On a pickoff play, the ball squirted into the outfield and Prather headed to third. He slid in safely as the throw was off the mark and as the ball went around, Prather took a chance at going home, but was thrown out at the plate to end the threat.
ELC’s last best chance came in the fifth inning as Doyle reached on an error. Courtesy runner Jake Lange moved to second on the sacrifice bunt by Kazmerzak and to third on a single by Christensen. But Schmidt flew out to right field on a ball that wasn’t deep enough for Lange to tag and score and Fandel ended the inning on a groundout.
Storm Lake brought in Bobbie Brown to shut down ELC. The Midgets’ only base runner in the final two innings was a two-out walk to Hunt in the sixth inning.
The Tornadoes earned both their runs. In the third, they came up with a one-out double and a two-out double to plate the first run.
In the sixth inning, Brown led off with a double, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Carson Anderson and scored on a squeeze bunt by Jesus Garcia.
Kazmerzak pitched six innings in the loss. He gave up seven hits while striking out seven batters and walking three.
Fandel closed out the seventh. He gave up one hit and struck out one batter.
For Storm Lake, Cone struck out three batters, walked two and hit one while giving up three hits. Brown struck out one batter and walked one.
Christensen was 2-4 for ELC and Prather was 1-2.
ELC bids farewell to three seniors-Keith Fandel, Chance Moore and Scott Schmidt.
“I thank the seniors for their hard work and appreciate their efforts throughout their careers,” said coach Fandel.
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WP: Nolan Cone. LP: Joel Kazmerzak.