Springfield Advances to Region Playoffs
The Tigers traveled to Stark for the third time in two weeks hoping the third time would be the charm, as the first two meetings with the Longhorns hadn't gone so well. From the time the first pitch was thrown, things were looking up for Springfield to advance to the region playoffs for the first time since 2000.
Kyle Kraska started things with a bang as he drilled the first pitch of the game over the right-center field fence to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Matt Tews took the hill and shut the Longhorns down, until a rough third inning. Stark took a 3-1 lead on two home runs and aided by a Springfield error. Some in attendance may have thought, "here we go again", as the Longhorn bats started hitting balls over the fence, but the Tigers weren't going down that easy.
After Tews retired Stark in order in the bottom of the fourth, the Springfield bats came alive in a big way. Kraska started things with a double. Matt Baier followed with a base hit. Brady Schwab got the Tigers within one with an RBI base hit. Ryan Sturm laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the base runners up to second and third with one out. The game was tied when the Tiger runners each advanced a base on a wild pitch. Bob Fink followed by driving in a run with a single giving the Tigers the lead. Jim Eckstein drove a pitch into the sweet corn down the right field line for a two-run homer. Brandon Wilhelmi added a solo homer to complete the scoring in the fifth with Springfield leading, 7-3.
Springfield added three more runs in the sixth on base hits by Sturm and Eckstein, as well as, a bases loaded walk to Fink. The Tigers scored their final run in the seventh when Andy Moritz led-off with a walk. Singles by Schwab and Sturm moved him around the bases making the score, 11-3.
Tews scattered three Longhorn hits after the rough third inning, going the first seven. Jon Diede came on in relief pitching the final two frames, allowing three runs with four uncharacteristic walks.
Springfield will participate in the Region 2C playoffs starting on Sunday, August 5. Before the region starts, they will play New Ulm at home on Wednesday night to determine the division winner and draft order.
|R. Sturm, 1B||4||1||2||1||0||0|
|C. Sturm, LF||-||-||-||-||-||-|
|Tews (W, 8-3)||7||6||3||1||2||7|