Mudhens, Hawks advance
One big inning and solid defense lifted Miesville to an 8-3 victory Wednesday over Red Wing. The win gave the Mudhens a sweep of the best-of-five Section 1 playoff series and a trip to the Class B state tournament.
It is the third year in a row that Miesville has advanced to the Minnesota Baseball Association state tournament and the 24th time in team history.
"The better team won the series," Red Wing player/manager Corey Tauer said. "... It seems whenever we scored, they responded. In baseball, that's so important."
Luke Rasmussen earned the win, allowing three runs in seven innings. He surrendered six hits, struck out six, walked one and hit two batters.
Rasmussen was not at his best, according to Miesville player/manager Chris Olean, but he was aided by his defense. He received help from Nate Otto in particular.
"Otto made some great plays at short to get Rasmussen out of jams," Tauer said. "That's what you have to do to win games like that."
Andrew Werner pitched the final two innings for Miesville.
The Mudhens offense scored four runs in the top of the second inning to take an early lead. Brian Schmitz laced a one-out double down the left-field line to start the rally.
Red Wing starter Josh Thygesen induced the next batter, Garrett Retka, to hit a groundball to shortstop, but the ball skipped through Kyle Blahnik's legs and Schmitz scored.
Johnny Camp followed with a single -- the first of four consecutive hits for the Mudhens. Next, Dave Johnson drove in Retka with a double.
With the infield in, Evan Lucius hit a groundball past second baseman Adam Thygesen to score Camp. Mike Wilfarht capped the scoring with an RBI single.
The Aces trimmed Miesville's lead to three in the bottom half of the inning. Jimmy Bohmbach led off the inning with a walk and scored on Paul Hartmann's sacrifice fly.
The Mudhens added to their lead with two more runs off Josh Thygesen in the fourth inning.
Thygesen allowed six runs (five earned) in 3 1/3 innings. He gave up 10 hits and struck out one.
"Out team offense was very good top to bottom," Olean said. "We executed on a number of bunts."
Andy Gibart came in to relieve Josh Thygesen in the fourth. Gibart surrendered two unearned runs on three hits in five innings. Luke Halvorsen pitched the rest of the game.
Tauer hit a two-run double in the sixth inning to pull the Aces (24-18 overall) within three, but the Mudhens scored runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
By defeating Hastings 7-0 in the seeding game, the Mudhens earned Section 1's top seed for the Class B state tournament and avoided having to play the Mankato Twins.
Mankato, the top team in Section 4, features pitcher Kevin Dixon. He lost at Miesville 2-0 on May 30, but allowed just two hits. Dixon was 9-11 with a 4.41 ERA in 2008 for the Akron Aeros, the AA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.
"We didn't want to see him all that much," Mudhens player/manager Chris Olean said.
Instead, Miesville will play Section 4's second-seeded team, Marshall, at 6 p.m. Friday in Gaylord, Minn. The first round of the Class B tournament is single elimination.
Of the 20 players on the A's roster, 16 have attended, or are attending, Southwest Minnesota State in Marshall.
"There are a lot of young guys; it should be a good challenge for us," Olean said.
Another advantage of beating Hastings was the Mudhens received the top pick in the draft. They added Red Wing players Jimmy Bohmbach, Andy Gibart and Augie Lindmark to their post season roster.
Miesville hit five home runs Sunday in its victory over the Hawks. Dave Olson hit two and added an RBI single in the third. Andrew Werner, Garrett Retka and Evan Lucius also hit home runs. Werner leads the team with eight homers this season.
Erik Olson earned the win, throwing a four-hit complete game. He struck out four Hastings batters and didn't walk one.
The Hawks drafted Red Wing's Steve Boldt and will play the Mankato Twins at 8:30 p.m. Friday in Gaylord.