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Mudhens jump to 2-0 lead over Aces

By Brett Boese

Red Wing Republican-Eagle

A bloop and a blast gave Miesville a commanding 2-0 series lead over Red Wing in the best-of-five Section 1B playoff series by way of two walkoff winners.

Brian Schmitz's three-run homer capped a 10-run rally and sent the Mudhens home with a 12-2 victory in Game 1. The Miesville win left the Aces scratching their heads as to how the game slipped away so quickly after Andy Gibart allowed just two runs over the first six innings.

Game 2 was, perhaps, even more disaheartening for the visitors.

Miesville third baseman Andrew Werner volleyed a soft shot into shallow right field to score pinch runner Matt Hanse in the bottom of the ninth to give the Mudhens a 3-2 victory Sunday night. Red Wing had claimed a 1-0 lead in the fourth and rallied again in the top of the ninth to tie the game 2-2. Many sat in the dugout hanging their heads well after the stands had cleared.

"They're very frustrated right now," Werner said of the Aces. "They've got out to two early leads against us, but this team never gives up."

Most of the Aces' frustration was directed at the umpires in Sunday's loss. They were called out a half dozen times and always let the home plate umpire know they disagreed with the call.

Red Wing manager Corey Tauer and bench coach Dan Plein also charged out of the dugout to dispute a close call at first base in the fifth inning that scored Miesville's second run.

Tauer was given his last warning in the seventh inning after he brought up the game the umping duo had worked earlier in the day. A tag play at home plate was reversed after an appeal by Hastings' Adam Barta, which sent Dundas manager Bill Nelson into a frenzy, according to Tauer.

Hastings won that game to even the other Section 1B series at one game apiece.

"I feel like the umpires bailed out (Miesville pitcher Chris) Olean on the mound and gave them that run in the fifth inning," Tauer said. "In a game that's this big and when the umps are doing their second game of the day, that's tough."

Naturally, the Mudhens thought the game was called properly. Miesville first base coach Rod Niebur swears that Werner beat the throw to first in the controversial fifth inning, and Olean thought the strike zone was fair.

"You can quote me on this - the umpires had exactly no impact on the outcome of this game," said Olean, who allowed one run on five hits in seven innings.

It's Miesville's fourth straight win against the Aces, with two coming at home and two on the road.

Werner has recorded the game-winning hit in two of the last three games, including one at each venue.

He's confident the Mudhens will finish the job Wednesday night at the Red Wing Athletic Field.

"We're going to go hard after them," he said. "We want to get this thing done in three."

Red Wing, which has struggled with clutch hitting, welcomes the change of scenery.

It will hand the ball to lefty Josh Thygesen with the season on the line.

"I think the morale of the team, although we're frustrated, we'll be ready to go in Red Wing," Brandon LaRue said.

"If we win three games, it's something that we'll be talking about for a long, long time," Tauer added. "We just have to believe."