Mudhens beat Hawks 5-1 in perplexing game at Jack Ruhr Field
The Miesville Mudhens withstood a gritty Hastings Hawks team Friday night at Jack Ruhr Field and won 5-1 to sweep the season series between the two teams. With the win over the Hawks and a 4-1 victory over the Elko Express on Sunday, Miesville secured the No. 2 seed in Section 1B and will face the No. 7 Rochester Royals in a best-of-three series. Game one between the two teams is this upcoming Friday in Miesville and then Sunday in Rochester. Should a game three be necessary, they will return to Jack Ruhr Field on Friday, August 10.
Meanwhile, the Hawks won on Sunday as well over the Royals 4-3 at Veterans Park. However, Hastings is the No. 8 seed for the playoffs and will face No. 1-seeded Northfield. They will play at Northfield on Friday and then back in Hastings on Sunday, with game three being back in Northfield if needed.
Hawks vs. Mudhens is always entertaining
The rivalry between the two teams is well known and there is a history of sparks and some tension between Hastings and Miesville. The start of Friday's game looked to go down the same path at the start when Mudhens' starter Thomas Bruchu hit two batters in the first inning and two more in the second, but had the fourth waved off as the umpire behind the plate ruled Nick Horsch did not make an effort to move out of the way.
However, the game soon took a strange swing as both teams and fans from both towns voiced their displeasure with the two umpires. Players and managers from Hastings and Miesville loudly complained the entire game about an inconsistent and moving strike zone. The umpire behind the plate called a strikeout several times before realizing he had the count wrong. A clear trap on a fly ball in the outfield by Miesville's Joey Werner was called an out when the umpire in field appeared to not pay attention to the play. Finally, on what would have been the last out of the game, a balk was called seemingly out of nowhere on Hastings' Jesus Arteaga well after the play was over.
What was a hard-fought game was overshadowed by its complexities. Miesville took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Nate Hammes scored on a wild pickoff throw by Hastings' starter Jordan Jeske. The Hawks responded in the top of the fourth despite a few baserunning errors when Jason Greeder forced an error that brought in Cole Benson. The Mudhens went ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by Austin Murr that scored Jordy Horsch. Miesville then broke the game open with three runs in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI-single by Brian Sprout, followed by two errors in one play by the Hawks which allowed two more runs to score. Hastings was unable to make a comeback and the final was 5-1.
Jeske threw seven solid innings for the Hawks, giving up five runs (only three earned) on nine hits with five walks and five strikeouts. Arteaga threw one inning in relief, while offensively Hastings struggled to amass hits. They scraped across just one run on four hits (Nick Horsch, Blake Warner, Benson and Greeder) while Geeder had the only RBI.
For Miesville, Bruchu was wild but effective in his five innings, in which he gave up just one run on two hits with five walks and eight strikeouts to get the win. Ben Zocher made an appearance pitched one inning of relief and then Jacob Dickmeyer threw the last three innings to prevent a Hawks comeback. The Mudhens racked up five runs on 11 hits, with Werner, Murr, Sprout, Reed Collins and Dickmeyer all having two apiece.