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Amateur Baseball: Thygesen delivers birthday blast in Game 1 win

Red Wing second baseman Adam Thygesen (right) gets congratulated by his Aces teammates after hitting a grand slam in the fourth inning of Sunday's Section 1B playoff game against Miesville at Jack Ruhr Field.1 / 4
Miesville second baseman Charles Bruchu dives but cannot come up with a sharp grounder during Sunday's Section 1B playoff game against Red Wing in Miesville.2 / 4
Red Wing's JT Cunningham unloads on a pitch during Sunday's Section 1B playoff game against Miesville at Jack Ruhr Field. Cunningham got the win after throwing three scoreless relief innings.3 / 4
Miesville's Colin Keefe (left) gets congratulated by teammate Tyler Beaulieu after hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning Sunday against Red Wing at Jack Ruhr Field.4 / 4

MIESVILLE – On his 24th birthday, Red Wing second baseman Adam Thygesen gift-wrapped a victory for the Aces.

Leading second-seeded Miesville 3-0 in the top of the fourth inning after a single by Ty Buck, the bases were loaded for Thygesen. And with one crack of the bat, Thygesen put the Aces firmly in control, paving the way for a 7-4 Game 1 victory at Jack Ruhr Field Sunday in the second round of the Section 1B tournament.

“I don’t remember any other birthday like this,” Thygesen said. “It was a fun one, that’s for sure.

“I got a pitch and I got a good swing on it. I didn’t have great at-bats the rest of the game, but sometimes, you run into a fastball every once in a while.”

Up 1-0 in the three-game series, third-seeded Red Wing will look for the series sweep Tuesday at the Red Wing Athletic Field.

“Our hats off to Red Wing. They played a good game,” said Mudhens manager/center fielder Matt Van Der Bosch, “but we’ll be looking forward to Tuesday.”

With offense hard to come by early on, Red Wing got on the board in the top of the third inning as Mike Stegora came home on a two-out single by Zach Garner.

For the first three innings, Miesville could not come up with an answer despite Red Wing committing two early errors. Aces’ starting pitcher Jordan Warren held the Mudhens without a hit in that span.

“(Jordan) kept them off-balance and he was keeping his pitches down,” said Red Wing co-manager/catcher Jimmy Bohmbach. “The biggest thing for us was to have him go the four innings.”

That set the tone for the top of the fourth as the Aces got a single from Zach Laffey, a double by Kyle Blahnik and a walk by Dave Jenson to load the bases. Mike Stegora made contact with a weak grounder, but Miesville could not get the force out at home, allowing Laffey to score. Buck brought home Blahnik with an RBI single, setting the scene for Thygesen.

Thygesen delivered in the biggest way possible, driving an Andrew Werner fastball over the wall in left-center to make it 7-0.

As the Aces players rushed out of the dugout, Thygesen couldn’t help but get caught up in the moment.

“I was trying to keep it composed, and I saw all those guys and I couldn’t help but smile,” Thygesen said. “It was a pretty exciting moment, that’s for sure.”

Bohmbach added, “I think that lightened the dugout a little bit more. Adam’s grand slam kind of set us up the rest of the way.”

The Mudhens were unwilling to go down quietly, piecing together three runs in the bottom of the fourth. After getting Miesville’s first hit of the game, Van Der Bosch stole third then came home on a throwing error. Then, Colin Keefe launched a solo home run over the scoreboard in left field to make it 7-2. With two outs, shortstop Matt Hanse delivered with an RBI single to cut Red Wing’s lead to four.

“(Keefe’s home run) kind of gave us a spark back,” Van Der Bosch said. “We just kept trying to chip away and get a run here and there.”

The Aces’ 7-3 lead held up until the bottom of the ninth when Miesville put together one last push. The Mudhens pieced together three hits, including an RBI single by David Olson that brought home Hanse and loaded the bases.

With the game-winning run at the plate, Red Wing brought in Aaron Johnson to close out the game. Coming in two days after throwing a complete-game victory against Hastings, Johnson forced Keefe into a weak pop fly. The next batter, Alex LaShomb, drove a ball toward the first-base line, but Stegora tracked it down to get the final out.

“We had some opportunities, but we couldn’t get any across,” Van Der Bosch said. “Alex hits that shot to right and if he gets under that or it gets a little more down the line, we’re tying the game. But things didn’t go our way today.”

Blahnik and Steve Boldt each went 3-for-5 at the plate for Red Wing, and Garner was 2-for-5 with an RBI. JT Cunningham got the win after throwing three scoreless innings in relief.

Van Der Bosch and Keefe each had two hits, but Miesville was strapped on offense with 11 runners stranded on base. Werner was pegged with the loss after allowing seven runs (all earned) and seven hits in four innings.