WELCOME — Christian Bachenberg proved why head coach Phil Rotunda put him No. 3 on Martin County West’s batting order in Thursday’s baseball playoff opener.
Bachenberg went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, produced the best four RBIs in the game and hit two runs to seal the No. 7 Mavericks’ 12-4 win over the No. 10-seeded Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey Kindle Wolverines play in the first round of Section 2A at Fox Lake Sports Complex in Welcome during the postseason.
Martin County West (12-7) is advancing to meet No. 2 seed Madelia in the second round at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Madelia. The Blackhawks won the next round on Thursday with an 8-0 opening win over 15th seed Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda.
The Wolverines finished their season with an 8-12 record.
“Tonight we got away with a lot of hits on the clutch in key situations,” said Rotunda, whose lineup amassed eight hits, half going on doubles. “Bachy came through for us with a big sacrifice fly with bases loaded in the second inning and later a two-run double in the fourth. Wyatt (Williamson) also delivered for us with a base-loaded double in the fifth inning.
“That’s why we put these two guys 3rd and 4th in our batting order.”
Maverick starting pitcher Zach Anderson backed his own cause during bottoming in the first inning by drilling a leadoff double, advancing to third on Kain Sanders’ victim bunch and home on Bachenberg’s RBI double in the right-center gap trotted.
Bachenberg then circled the bases as Williamson’s grounder was thrown away at first base and Williamson gained second base for the game. Williamson finished third on a wild pitch before hitting left field on Brice Enter’s RBI single for a 3-0 lead from MCW.
Wolverine starting pitcher Alexander Blom later gave back-to-back walks to Lucas Larson, Anderson and Sanders to load bases for MCW, with Bachenberg lofting a sacrificial fly to center to plate Larson after two full innings for a four-run lead .
Kolby Kremmin’s decisive two-run double halved the Wolverines’ deficit to 4-2 in the top of the third before an error on Blom’s grounder allowed a solo run to cross the plate for MLAC at the top of the fourth.
Bachenburg clung to a 4-3 lead and set off MCW’s crucial four-run fourth at-bat by drilling a two-run double. A wild pitch and one of the Wolverines’ six misses during the playoff duel extended the Mavericks’ lead to 8-3.
Williamson caused most of the Mavericks’ offensive damage late in the fifth when he hit a three-run double into the left-center gap to extend the lead to 12-4.
Anderson demonstrated superb command of his pitching repertoire by recording the game’s best 11 strikeouts and giving up just one walk in seven innings to earn the complete game win. The junior right-hander allowed four runs – three earned – on eight hits.
Blom gave up nine runs on six hits, walked seven and hit two in more than 4 innings on the mound to recoup the loss.
Anderson and Enter each went 2-for-4 for the Mavericks batting order. Sam Pidde went 3-on-4 with a double and two runs to topple the Wolverines while Kremmin went 3-on-5 with two RBIs.
MLAC 002 110 0 — 4 8 6
MCW 310 440 X — 12 8 4
Alexander Blom (LP), Evan Karschnik (5) and Jacob Evers. Zach Anderson (WP) and Christian Bachenberg.
LOB–Martin Co. West 8, Mt. Lake Area/Comfrey 6. 2B–Christian Bachenberg (MCW) 2, Zach Anderson (MCW), Wyatt Williamson (MCW), Sam Pidde (MLAC) and Kolby Kremmin (MLAC). SF – Christian Bachenberg (MCW). SAC – Kain Sanders (MCW), Tanner Koetzle (MLAC) and Cayden Moody (MLAC).
Section 2AA Softball
Le Sueur-Henderson 7, Fairmont 0 — Junior ace hurler Chloe Brandt fired a two-hit shutout through six innings to send the No. 2-seeded and defending state champion Class AA Giants to a 7-0 playoff win in the second round to lead Cardinals No. 7 on Thursday in Henderson.
The Giants meet the No. 3-ranked Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial at 2 p.m. Saturday at Caswell Park in North Mankato in an undefeated bracket game.
Fairmont (6-14) plays No. 6 seed New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva in an elimination match at 2:00 p.m. Saturday at Caswell Park on Saturday.
Brandt recorded a best 12 strikeouts of the game and gave up a walk in six innings of work to earn the win for LSH.
Anna Ehlert, Abby Sunken and Brylee Miller each picked Brandt for the Cardinals while Allison Janssen went for a walk.
Rhyan Fritz went 3-on-4 with a solo HR and two runs on to top the Giants’ 13-hit offense, Morgan Gregersen went 2-on-2 with three RBIs and a run on while Bailey Lehman had two Scored and two contributed runs.
Nevaeh Rahm allowed six carries for 10 hits, batting seven and walking three in four innings set up for Fairmont to absorb the loss.
Miller gave up an unearned run on three hits, knocked out two and didn’t give up a walk in two innings of relief for the Cardinals.
Section 2A Softball
Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s 15, Martin County West 0 (4 innings) – Lacey Mathiowetz threw a three-hit shutout in the full game and the Hoffmanns provided the offensive firepower to give the No. 3-seeded Knights the run-rule section win to reach the No. 6-seeded Mavericks on Thursday in Sleepy Eye.
St. Mary’s meets No. 2-seeded New Ulm Cathedral in an undefeated duel at 10:00 a.m. Saturday at Caswell Park in North Mankato.
Martin County West (11-9) battles Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart in the eliminator at 10 a.m. Saturday at Caswell Park.
Mathiowetz showed outstanding control within the throwing circle, hitting five strikeouts without giving up a walk in four innings to earn the win.
Addie Hoffmann had three hits, including a double, and drove in four leading runs for the Knights, while teammate Isabella Hoffmann produced doubles, singles and two RBIs.
Taylor Elliott doubled for MCW while Lina Arnold and Emily Anderson each collected a single.
Arnold started and allowed seven runs on three hits and went three in 1-plus innings to take the loss. Maddie Carlson gave up eight carries on six hits, knocked out one and walked four in 2 2/3 innings of relief for the Mavericks.