Lakers finish third in Region, play Sunday at State

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With the loss to Loretto on Saturday, Aug. 10, the Lakers ended their Region 12C tournament action at Howard Lake after dropping a 4-1 decision to Howard Lake on Friday night. With a third-place finish, the defending state champion Lakers still advance to the state tournament but have lost the advantage of playing their opening game at Irish Stadium. Instead, the Lakers will play Roseau at noon Sunday, in Delano. Howard Lake, the undefeated champions of the region tournament, earns a bye in the first round of the tournament by virtue of defeating Loretto 6-4. For the state tournament, the Lakers drafted pitchers Tyler Zweibohmer from the D-C Saints and Tyler Gruenhagen from the Waverly/Montrose Stingers. Two more North Star League teams have qualified for state. Hutchinson plays Bluffton in Maple Lake at 7:30 p.m. Friday, and Loretto takes on Elrosa at Delano, co-host of the tournament, at 7 p.m. Four Class B games are scheduled for Howard Lake with more games a possibility there if rain interferes with the regular schedule. The entire tournament schedule can be found on the Lakers’ website (maplelakelakers.com) by clicking on MN amateur baseball. Loretto 10, Lakers 6 Sixteen hits, five walks, and a hit batter should be enough to win most games, but pitching woes, lack of clutch hitting, three errors and a couple of base-running mistakes led to the defeat. With a long time between mound appearances, Laker starter Ben Jungers struggled with control and took the loss. The Annandale High School and Minnesota-Duluth graduate gave up five earned runs on eight walks and six hits in five innings. Brian Russell, lacking recent pitching innings, gave up one run on three walks and a hit. Mr. Steady Sam Marsnik also had control issues in the final two innings and was touched for three unearned runs. In all, Laker pitching gave up 13 bases on balls, 10, hits, with only six earned runs. Time after time, Lakers came to bat with men on base but could not put the game away. Stranding base runners in every inning but one, the Lakers left 14 on base. Every Laker in the starting lineup had at least one hit. Graham Brown had three, and Mitch Wurm, Nate Johnson, and Brian Redemske got two each. Wurm led in RBI with two. The Lakers went on the move in the sixth. Down 6-3 with starter Nick Koch still on the mound, Riley Decker singled to center field and scored on Luke Fobbe’s double to the left-field corner. Fobbe took third on the throw-in and scored on a wild pitch for a 6-5 score. Graham Brown singled to shallow center field but was thrown out at second trying for an extra base on the hit. Kevin Tapani relieved Koch.
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