REGION 12C ROUNDUP: Huskies, Athletics punch state tickets; two spots still up for grabs

DELANO — Serving as the mecca of Region 12C amateur baseball this August, Delano Municipal Stadium was full for multiple days last weekend as the region playoffs began and two teams have already earned berths to the State Tournament. Here’s the game-by-game rundown of what happened.

Hutchinson 8, Maple Plain 1

The Huskies lived up to their top seed billing quickly in round one, dispatching the Diamond Devils 8-1 Aug. 5. Jon DeRock tossed eight innings and allowed seven hits and one run, while Tyler Schiller’s hot bat kept sizzling with a home run.

Leading 4-0 after six innings, the Devils got one back in the top of the seventh, but a four-run eighth by Hutchinson pushed this one out of reach at the end. Jayden Fleck added two RBI while Marcus Hahn and Cody Arlt drove in runs as well.

Howard Lake 3, Loretto 1

The 4/5 matchup in a tournament is often the best game and can go either way. The Orphans got just as much as they needed to win against the higher-seeded Larks of Loretto Aug. 6, taking the game 3-1.

It was a pitcher’s duel from the start, neither team scoring until the fifth inning when Loretto got an RBI hit from Ben Leuthner. Howard Lake’s Jared Koch was masterful getting out of jams with runners on base while his team’s offense came alive just enough to take the lead late in the game.

Noah Bush was 3-for-4 and Jake Gruenhagen drove in two runs for the Orphans. Brad Bickmann added four hits. For the Larks, seven batters got on base but some baserunning mistakes cost them runners.

Buffalo 6, Litchfield 5

Brett Renshaw and Colton Haight were the heroes of the day for the Bulldogs, who scored three runs over the final two innings to beat Litchfield 6-5 in walk-off fashion Aug. 7.

Renshaw’s two-run blast in the eighth tied up the game at 5 after Litch broke a stalemate the inning before. Then Haight  laced an RBI single in the ninth inning to end the game right there for the Buffalo victory.

The two batters combined for four RBI, and Jake Duske added a home run early on. Andrew Loch and Jake Jones drove home four for the Blues.

Delano 6, Maple Lake 5

It’s tough to win when you get outhit 10-5, but the A’s overcame some wild innings to get the last run in extras, defeating the Lakers of Maple Lake 6-5 in 10 frames Aug. 7.

A three-run Toby Hanson bomb in the third inning put Delano up 4-1 and in control, but Maple Lake kept chipping away against reliever Austin Schneider. A run scored in the seventh tied up the game at five, and then a keen eye by the A’s lineup put runners in place to score the winning run. Adam Schleper poked a single through the left side to score Jeff Althoff and walk off on the Lakers.

Hutchinson 6, Howard Lake 3

With a state berth on the line, the Huskies got a stellar outing from Jeremiah Van De Steeg to hold off the Orphans 6-3 Aug. 7 and stay undefeated in the region playoffs.

Tyler Schiller homered for the second time in as many games, and Matt Piechowski, Jake Wendland and Cody Arlt all posted multi-hit games.

Cole Macziewski and Moose Streich tallied the RBI for Howard Lake, but the Orphans couldn’t muster more than one run in an inning to rally back. Brad Bickmann and Brock Goelz added two hits each.

Riley Gruenhagen tossed six innings allowing seven hits, while Van De Steeg went six and one-thirds innings while striking out six batters.

Loretto 8, Maple Plain 7

The Diamond Devils’ season ended in heartbreak in the elimination bracket of Region 12C Aug. 8, falling to Loretto 8-7 on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Maher.

Loretto jumped ahead 5-2 in the first inning with a three-run homer by Josh Gullickson, but Maple Plain wouldn’t fold that easily. They put up four scores in the fifth to take a 7-5 lead with a trio of singles.

Then an outfield error by Maple Plain proved costly in the seventh. Loretto’s Keenan Hodgkin singled home the advanced runners to tie it up, and Maher’s sac fly in the ninth ended another tight Region 12C game, keeping the Larks alive and the Devils eliminated.

Maple Lake 10, Litchfield 2

The Laker offense hummed nearly every inning as they pushed past Litchfield 10-2 Aug. 8 to stay alive in Region 12C elimination bracket play.

Donnie Mavencamp added up three RBI and Ben Clapp had two runs driven in for Maple Lake. Grant Mergen tossed six quality innings to hold down the Blues.

Litchfield had two hits and two RBI by leadoff man Cody Klabunde, but Avery Liestman, Dylan Koll and Jack Ramthun couldn’t hold off a Maple Lake offense that wanted big revenge after a 10-inning loss to Delano the day before.

Delano 9, Buffalo 6

Early offense and shutdown pitching against one of the best lineups in the league helped the A’s reach state qualifier status Aug. 8, defeating the Bulldogs 9-6 behind Mike Weber’s strong start and a couple crooked number offensive innings.

Scott Benjamin had a homer and two RBI for Delano, and all but one batter sprayed a base hit. The A’s walked 10 times to help their on-base percentages, and though they scored nine times they still left on 11 runners.

Weber’s five innings and two runs gave the offense ample time to warm up, and key innings of three and four runs got Delano the lead for good after four innings. A small scare by Buffalo cut the lead to 8-6 after the top of the seventh, but an insurance run and a nice save outing by Jake Nelson clinched the Delano win.

For more Region 12C and amateur baseball coverage, follow @JaredNHR and @Kovar_HJSports on Twitter.

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