LOGM advances past Southland

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 21, 2003

The sixth-seeded Southland baseball team was at its scrappiest Tuesday, coming back to tie three times against third-seeded LeRoy-Ostrander/Grand Meadow in the first round of Section 1A West Division play. Giving up two runs in the bottom of the sixth proved too much for the Rebels to overcome however, as LOGM held on for an 8-6 win at Marcusen Park in Austin.

"They bunched their hits well," said Southland head coach Larry Luke, "and we had too many mental errors."

Dustin Thorson got the scoring started with a bang, blasting a home run to left in LOGM's first at-bat. Jake Rowe and Neal Bucknell both reached against Southland starter Zach Stratton, but he managed to get out of trouble by retiring the last three in order.

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"It was nice to open the game with that home run," said LOGM coach Dan Dow. "We like to get rid of that zero as quick as possible. That got all the guys thinking they could hit."

The Rebels struck back with two runs in the second to claim their only lead of the game. Steve Snyder led off the inning with a single and a stolen base. A pickoff throw from LOGM starter Thorson went awry, moving the runner to third. A one-out walk to Adam Landherr and another steal put two in scoring position for Scott Hanson, who brough both of them home with a two-out RBI single.

An Adam Schlee single and a two-out error by Southland allowed LOGM to tie it back up in the bottom of the inning.

The Bulldogs got another run in the third off of three infield singles. It would have been more, but Shane Bunne was called out on a bunt attempt for leaving the batter's box too early.

Southland came back to tie it at 3-all in the fourth with some infield hits of its own, as Hanson singled in his third run of the day following base hits by Greg Retterath and Pete Churchill.

"He hit the ball well tonight," Luke said of Hanson's 3-for-3 performance.

Jake Rowe then took over on the mound for Thorson and got the last two outs to kill the Rebel rally.

LOGM almost put Southland out of the game for good in their half of the inning. With one out, Thorson reached on an error. His mates loaded the bases on two consecutive bloops into left field, one which the Rebel fielders lost in the lights and the other which dropped behind third base. Chad Doocy followed with a two-run single to make it 6-3. After a John Hanks single, Doocy was thrown out at the plate on Anthony Stejskal's ground ball to prevent further damage.

Southland began to claw its way back in the game in the fifth. Adam Nagele walked and Snyder singled off of the pitcher's leg with one out. Retterath lashed a double into left that a diving Thorson couldn't come up with, scoring both runners.

Down 6-5, the Rebels struck for the equalizer in the sixth. Scott Hanson led off the inning with his third base hit of the game. Courtesy runner Tim Neuvirth moved himself over into scoring position off of a stolen base and a groundout. Chad Wilson then singled him in to square things at 6-all.

Southland seemed to have the momentum as Stratton had settled down to retire six in a row. Doocy ended this streak with a one-out single and then advanced to third on a base hit to left by Hanks. A Bunne grounder back to Stratton saw him come to the plate to try and get Doocy, but the Rebels weren't able to get the out. A Stejskal bunt led to a nearly identical play, but the catcher couldn't hold the ball and LOGM had a two-run cushion.

The Rebels did not have an answer in the seventh as Rowe set them down in order to earn the section victory for LOGM.

Both Rowe and Thorson allowed three runs in three-plus innings of work, but Rowe was able to preserve the lead by stranding a total of three Rebel baserunners in scoring position.

"Our pitchers didn't dominate by any means, but they did well enough to get the win," Dow said. "Lefty (Rowe) coming in to pitch settled us down a little bit."

Stratton threw all six innings for Southland, allowing runs in five of them, although only six were earned. He also struck out five while walking just one.

"He pitched a decent game," Luke said of his starter, "but he's not a strikeout pitcher, so we needed to make the plays behind him."

Aside from Scott Hanson's big night at the plate, the Rebels got a 2-4 performance from Retterath, including a double and two RBIs. Snyder was also 2-4, while both he and Adam Landherr scored twice.

LOGM was led offensively by their cleanup hitter Doocy, who was 3-4, driving in two runs and scoring two more. Hanks also had three hits and scored a run, while Stejskal had a couple of RBIs. Thorson scored twice, including once on his leadoff homer. In addition to getting the win, Rowe was also 2-4 with a run scored.

LOGM advances to play No. 2 seed Lyle/Pacelli Thursday at 7 p.m. at Marcusen Park. In the loser's bracket, Southland plays Medford at 5 p.m. at Riverland Community College.