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Athletics take care of business against Rushford-Peterson

The No. 2 seeded Lyle-Pacelli baseball team meant business as it beat No. 7 Rushford-Peterson 15-0 in five innings of a Section 1A quarterfinal game at Riverland Complex Thursday.

The Athletics received big contributions from young and old as eighth grader Hunter VaDeer had a big day at the plate and senior Zach Bollingberg was dominant on the mound.

VaDeer found his swing early in the game as launched a two-run triple to deep right field to make it an 8-0 game in the second inning and added a solid, two-run single in the third to push the lead to 12-0.

VaDeer has picked up a lot of confidence at the plate this season as he has been a fixture in the middle of the lineup for L-P.

“The biggest thing was that I shortened up with two strikes and I put in play,” VaDeer said. “It’s been pretty fun this year. I just try not to think about it too much.”

Bollingberg pitched a perfect start as he struck out eight in three and one-thirds innings. The only baserunners to reach base for the Trojans (7-15 overall) against Bollingberg were on a third strike wild pitch and an error. Bollingberg also drove in three runs at the plate.

“Everybody was kind of on their A game today. It was one of our better games hitting and it’s nice to do that come playoff time,” Bollingberg said. “We’ve got a lot of upperclassmen and we’re a senior led team. We know what we need to do.”

Getting Bollingberg off of the mound quickly, means the Athletics will have all of their pitchers available to throw moving forward. That will give the team the depth it needs if L-P head coach Brock Meyer needs to make any mound changes on Saturday.

“That was key. If we lose a game, we’ll need all of the pitching that we have,” Meyer said. “Zach threw strikes and the hitters did what we needed to get out of this one early. We’ve been working a lot on situational stuff and the younger guys are coming up big. The sky’s the limit for them.”

The Athletics (18-2 overall) will now take on No. 3 Southland at noon Saturday. The Athletics swept the regular season series from the Rebels, who are coached by L-P boys basketball head coach Scott Koenigs.

The Athletics have routinely made deep postseason runs, but their lack of depth has caught up to them in the past. With a full pitching staff in tow for the weekend, Meyer is feeling confident.

This year, more than any year, we know that we belong and we know that we can compete,” Meyer said. “I just told the boys that I think we’re the best team here, but we’ve got to believe that. We’ve got to play our butts until the end.”

RP 000  00  —    0   1  3

LP 183  3 X —   15 13 1

LP pitching: Zach Bollingberg (W) 3 1/3 IP, 0 R, 8 K; Jed Nelson, 1 2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 K, HBP

LP hitting: Cole Walter, 3-for-4, double, 2 R, SB; Bollingberg, 1-for-2, double, 3 RBIs, 2 R, SB, HBP; Sam Nelsen, 1-for-3, 4 RBIs, 2 SB, R; Jed Nelson, 0-for-1, RBI, R, 2 BBs; Hunter VaDeer, 2-for-3, triple, 4 RBIs, R; Mac Nelson, 1-for-3, R; Jake Truckenmiller, 3-for-3, triple, RBI, R, SB; Jayden Lewis, 1-for-2, RBI, BB; Landon Meyer, 1-for-1, RBI, 3 R, 2 BBs, SB; Dane Schara, 0-for-1