Walter’s dual effort lifts LP over Southland as showdown with Hayfield looms

Published 4:24 pm Saturday, June 5, 2021

The postseason pressure and the temperature was reaching new heights, but Lyle-Pacelli senior Cole Walter was equal to the task on the mound and behind the dish as he helped lead No. 2 Lyle-Pacelli to a 10-0 win over No. 3 Southland in the Section 1A semifinals in Riverland Saturday.

Walter pitched four one-hit scoreless innings and then he went back to his catcher position for two innings as Zach Bollingberg threw two scoreless innings to close the door on the Rebels. Walter’s effort ensures that he and Bollingberg will be available to pitch against No. 1 Hayfield on the first day of the Section 1A finals at 5 p.m. Monday.

“I knew that if I came out and did what I needed to do, I could keep my pitch limit down,” said Walter, who went three-for-four with an RBI. “Then I could go back behind the plate and get the job done. Playoffs are playoffs and I just kind of gave it all I had.”

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Sam Nelsen tripled in a run to put LP up 2-0 in the first inning and he knocked in two more runs with a clutch, two-out single that made it 6-0 in the fourth. Nelsen went three-for-three with four RBIs for the Athletics (19-2 overall), who amassed 14 hits in six innings.

“We’ve been working on our two strike approaches and putting the ball in play,” Nelsen said. “It’s been paying off for all of us. We’ve been seeing some harder pitching in practice and it’s helping us see the ball a little bit better.”

LP and Hayfield never met in the regular season and now they’ll be in a battle for the inside track on the Section 1A title game. The winner of Monday’s contest, will be one win away from state, with the loser being three wins away from state. The Athletics, who outscored opponents by a score of 48-0 in three games of postseason play, are ready for a showdown. Hayfield has won its two postseason games by a combined score of 26-0.

“We have to be focused for seven innings of baseball and we need to bring our ‘A’ game,” Walter said. “They have a winning mentality over there and we have a winning mentality as well. It’s going to be a good game.” 

The Rebels (16-6 overall) kept their season alive when Harrison Hanna hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat United South Central 9-8. Southland will play Wabasha-Kellogg in an elimination game on Monday.

Southland 0 0 0  0 0 0 –  0  2  2

LP 3 1 0  2 1 1 – 10 14  0

LP pitching: Cole Walter (W) 4 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 3 K, HBP; Zach Bollingberg, 1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 3 K, BB

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

Southland pitching: Alec Bissen (L) 3 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 ER, 3 K; Travis Kirtz, 1 1/3 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 5 ER, 1 K; Nick Boe, 1 2/3 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 1 ER, 1 K

Southland hitting: Bissen, 0-for-3; James Mullenbach, 0-for-3; Nick Boe, 0-for-2, HBP; Dan Boe, 0-for-1, 2 BBs; Eli Wolff, 0-for-3; Gavin Nelsen, 1-for-2; Harrison Hanna, 0-for-2; Jonas Wiste, 1-for-2; Travis Kirtz, 0-for-2