The Sacred Heart Eagles avenged two regular-season losses to the Kittson County Central Bearcats with great pitching and timely hitting in a 5-3 victory in the second round of the Section 8A tournament played at Stauss Park in East Grand Forks. “The boys were ready today because they (KCC) took it to us a little bit and we knew they were going to hit the ball and put it in play,” said Sacred Heart Coach Paul Bethke. “We made some big plays and had some great pitching to get us the win today.”
After a scoreless first inning, Kittson County Central led off the second inning with a Frank Finney single, a stolen base, and he advanced to third base on an error. A couple of pitches later, Finney stole home on a double steal and the Bearcats took a 1-0 lead.
Sacred Heart got the bats going in the bottom of the third inning when Parker Erickson walked with one out. Cullen Rohrich reached on an error and runners were at second and third base. Sam Gapp singled in a run and Gage Wavra followed with a two-RBI single up the middle to give the Eagles a 3-1 lead. “Those guys have had big at-bats all season long and that is why they are where they are in the order,” said Coach Bethke. “We had some nice at-bats and it was great to take the lead.”
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Sam Modeen led off with a single, and Caden Reimer singled. Modeen advanced to third on a steal while Reimer was caught stealing at second base. After a fly out to the second baseman, Rohrich walked, and then in a planned play he started walking to second, and as soon as the KCC pitcher looked to throw the ball he took off sprinting to second and beat the throw. At the same time, Modeen scored for a 4-1 lead. “That was a play that we work on and we call it an early walk,” said Coach Bethke. “It worked better than we anticipated because Cullen executed it perfectly and we got a run for free there, so that was great.”
Kittson County Central added a run on a walk and a single to get within a 4-2 deficit.
Sacred Heart countered with a run when Reimer singled and stole second base. After back-to-back strikeouts, Sam Gapp doubled to score a run and Sacred Heart led 5-2 going into the seventh inning.
Kittson County Central was down to their final three outs and didn’t go down without a fight. Carter Larson reached on an error and Isaac Fulland singled but was later out at second base on a fielder’s choice. With runners on first and third, JK Steig singled to score a run to get within a 5-3 deficit. Sacred Heart had to make a pitching change because of the pitch count and Ethan Arnston came in and struck out the first batter he faced on three pitches for the second out of the inning. “We ran into the pitch count limit and had to take Paul out,” said Coach Bethke. “He asked if I was sure because he still felt good, but we had to make the change. He was really pitching well and mixing up his speeds well.” Arnston got the next out on a fielder’s choice on a nice play by Isaac Zavoral at shortstop for a 5-3 victory. “It went right down to the end. It was a good baseball game and we had to make some big plays in the seventh inning to get the win,” said Coach Bethke. “It was a big win against a very good team and we played hard until the last out.”
Sacred Heart improves to 15-4 on the year and will take on the winner of Ada-Borup/West and Badger/Greenbush-Middle River at 3:00 p.m.
Kittson County Central drops to 10-6 on the year and will take on the loser of Ada-Borup/West and Badger/Greenbush-Middle River at 5:30 p.m.
|Sam Gapp – SH||6.1||6||3||1||1||9|
|Ethan Arnston – SH||0.2||0||0||0||0||1|
|Frank Finney – KCC||4.1||4||4||1||3||2|
For SACRED HEART –
Caden Reimer – 2 for 3, run
Sam Gapp – 2 for 4, 2 rbi, run
For KITTSON COUNTY CENTRAL –
Frank Finney – 2 for 3, run, rbi
Evan Ahstad – 2 for 3