Searles Bullheads complete regular season
SEARLES — The Searles Bullheads 35-over amateur baseball team completed their regular season schedule on Sunday afternoon with a walk-off hit by Craig Schmitz to win the game 2-1 over the Waconia Islanders.
With the score tied at 1-1 going into the bottom of the seventh, Pat Portner led off with a single. Corey Schaefer followed with a line drive single off the third baseman’s glove, putting runners on first and second. Schmitz then connected on a hit that sailed over the center fielder’s head for the game-winning RBI.
Jason Schmitz had a lead-off hit in the first inning, but the Bullheads bats went silent as the next 12 batters were retired in order through the first four innings. Finally in the fifth inning Searles scored the first run of the game on a hit by Schaefer, a walk to Schmitz, and a double over the left fielder’s head by Tommy Glaser to score Schaefer.
That set things up for the dramatic seventh inning. In the top half, Waconia got a runner on via a base on balls, followed by a double by Steve Mielke with one out.
An Islander groundout to first scored the tying run and moved Mielke to third base. With two outs, the Bullhead’s shortstop, Schaefer, made a fantastic play on a ground ball behind second base and threw the runner out at first by a half step, thus avoiding a go-ahead run by Waconia.
Until the seventh inning, the Bullhead’s Dayton Larson kept Waconia off the scoreboard, pitching the complete-game victory. Larson scattered five hits, stuck out six, walked four and hit one batter. Meanwhile the Bullheads managed eight hits in the game.
The Searles Bullheads (6-8) will conclude their season with the Minnesota Senior Men’s Amateur Baseball Association 40th annual state tournament over the next two weekends.
Searles received the No. 20 seed among the 28 teams playing. Their first game will be Saturday, August 17, against Fergus Falls (No. 25) beginning at 5 p.m. at the Jordan Mini Met Ballpark. Complete bracket details will be posted on the website: www.msmaba.com