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Butenhoff bounces back, Sleepy Eye VFW downs Lake Crystal

Staff photo by Travis Rosenau Sleepy Eye VFW’s Mark Anderson slides into home safely by Lake Crystal catcher Jake Tesch on Thursday in VFW baseball playoff action at Johnson Park.

NEW ULM — Despite a rocky first inning to Thursday afternoon’s VFW Second District playoff baseball game with Lake Crystal at Johnson Park, Sleepy Eye VFW starting pitcher Kaleb Butenhoff rebounded nicely after that.

Sleepy Eye’s offense picked things up in a big way also as the game went on, helping Butenhoff roll to an 11-3 complete-game win.

Lake Crystal took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning on three hits, with Drew Dahl’s two-run double leading the way. But Butenhoff stayed relaxed and got his changeup working, picking up 10 strikeouts and allowing five hits total on the way to the win.

“I was just going up there, having confidence in my defense, just letting them hit the ball here and there, and getting some strikeouts,” Butenhoff said. “But I had confidence in my team, I knew we were coming back.”

In the bottom of the first, Sleepy Eye got a run back on a delayed double steal with two outs, with Austin Uecker scoring from third and Spencer Osmonson advancing to second. In the second inning, Sleepy Eye added five more runs to lead 6-3 in an inning that saw four walks, two hits, two wild pitches, a hit batsman and a balk.

Sleepy Eye went ahead 10-3 in the third inning, led by an RBI single from Jonny Petermann and an RBI double from Uecker. Two of the four runs scored in that third inning were on wild pitches.

Also in the third inning, Nick Mielke left the game with an injury after sliding headfirst into third. He walked to lead off the inning.

Sleepy Eye added its final run in the fourth on an error that scored Owen Weiss, who doubled to lead off the inning.

Arian Saenz and Osmonson each had a pair of hits to lead Sleepy Eye at the plate.

Sleepy Eye moves on in the winner’s bracket of the tournament and will now play at 5 p.m. on Friday at Johnson Park.

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