Labat’s single lifts Stark by Springfield in 14
SLEEPY EYE — An RBI single up the middle by Nick Labat in the bottom of the 14th inning gave the Stark Longhorns a 3-2 win over the Springfield Tigers in a Region 2C Amateur Baseball Tournament elimination game Friday night at Eagles Park.
The hit scored Zach Haala from second, who led off the bottom of the inning with a single before being sac bunted to second by Dylan Klein.
While some of the pressure felt this week was alleviated after beating the Tigers, the Longhorns have yet another win-or-go-home challenge on Saturday in Fairfax at Memorial Park.
Stark’s marathon-game win on Friday night sends them to a 1 p.m. Saturday game against the Lamberton Long Sox, with the winner of that game earning a state tournament berth and a chance to end the Region 2C tournament as champions. The winner of Saturday’s 1 p.m. game will take on the New Ulm Brewers at 4 p.m. Saturday.
A win by the Brewers makes them the Region 2C champs, while a loss would require another 1 p.m. game on Sunday in Fairfax for the Region 2C title.
Brandon Wilhelmi took the loss for Springfield in 2 2/3 innings of relief of left-handed starter Justin Haugo, who exited after 10 2/3 innings and 135 pitches.
Klein got the win in five innings of relief of left-hander Adam Sellner, who pitched nine innings again on Friday night and threw 133 pitches. Sellner picked up a complete-game win over Courtland on Tuesday.
Klein gave up two hits and a walk while striking out four. Sellner allowed 10 hits and two walks while striking out five.
Labat, Haala and Mason Cox each went 2 for 6 at the plate to lead the Stark bats.
Decker Scheffler was 3 for 7 with two RBIs to lead Springfield, while Ryan Sturm and Jordan Milbrath each went 2 for 7.
Stark got on the board right away in the first inning after Cox, Brandon Helget and Sellner strung together three consecutive singles with one out. Haala then flew out to right on a diving catch to bring Cox home on a sacrifice fly. A throwing error to third base allowed Helget to score on the same play for a quick 2-0 Stark lead.
Haugo kept the Stark bats relatively quiet after that, giving up a single to Labat in the second before having five 1-2-3 innings in a row. Haugo ended up giving up seven hits and three walks while striking out four.
The Tigers had no problem collecting hits (12), but they couldn’t get anyone around to score until the ninth inning when a two-run double to center by Scheffler tied the game.
Stark ended the game with nine hits.
Haala also tripled to left-center in the 11th, but a walk and a groundout to second ended the inning.