REGION 7C ROUNDUP: Waconia, Watertown secure spots at Class C State Tournament

GAME 1 – Waconia 12, Hamburg 2

Martin, Lakers roll past Hamburg in Region 7C opener

HAMBURG – The Waconia Lakers looked every bit the part of the No. 1 seed and top-ranked team in Class C. Despite falling behind 1-0 early, the Lakers had the bats rolling throughout as they picked up a 12-2 win in seven innings over the Hamburg Hawks to open the Region 7C Tournament Thursday night.

Hamburg did just what they needed to at the start of the game to pull off an upset. After Justin Perlich reached on an infield single to start the game, Jake Hokanson delivered with a sacrifice fly to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.

It was all Waconia the rest of the way as their complete lineup was on full display. The Lakers were locked in at the plate from the opening pitch. A two-out RBI double from Max Kalenberg in the bottom of the first put Waconia up 2-1. Then in the bottom of the second, Waconia struck for five more thanks to a three-run home run by AJ Friedrich.

The Lakers showcased how talented their lineup is from top to bottom. Eight of the nine guys had a hit or reached base in the win. 

Kodey Simon picked up the win on the mound for Waconia with seven strong innings. He allowed just two runs on two hits while striking out five.

Derek Martin led the charge offensively going 4-for-5 with a double, three RBI, and two runs scored.


GAME 2 – Carver 4, Young America 1

Weber holds Young America in check as Black Sox knock off Cardinals

HAMBURG – The Carver Black Sox have the number of the Young America Cardinals this season. A tight game early on broke open late as the Black Sox picked up their third win of the season against the Cardinals with a 4-1 victory in the first round of the Region 7C Tournament Friday night.

Scoreless through five innings, Carver broke through against Young America in the bottom of the sixth. Cole Kirchoff led off the inning with a single and the Black Sox took advantage. An RBI double from Connor Cornell broke the scoreless game and gave Carver a 1-0 lead. Dan Gastuch added an RBI single with two outs, extending the lead to 2-0 for the Black Sox.

Young America had its chances throughout. In the top of the fourth, Brice Panning reached on an error to start the inning. A bloop single from Alex Logelin gave the Cardinals a pair of runners with no outs. A pair of flyouts and a strikeout from Weber got the Black Sox out of trouble as Young America left two runners on base. For the game, Young America left eight runners on base and were held to just five hits.

Andrew Weber got the win on the mound with eight strong innings. He allowed just one run off of five hits while striking out four. Jacob Booden earned the save by closing the door in the bottom of the ninth while picking up a pair of strikeouts. 

GAME 3 – Watertown 5, Cologne 4

Red Devils erase early deficit in win over Cologne

PLATO – Kyle Brazil had the Cologne Hollanders and their fans thinking upset early in their matchup with the Watertown Red Devils. Watertown had other plans.

Despite a big day at the plate from Brazil, Watertown showed how much they’ve matured as a team over the past few years as they chipped away from the early deficit and came out with a 5-4 win Saturday over the Hollanders.

Cologne took a 3-0 lead over Watertown thanks to a three-run home run from Brazil in the top of the first. The Red Devils then chipped away.

An RBI single from Zach Iten in the bottom of the first cut the deficit to 3-1. The Red Devils would add on one more in the second on a solo home run by Ryan Hangartner, and two more in the fifth to take a 4-3 lead over Cologne.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Red Devils added on a big insurance run. With two outs, Jadrien Keavy made it a 5-3 game with an RBI double.

That proved to be a big run as Brazil opened the top of the ninth with his second home run of the game.

That’s all the Hollanders would muster as Watertown held on for the win.

GAME 4 – Brownton 15, Plato 8

Bruins upset Bluejays in first round

PLATO – After the top three seeds took care of business in round one, the Brownton Bruins had other plans. The curse of the No. 2 seed continued as the Bruins used a hot start to hand the Plato Bluejays a 15-8 loss Saturday. It was the seventh-straight game the No. 2 seed has lost at the Region 7C Tournament.

Brownton came out swinging early and never slowed down. Thanks to four hits in the first inning alone, the Bruins quickly took a 3-0 lead.

Heading to the bottom of the sixth, Brownton held a 12-2 lead as it looked as if they were going to end this one early. Plato didn’t go away quietly. The Bluejays scored four runs in the inning and still had the bases loaded with just one out. That’s when the Bruins turned a double-play on a lineout to keep the Bluejays out of striking distance with a 12-6 lead.

GAME 5 – Waconia 4, Carver 2

Lakers clinch spot at state with win over Carver

HAMBURG – With the first state tournament berth on the line from Region 7C on the line, two of the teams in the CRVL didn’t disappoint in their matchup. In the end, it was the Waconia Lakers continuing their dominance this season with an impressive 4-2 win over the Carver Black Sox.

Carver turned to stud reliever Jacob Booden on the mound to start. Booden, who hadn’t given up a run in nine innings of work in relief in the regular season, saw the Lakers strike for two runs against him in the bottom of the first.

Max Kalenberg delivered with a two-out RBI single. Then it was Sam Schiffman coming through with an RBI double to make it 2-0 Waconia.

Carver would close the gap to 2-1 in the fourth as Alex Twenge scored on an error.

Looking for a little more cushion late, it was Schiffman who delivered once again for the Lakers. A two-run single in the bottom of the seventh was the dagger as Waconia secured a spot in the Class C State Tournament with a 4-2 win over the Black Sox.

All four of Waconia’s runs in the win were scored with two outs.

Chris Bullis threw five strong innings in which he allowed just one unearned run. He gave up just three hits and struck out none as he had the groundballs working. Of the 15 outs Bullis recorded, only four of them weren’t groundballs.

GAME 6 – Young America 1, Hamburg 0

Young America rides Lenz to avoid elimination

PLATO – An early morning matchup between the Young America Cardinals and Hamburg Hawks put two teams looking to keep their seasons alive Sunday morning. The bats were quiet throughout but it was the Cardinals who did just enough to keep their season alive with a 1-0 win.

The Cardinals had plenty of chances throughout in the matchup with Hamburg.  They just struggled to find the key hit or make the big play.

Young America left nine runners on base but did score the only run of the game in the bottom of the 7th. Blake Pistulka started the rally with a one-out single. Then the Cardinals executed a perfect hit and run as Isaac Horman came through with a single to give Young America runners on first and third with one out.

Manager Adam Kostecka didn’t play it safe knowing his team needed to capitalize. Hormann attempted to get caught in a rundown between first and second. That gave Pistulka just enough to score at home and give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead and the win.

Josh Lenz was dominant all game long for the Cardinals on the mound and they needed it. He went all nine innings, allowing just four hits while striking out 10.

GAME 7 – Cologne 5, Plato 2

Hollanders keep season alive with win over Plato

PLATO – With a tough loss to the Brownton Bruins behind them, the Plato Bluejays were looking to bounce back. It wasn’t meant to be as the No. 2 seed fell short once again in a 5-2 loss to the Cologne Hollanders Sunday.

Torben Urdahl was in control throughout for Cologne in the matchup. He had the Bluejays off balance at the plate all game long while Tanner Luebke closed the door in the ninth.

The defense was also on display for the Hollanders in the win. A diving catch in left field from Zack Nelson ended a late rally for the Bluejays as they were left scratching their heads wondering what they had to do to get a run.

With the loss, it was the fourth-straight season the No. 2 seed had gone 0-2. Cologne advances to a state qualifier game against Carver with the win.

GAME 8 – Watertown 7, Brownton 0

Iten, Red Devils clinch state tournament berth

PLATO – Looking to capture back-to-back state tournament appearances, the Watertown Red Devils had the luxury of leaning on their ace in their second game of the Region 7C Tournament. With Zach Iten called upon the mound, he not only delivered with his arm but also with his bat as Watertown clinched the second state tournament bid in Region 7C with a 7-0 victory over the Brownton Bruins Sunday.

Iten and the Red Devils were in control all game long in the win against the Bruins. Iten pitched seven shutout innings, including retiring 13 in a row down the stretch.

Watertown wasted no time in getting the bats rolling against Brownton’s Seth Schuette. Singles from Pat Tschida and Mitch Kelzer gave the Red Devils runners on first and third with just one out. Tschida would score on a sacrifice fly from Iten, and later Kelzer would score on a bases-loaded walk to give Watertown a 2-0 lead.

Down a pair of runs early, Brownton tried to rally. A leadoff double from Ryan Grams on the first pitch he saw have the Bruins a runner in scoring position to start the second. Grams would be stranded at third to end the inning as he worked out of trouble with a fly ball, groundball, and a strikeout.

After holding in Brownton in check early on the mound, Iten decided to take over with his bat. A two-run home run in the bottom of the third made it 4-0 Red Devils as they were off and running.

Watertown would add on one more run in the fifth, sixth, and eighth innings to capture their second consecutive state tournament appearance.

Ben Smith heated up in a big way for Watertown down the stretch. After starting the game 0-for-2, Smith went 3-for-3 the rest of the way with two doubles and an RBI.

With the win, Watertown will face Waconia in the winner’s bracket of the Region 7C Tournament Saturday at 10 a.m. The winner of that game will play in the Region 7C championship Sunday.

For in-game updates, news, scores, and more follow Kip Kovar on Twitter and check out Twitter: @Kovar_HJSports 

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