REGION 7C TOURNAMENT ROUNDUP: Hollanders, Cardinals secure spots at Class C State tournament

The first weekend of the Region 7C Tournament is in the books and there was no shortage of excitement. With an even playing field throughout all eight teams, Region 7C once again will not go chalk as there were plenty of upsets in the first weekend.

Two teams have already secured a spot at this year’s state tournament. Neither of them are a top-two seed. The Cologne Hollanders were the first team from Region 7C to secure a spot. After defeating Watertown in the first round, the Hollanders are headed to their first state tournament since 1972 after knocking off top-seeded Carver in round two.

The Young America Cardinals have also secured a spot in the state tournament during the first weekend. The Cardinals, the No. 3 seed, are headed back to state for the third-straight year after wins over Brownton and Winsted in the first two rounds.

Two teams have also been eliminated and their seasons have come to an end. The Watertown Red Devils had another rough time at the Region 7C tournament as they went 0-2 for the second-straight year. After a tough loss to Cologne in the first round, the Red Devils were unable to bounce back against the Green Isle Irish in round two.

The Glencoe Brewers also had their season come to an end this past weekend. After winning the Crow River Valley League North title, the Brewers suffered back-to-back losses to put an end to their season. It’s the second-straight year the No. 2 seed has failed to win a game at the Region 7C tournament.

There was plenty of action and exciting moments throughout the first eight games of the tournament. Here’s a complete roundup of all eight games.

Carver 8, Green Isle 2

COLOGNE – The first game of the 2019 Region 7C Tournament didn’t disappoint, between the Carver Black Sox and the Green Isle Irish. An early lead for the Irish didn’t hold up as the Carver Black Sox took advantage of sloppy defense down the stretch by Green Isle to open the tournament up with an 8-2 victory.

It was a perfect start to the game for Green Isle. Dylan McCormick retired the first nine batters he faced, and in the top of the fourth, the offense delivered for the Irish. An RBI double from Aaron Brush gave Green Isle a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth.

It didn’t take long for the Carver Black Sox to answer back. After a one-out single from Kyle Dalton, the Black Sox started to become aggressive. Dalton swiped second easily, and the came around to score on an RBI single from Sam Warner to tie the game at one.

With the game now back to even, Carver’s Andrew Weber retired the Irish in the top of the fifth, giving his guys a chance to get the offense going once again. They did just that as they got a little help with some sloppy defense from the Irish.

Bryce Tuma reached on an error to get things going, and then later came around to score on another error, giving Carver a 2-1 lead.

Carver would add another run in the bottom of the sixth on a fielder’s choice, taking a 3-1 lead over the Irish after six innings.

Looking to fight back, Green Isle got back within a run thanks to a two-out RBI single by Nate Hartmann. The Irish would settle for just the one run as Weber would get a big strikeout to end the inning and limit the damage.

After battling to get back within one, errors came back to haunt the Irish once again. Weber scored on another Green Isle error to make it 4-2, and Carver didn’t stop there. A pinch-hit single from Jack Mattson, combined with another error, brought in two more runs for Carver, making it a 6-2 game.

The Black Sox would tag on two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to a Cole Kirchoff double, and Weber sacrifice fly.

With a big lead over the Irish, Carver’s Jacob Booden was called upon to close the door. After striking out the side in order in the eighth, he got a double play ball to end the game in the ninth and the top-seeded Black Sox picked up the win after scoring five unanswered runs over the final two innings.

Cologne 7, Watertown 3

COLOGNE – The fireworks continued in the second game of the Region 7C tournament between the Watertown Red Devils and Cologne Hollanders. In what was considered to be one of the best first-round matchups, it was the Hollanders who scored six unanswered runs to claim a 7-3 victory over the Red Devils.

Watertown found themselves down early, thanks to an impressive start by Cologne’s Tanner Luebke. After leading off the bottom of the first inning with a single, he was moved up to second with a sacrifice bunt, and then stole third to give the Hollanders a golden chance to take an early lead.

The Hollanders did just that as Luebke scored on a sacrifice fly by Carter Clemensen, giving the Hollanders an early 1-0 lead.

In the top of the fourth, the Red Devils finally got to Cologne’s Casey Clemensen. With two runners on, Ben Theisen delivered with an RBI single, tying the game at one.

Looking to take advantage of an error in the top of the fifth, the Red Devils did just that. Andrew Thibault reached on an error to open the inning, and then moved up to second on a wild pitch. Patrick Tschida did his job as Thibault scored on a groundout, giving Watertown a 2-1 lead.

The Red Devils would strike again in the top of the sixth with another groundout. After Zach Iten reached on a double that was misplayed in the lights, he later came around to score on a ground ball as well, making it 3-1 Watertown.

Trailing by two all of a sudden, the Hollanders turned things around in a big way. In the bottom of the sixth, Casey and Carter Clemensen opened the inning with back-to-back singles, giving Cologne a chance. Cole Pengilly delivered with a triple, scoring both Clemensens and tying the game at three. Kyle Brazil added a sacrifice fly that scored Pengilly, and Cologne was back on top 4-3.

RBI two-out singles from Pengilly and Brazil in the bottom of the seventh helped Cologne push their lead to 6-3 with the Hollanders just six outs away from picking up a huge win.

Needing to rally back once again, Watertown had a chance to do so in the top of the eighth. With the bases loaded and two outs, the Red Devils had their leader at the plate with a chance to get back into the game. On a 3-2 pitch, Tschida was caught looking on a questionable strike three call that ended the inning and the Hollanders escaped trouble without allowing a run.

In the bottom half, the Red Devils would be on the wrong side of another questionable call at home plate. After a Luebke single, Cologne’s Zack Nelson was trying to score to give the Hollanders an insurance run. The throw to the plate beat Nelson, who went airborne over the catcher Theisen and touched home plate. Nelson was ruled safe on the acrobatic play, and the Hollanders took a 7-3 lead.

With a four-run lead, the Hollanders turned to Brazil on the mound to close things down. He took care of business and the Hollanders moved one step closer to breaking their state tournament drought with a 7-3 victory over the Red Devils.

Young America 3, Brownton 0

CARVER – Josh Lenz was as good as advertised for the Young America Cardinals. He might have been even better.

Lenz helped the third-seeded Cardinals pick up a big 3-0 win over the Brownton Bruins as he pitched a complete game shutout for Young America. In nine innings of work, Lenz racked up 10 strikeouts and allowed just three hits.

While Lenz was taking care of business on the mound, the Cardinals took a while to get the offense going. After being held scoreless by Ryan Grams through four innings, the Cardinals broke through in the fifth.

After Grams retired the first two batters of the inning, Blake Pistulka was hit by a pitch to give the Cardinals a baserunner. A single from Cole Peters put runners on the corners with two outs.

With good speed at first with Peters, the Cardinals pushed the first run of the game across with a double steal to give them a 1-0 lead.

Brownton would have chances to tie the game in both the sixth and seventh innings, but stranded runners in scoring position as they couldn’t find the clutch hit against Lenz.

Young America tagged on two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eight, sealing an impressive win for the Cardinals in their first game of the Region 7C tournament.

Winsted 3, Glencoe 1

CARVER – They’re not called the Cardiac Cats for nothing. Trailing 1-0 in the top of the ninth inning, the Winsted Wildcats rallied back once again to steal one away from the Glencoe Brewers in a 3-1 victory.

After Glencoe took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the eighth on a fielder’s choice, the Wildcats found themselves down a run heading into their final at-bat.

Luke Theisen led off the inning with a walk, and then it was Curtis Herbolsheimer who reached on an error, giving Winsted a golden chance to tie the game, or even take the lead.

Jake Theisen kept things rolling for the Wildcats with a single, loading the bases with nobody out. Then, it was Jake Prehn’s turn to deliver. An RBI single by Prehn tied the game at one, but Winsted didn’t stop there.

Herbolsheimer scored on a wild pitch to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead, and a sacrifice fly from Leighton Buhr added an insurance run to make it 3-1 Winsted.

Brady Jenkins would close things down in the ninth for the Wildcats as he retired three of the four batters he faced.

The win for the Wildcats was the fourth time this season they’ve won a game when entering the ninth trailing.

Cologne 12, Carver 5

CARVER – Regardless of how this one played out, it was bound to be a special one. Either the Carver Black Sox would clinch a spot in the state tournament for the third-straight year on their home field, or the Cologne Hollanders would snap a 47-year drought of not making the state tournament.

In the end, it was the Hollanders who took care of business in a convincing 12-5 victory over the Black Sox to secure a spot in the state tournament for the first time since 1972.

In a big game, getting off to a good start is crucial. The Hollanders couldn’t have asked for a better start. After the first two batters were retired to start the top of the first, Carter Clemensen and Pengilly gave the Hollanders a chance to take an early lead with a pair of two-out singles. Brazil kept things rolling, giving Cologne a 2-0 lead with an RBI single that scored both Clemensen and Pengilly.

Carver had a chance to answer back right away, but they left the bases loaded as Torben Urdahl got a ground ball to get out of the inning.

In the bottom of the second, it was Kyle Dalton who got the Black Sox on the board with a two-out RBI single to cut Cologne’s lead 2-1.

After watching the Black Sox cut their lead in half, Tim Swanson and the Hollanders answered back immediately. With two outs, Swanson delivered with an RBI single to score Carter Clemensen and push the Hollanders’ lead back to two.

The back-and-forth affair continued in the bottom of the third as Carver picked up another run on a double play, getting themselves back to within one after three innings of play.

In the top of the fourth, the Hollanders showed how dangerous their lineup can really be. Cologne batted around in the inning to score seven runs and took a commanding 10-2 lead over the Black Sox.

Carver could never catch up, despite scoring single runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, as the Hollanders held on for the huge win, to punch their ticket to the state tournament.

Green Isle 12, Watertown 0

CARVER – The struggles in the Region 7C tournament for the Watertown Red Devils continued as nothing seemed to go right for them in an elimination game against the Green Isle Irish. Miscues and mental mistakes were too much to overcome for the Red Devils as the Irish had one of their best outings of the season in a 12-0 victory in seven innings.

The Irish scored at least one run all but one inning – the first inning. After being sent down in order by Watertown’s Zach Iten to open the game, the Irish had their bats come alive in a big way. Green Isle also took advantage of four errors by the Red Devils as they dominated the game from start to finish.

It’s the second season in a row that the Red Devils have gone 0-2 at the Region 7C tournament. Green Isle kept their season alive and will take on the Winsted Wildcats in a state qualifier/elimination game Friday in Cologne.

Brownton 12, Glencoe 1

COLOGNE – The Brownton Bruins struggled to get anything going in their first-round game against the Young America Cardinals. Their second game was a different story. The Bruins flipped the script in their matchup against the Glencoe Brewers, cruising to a 12-1 victory in seven innings.

The Bruins scored two runs in both the first and second innings, taking an early 4-0 lead over the Brewers.

Glencoe closed the gap to 4-1 in the bottom of the third, thanks to a two-out RBI single by Tanner Grack, but it was all Bruins the rest of the way as they kept their season alive with a convincing win.

Glencoe’s season comes to an end with the loss. The CRVL North champs had a tough time at the Region 7C Tournament going 0-2. Brownton’s season continues as they will play top-seeded Carver in a state qualifier/elimination game Thursday in Cologne.

Young America 5, Winsted 0

CARVER – Josh Lenz’s performance in the first round of the Region 7C tournament would be hard to top for the Young America Cardinals, but Dillon Whittaker’s was just as good. Taking on the Winsted Wildcats, Whittaker and the Cardinals continued their pitching and defensive dominance in a 5-0 victory over the Wildcats. The win for the Cardinals secures them a spot in the state tournament for a third-straight year.

In two games at the Region 7C tournament, Whittaker and Lenz had pitched 18 innings, allowed zero runs, and given up just eight hits.

The Cardinals and Wildcats were scoreless through five innings, but in the bottom of the sixth, Young America pushed across three runs in the inning to take the lead.

With the way Whittaker was in control on the mound, three runs was more than enough for the Cardinals and they punched their ticket to state with a 5-0 victory.

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