In a game you heard on AM 1480 KAUS and, it was a clash between two of the top teams in the state in Class A baseball at the Adams Athletic Complex Thursday as the No. 1 ranked and unbeaten Lyle/Pacelli Athletics took on No. 7 ranked Southland, and in a game that more than lived up to the hype, it was the Rebels coming up with a 2-out, walk-off infield single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning to edge the Athletics 2-1.

Two of the best pitchers in the state in Class A squared off Thursday afternoon as Lyle/Pacelli’s Hunter VaDeer and Southland’s Riley Jax settled into a pitcher’s duel from the start, as they combined for 31 strikeouts, 16 for VaDeer and 15 for Jax, who did not allow Lyle/Pacelli to put a ball in play until a single from Isaac Small in the top of the sixth inning.  The Rebels scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the third when leadoff hitter Gavin Nelson drew one of his four walks in the game and, with two outs, Travis Kirtz plated Nelson with a single to centerfield to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead.  The only other hit VaDeer allowed in the game was a leadoff double off the bat of Tyson Stevens in the bottom of the sixth, but he was later thrown out trying to advance from second to third on a wild pitch, and after Jax retired 12 batters in a row at one point, Lyle/Pacelli’s Isaac Small singled in the sixth, and he went to second on a sacrifice bunt from Hunter Wollenburg and then to third on a comebacker to Jax off the bat of Grady Meyer, but when leadoff hitter Landon Meyer drew a walk a batter later, Rebels catcher Jonas Wiste fired a pickoff throw down to third baseman Cole Miller, and the tag just nipped Small for the third out and put an end to Lyle/Pacelli’s first threat to score in the game.

After VaDeer ended a Southland threat to score in the bottom of the sixth with his 13th and 14th strikeouts of the game, he then stepped to the plate with one out in the top of the seventh and proceeded to blast a fastball over the leftfield fence for his fifth homer of the season to tie the game in dramatic fashion at 1-1.  Jax then responded by striking out the next two hitters to end the inning, and with one out in the bottom of the seventh, rightfielder Beau Sathre drew a walk, and he then went to second on a sacrifice bunt from Jax, but he was stranded at second when VaDeer got Cole Miller to hit a comebacker to him for the third out and extra innings.

Jax struck out the side in the top of the eighth, and Lyle/Pacelli called on reliever Dane Schara to pitch the bottom of the eighth, and after he struck out the first two batters, Travis Kirtz singled, but he was stranded at first when Schara put out cleanup hitter Austin Swenson pitcher to first for the third out.  The Rebels then went to their bullpen with one out in the top of the ninth as Tyson Stevens came in from second base to relieve Jax, and after he induced a fly ball to center for the second out, Lyle/Pacelli catcher Logyn Brooks reached on a two-base throwing error at third, but after VaDeer drew a walk, Stevens got rightfielder Isaac Nelsen to fly out to left for the third out.  Schara retired the Rebels in order in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game into the tenth inning, where he was hit by a pitch to start the inning.  After a bunt attempt was popped up to Southland catcher Jonas Wiste for the first out, Isaac Small drew a walk to put runners at first and second, but Stevens then got two fly ball outs to end the threat.  In the bottom of the tenth, Jax led off with a single, and he then stole second base.  After a fly ball to right for the first out, Jax went to third on a wild pitch, and Gavin Nelson, who was at the plate, was walked intentionally.  He then stole second, and after Schara struck out Tyson Stevens for the second out, Travis Kirtz was walked intentionally to load the bases.  That brought up Austin Swenson, who proceeded to chop a grounder off the plate and high into the air.  Schara came sprinting in toward the plate, barehanded the high chopper and fired to first, but Swenson was able to just beat the throw for a walk-off infield single that scored Jax from third to give Southland the win.

Each team won the two regular season matchups on their respective home fields, as the Athletics edged the Rebels 2-0 at Marcusen Park on April 23rd.  Offensively in the game for Lyle/Pacelli, Hunter VaDeer’s home run and Isaac Small’s single were the only two hits for the squad in the game, while for Southland, Travis Kirtz was 2 for 3 with a pair of walks, Tyson Stevens was 1 for 5 with a double, Riley Jax was 1 for 3 with his single in the 10th inning, and Austin Swenson wound up going 1 for 5 with his walk-off infield single.

Despite combining for 31 strikeouts, both VaDeer and Jax wound up taking no-decisions, as Tyson Stevens was credited with the win as he pitched 1 and 2/3rds of an inning and gave up no runs on no hits, striking out two, walking none and hitting one batter, and Dane Schara took the loss as he pitched the last three innings for the Athletics and gave up one run, which was earned, on three hits, striking out three and walking two.

With the win, the Rebels finish the regular season with a record of 16-1, and with the loss, the Athletics fall to 16-1, with two more regular season games to play, this (Friday) afternoon at Marcusen Park versus Section 1A rival Hayfield, with first pitch at 4:30 p.m., and Saturday morning in Spring Valley versus GMLOK, with first pitch scheduled for 10:00 a.m.

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