Fairmont falls to Windom in pitchers’ duel

PUTTING DOWN THE TAG - Fairmont Martins first baseman Tyler Tennyson (left) putds down a tag on a pickoff attempt of Windom runner Kobe Lovell (bottom) in the eighth inning of a third-place sereis game in Fairmont while Lance Becker (back) looks on. Windom won 1-0. (Photo by Kyle McAreavy)

FAIRMONT – Fairmont squandered opportunity after opportunity.

The No.-4 seeded Windom Pirates beat the No.-3 seeded Fairmont Martins 1-0 in Game 1 of the third-place series of the Region 13C amateur baseball playoffs at Herb Wolf Field on Wednesday night.

Fairmont and Windom will play again in Game 2 of the series at 2 p.m. Saturday in Windom.

The lone run of the game came in the fourth inning.

Windom’s Kobe Lovell hit a one-out triple that traveled over the head of Fairmont right fielder/coach Adam Schmidt.

With Lovell on third, leadoff hitter Danny Kneeland smacked an RBI single back up the middle to give Windom the only run it would need.

Fairmont had runners in scoring position in six of the nine innings, but couldn’t push a run across.

In the first, Tyler Tennyson hit an infield single just past second base and Levi Becker followed with a single that barely stayed fair past the third-base bag, to put runners on first and second, but a groundout ended the frame.

In the third, Dustin Sobolik walked to start the inning, but was erased on a fielder’s choice.

With Jack Waletich now on first, Scott Chirpich was hit by a pitch and Tennyson grounded into a fielder’s choice at second base to put Waletich on third. This time, a strikeout ended the threat.

Christian Petschke led off the fourth with a single to center, but was taken off the bases on a fielder’s choice.

Lance Becker got from first to third on a Tanner Nawrocki single to right when Windom’s right fielder threw wide to third and both runners were able to advance. But a strikeout and a fly out to right field kept the Martins off the board.

Once again the Martins threatened in the fifth.

Waletich led off with a walk and was moved to second on a Chirpich sacrifice bunt. Waletich got to third on a groundout, but a strikeout kept him from crossing home plate.

In the sixth, Nawrocki singled past Windom’s diving second baseman, and stole second easily with two outs. But a lineout back to the pitcher meant he would go no further.

Fairmont threatened a final time in the seventh when Sobolik singled past second base. Sobolik advanced to second on a passed ball and reached third on a groundout. But with two outs, a fly out to center meant Fairmont would not score.

Starting pitcher Josh Smith kept the Martins in the game with an eight-inning, 12-strikeout game. Smith started his dominance early, striking out seven batters in the first three innings.

Schmidt said the team knew it would have to fight for runs coming in.

“It was a tough pitchers dual, but we knew it would be,” Schmidt said. “We had runners on third a few times and we couldn’t get them across and they had a runner on third like twice and they got him in. It’s gonna be a long road back, we need to win two in a row. Josh was a stud today, he had 12 strikeouts I think. He deserved to win this game.”

Windom 001 000 000 — 1 4 2

Fairmont 000 000 000 — 0 6 0

Ross Ackerman (WP), Collin Lovell (8, Sv) and Devin Nielsen. Josh Smith (LP), Ryan Christopher (9) and Dustin Sobolik.

LOB–Windom 5, Fairmont 9. 3B–Kobe Lovell (W). SAC–Jack Mellstrom (W), Jacob Johnson (W), Scott Chirpich (F).