Martins overpower Buttermakers in Game 1

INSIDE THE PARK — Fairmont Martins runner Blake Crawmer slides into home on an inside-the-park home run during the fifth inning of Game 1 of the Region 13C best-of-3 final amateur baseball series Wednesday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. Hadley catcher Trent Carlson (standings) awaits the relay throw. Fairmont went on to defeat Hadley, 11-1. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — A strong pitching performance mixed with an offensive explosion put Fairmont one game from a first-round state tournament bye.

The Martins beat the Hadley Buttermakers 11-1 in a seven-inning run-rule shortened Game 1 of the Region 13C best of three finals at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont.

The win means Fairmont (24-6) needs to win only one of either Saturday’s Game 2 at 2 p.m. in Hadley or Sunday’s if-necessary Game 3 at 2 p.m. in Fairmont.

Fairmont scored in five consecutive innings and put up three consecutive three-run innings to build its lead.

Jon Traetow kept his hot hitting going when he led off the second inning with a double that hit less than a foot from the top of the right field fence, then scored when Adam Schmidt doubled into right-center field.

After a fielder’s choice erased third-inning leadoff batter Spencer Chirpich, who had singled, Sam Schwieger scored on an Ethan Hurn single up the middle to put the Martins ahead 2-0.

In the fourth, the three-run streak began.

Schmidt got the inning started with a line dive up the middle of the field past Hadley’s diving shortstop before Blake Crawmer was hit by a pitch to put two runners on for Mitch Prafke who singled down the right-field line for two RBIs. Prafke advanced to second when the relay throw to home was offline, then scored when Chirpich singled to left.

Hurn led off the fifth when he was hit by a pitch, then stole second before Traetow hit his second double to the wall in center field. With two outs and Traetow on second, Crawmer got a chance for a 360-foot sprint.

Crawmer hit a fly ball into right-center field, but the Hadley center fielder lost it in the night sky. Hadley’s Justin Benoa stood looking like he was waiting to catch the ball in short center and end the inning, which caused Crawmer to jog to first before realizing the ball was dropping in deep right center. Crawmer turned on the jets as he rounded first and made it all the way around to score for an inside-the-park home run, which put Fairmont ahead 8-1.

Fairmont head coach Levi Becker said the offensive outburst was exactly what the team has needed.

“That’s what it usually is,” Becker said. “That’s the offensive explosion we’ve been waiting for all playoffs. Jonny (Traetow) came up huge for us the last two games, he’s hitting gaps everywhere.”

The Martins scored the final three runs they would need in the sixth. Hadley relief pitcher Derek Platte got the first two batters of the inning before an error allowed Schwieger to reach base. Hurn walked and Traetow hit his third double of the night, and fourth of the past two games, which he lined over Hadley’s jumping second baseman and nearly to the wall in right center for 2 RBIs. The hit marked Traetow’s seventh in the past two games, including his four doubles.

Becker then hit into an error that allowed Traetow to score and put Fairmont ahead 11-1.

“We were being aggressive, we were laying off pitches and seeking out fastballs,” Becker said. “That’s something we haven’t really done the past few games, it was good to see it tonight.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Hurn started on the mound for Fairmont and pitched five innings, allowing one run on three hits and four walks, while striking out three.

Hurn faced trouble in the fourth frame when Blake Rogers walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, got to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a groundout.

Then in Hurn’s final inning, the Buttermakers loaded the bases with one out on a single and two walks, but Hurn struck out the Hadley No. 4 hitter, Rogers, and forced a flyout to close the inning.

Matt Lytle came on for the final two innings, allowing one hit and two walks. Hadley loaded the bases in the seventh, again off a hit and two walks, but Lytle forced an infield fly and struck out the final batter of the game to keep Fairmont’s 10-run margin.

“Both our pitchers really pounded the zone today,” Becker said. “One run over seven innings was great for us.”

HAD 000 100 0 — 1 4 3

FMT 011 333 x — 11 9 0

Ethan Hurn (WP), Matt Lytle (6) and Blake Crawmer. Jacob Van Dam (LP), Derek Platt (6) and Trent Carlson.

LOB–HAD 9, FMT 4. 2B–Jon Traetow (FMT) 3, Adam Schmidt (FMT). HR–Blake Crawmer (FMT) Inside the park.