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Tennyson, Lovell power Martins to region crown, 1st-round state bye

BIG BLAST — Fairmont Martins batter Tyler Tennyson (second from left) uses his helmet to high-five teammate Matt Lytle (far right) after Tennyson belted a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning during the final game of their best-of-3 Region 13C amateur baseball championship series Sunday at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. The Martins’ Jon Traetow (left) and Levi Becker look on. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Tyler Tennyson’s powerful eighth-inning swing and Kobe Lovell’s shutout performance on the mound propelled the Fairmont Martins to the Region 13 championship and a first-round bye in the Minnesota Class C state amateur baseball tournament.

Tennyson drilled the decisive solo home run, Lovell scattered six hits over 8 1/3 innings pitched and closer Adam Schmidt recorded the final two outs to save Fairmont’s 1-0 triumph over the Hadley Buttermakers in the final game of their best-of-3 regional championship series Sunday at Herb Wolf Field.

The Martins (25-7), who return to state after a one-year hiatus, face the winner between Fort Ripley and Lake City in a 1:30 p.m. second-round game Saturday, Aug. 24, in Maple Lake.

“Right away in the first inning, I had difficulty hitting my spots and threw a lot of pitches,” said Lovell, a left-handed draftee from the Windom Pirates. “But I gained more confidence as the game went on and settled into a rhythm during the later innings.”

Despite allowing six hits and issuing four walks, Lovell managed to play a key role in the Buttermakers stranding 11 runners on base for the nine-inning duration.

Lovell, however, met his match in pitching proficiency as Hadley right-hander Jacob Van Dam hurled seven shutout innings before surrendering Tennyson’s clout in the bottom of the eighth.

In fact, Van Dam, a senior-to-be at Edgerton High School in the fall, retired the first dozen Fairmont batters he faced during Sunday’s Game 3, carrying a rare perfect game into the fifth frame. Jon Traetow spoiled perfection by drawing a walk for the Martins.

Van Dam then retired eight straight Martins before Traetow proved the spoiler again — this time, lining a two-out single in the seventh to break up the no-hit bid.

“Somebody else on this team will break up his shutout (bid),” said Traetow, who accurately calculated the odds of a unique offensive trifecta.

Traetow’s prediction proved accurate as Tennyson cranked the second offering from Van Dam over the fence in the left-field corner for his first home run of the amateur season.

“He (Van Dam) pitched me away my first two at-bats, but he started me off inside in the eighth (inning),” said Tennyson, a senior-to-be first baseman at Buena Vista University in the fall. “I hit the ball hard and it started hooking (toward the foul pole), so I was just hoping it’d stay fair.”

Ahead 1-0, Lovell got a flyout to open the ninth before issuing a walk and hitting the next Hadley batter to put runners on first and second.

Schmidt replaced Lovell on the mound, and received a sliding catch from Tennyson in right field for the second out before Justin Benda’s grounder hit the trail runner in the leg to end the game.

Lovell gave up no runs on six hits, walked four, struck out four and hit one batter to earn the win. Lovell will play baseball for the University of Mary in Bismarck, N.D., next spring.

Schmidt’s two-out relief effort merited the save.

Blake Crawmer contributed Fairmont’s third hit on the playoff clash.

Van Dam allowed one earned run on three hits, struck out four and walked one in eight innings of work to absorb the loss.

Blake Rogers went 2-for-4 to top Hadley, while Benda, Eric Wieneke, Max Zwart and Alex Petersen added one hit apiece.

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Jacob Van Dam (LP) and Trent Carlson. Kobe Lovell (WP), Adam Schmidt (9, Sv) and Ethan Hurn.

LOB–Hadley 11, Fairmont 3. HR–Tyler Tennyson (FMT).

Hadley 6, Fairmont 3 — Max Zwart went 2-for-3 with a game-best three RBIs, and retired three consecutive batters in the top of the ninth inning to earn the save to help the Buttermakers down the Martins in Game 2 of their best-of-3 regional championship series on Saturday in Hadley.

Luke Gilbertson, a draftee from the Windom Pirates, scattered nine hits, allowing three runs — two earned — in eight-plus innings pitched to earn the victory for Hadley. The right-hander recorded five strikeouts and issued only one walk.

Zwart notched one strikeout in one shutout and hitless frame of relief.

Zwart delivered one of the Buttermakers’ two first-inning runs with an RBI single before producing two insurance runs with a single in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Blake Rogers smacked a solo home run in the fourth, while teammate Eric Wieneke went 2-for-3 with a double and one RBI to highlight Hadley’s offensive effort.

Ethan Hurn slugged a solo home run in the eighth inning, while teammate Dalen Keltgen cranked a leadoff homer in the ninth to top Fairmont’s nine-hit performance. Keltgen and Blake Crawmer each went 2-for-4, with Crawmer smacking a double.

Martins starting pitcher Josh Smith allowed four runs — three earned — on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out six and did not issue a walk.

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Josh Smith (LP), Jon Traetow (5), Paxton Gravlin (7), Blake Crawmer (8) and Ethan Hurn. Luke Gilbertson (WP), Max Zwart (9, Sv) and Trent Carlson.

LOB–Fairmont 7, Hadley 6. 2B–Crawmer (FMT), Eric Wieneke (HAD). HR–Hurn (FMT), Dalen Keltgen (FMT), Blake Rogers (HAD).

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