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Martins zip A’s to take Game 1 in Region 13C series

NO BASEBALL — Fairmont Martins runner Jack Waletich (right) slides into third base as Pipestone A’s infielder Reid Homann applies the tag during Game 1 of the two teams’ best-of-3 Region 13C amateur baseball series Wednesday night at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont. Waletich was ruled safe on the play as the baseball lies on the ground. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

FAIRMONT — Fairmont starting pitcher Josh Smith and reliever Matt Lytle proved nearly unhittable, while the Pipestone A’s four hurlers could not prevent Jack Waletich and Derek Shoen from collecting hits during Wednesday night’s amateur baseball playoff opener.

Smith recorded a game-best 10 strikeouts and allowed just one hit in five shutout innings of work, while Waletich and Shoen combined for six hits and six runs scored to trigger the No. 1-seeded Martins’ 12-0, seven-inning victory over the No. 8-seeded A’s at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont.

Fairmont (17-2), which leads the best-of-3 Region 13C first-round series 1-0, hits the road to Pipestone for Game 2 on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. If a Game 3 is needed, the Martins would play host to the A’s at 2 p.m. Sunday back at Wolf Field.

“Just a great combined pitching performance by our guys tonight,” said Fairmont coach Dave Hurn. “Both Josh and Matt had outstanding command of their pitches, and we played errorless defense behind them.

“Matt hasn’t thrown for about two weeks, so it was good to get him some work tonight.”

The hard-throwing Smith opened the postseason clash with an incredible string of six consecutive strikeouts as his Fairmont teammates stacked up four runs in both the first and second innings.

Waletich, who went 3-for-3, drilled a leadoff double before Ethan Hurn and Shoen followed with back-to-back walks issued by Pipestone starter Mike Friese. Levi Becker then hammered a two-run single through the left side of the infield before Shoen tagged and motored to third base on Jon Traetow’s deep flyout to center.

Becker alertly swiped second base before Tyler Tennyson smacked a two-run single down the left-field line to double the Martins’ margin to 4-0.

“Our bats came out strong in the early innings, and never looked back,” said Dave Hurn. “With our pitching, if we get out to a quick lead, it’s tough to come back on us.”

Christian Petschke, Blake Crawmer and Waletich produced consecutive singles to set the table for Fairmont during the bottom of the second inning. After Ethan Hurn reached on a third-to-home fielder’s choice, Shoen crushed a towering bases-clearing triple to the right-center gap to widen the gap to 7-0.

Shoen’s extra-base hit led to Friese’s departure from the mound before Traetow deposited an RBI single into left field off reliever Carter Colemer to plate Shoen for an 8-0 edge.

Jordan Karels ended Smith’s strikeout string by connecting for an infield popout to open the A’s third at-bat before the Martins’ ace right-hander fanned the next two batters.

Traetow, who went 2-for-3 with a game-best four RBIs, delivered Shoen and Becker to the plate to stake Fairmont to a double-digit lead in the bottom of the fourth. Shoen singled and Becker walked before circling the bases on Traetow’s chalk-hugging hit down the first base line.

Collin Moeller then spoiled Smith’s perfect game by blooping a two-out single into shallow left during the top of the fifth.

Crawmer, who went 2-for-4, then added the first of two insurance runs for the Martins in the last of the fifth frame. Crawmer legged out an infield hit before Waletich duplicated his effort. Hurn then singled home Crawmer before Shoen lined another single to load the bases. Traetow drew an RBI walk to cap the run production.

Lytle struck out three and issued one walk in two hitless and scoreless innings of relief to seal the win.

PIP 000 000 0 — 0 1 1

FMT 440 220 x — 12 16 0

Mike Friese (LP), Carter Colemer (2), Josh Tinklenberg (5), Avery Ploeger (6) and Collin Moeller. Josh Smith (WP), Matt Lytle (6) and Blake Crawmer.

LOB–Fairmont 8, Pipestone 2. 2B–Jack Waletich (FMT). 3B–Derek Shoen (FMT).

VFW Baseball

Fairmont 11, Mankato East 5 — Jack Kosbab produced game-bests of four hits and five RBIs to power Post 1222 to a six-run triumph over Mankato East during its season finale on Wednesday night at the Winnebago Avenue Diamond in Fairmont.

Kosbab went a perfect 4-for-4 from the batter’s box, including a double, to ignite Fairmont’s 11-hit offensive performance.

Levi Pooley generated two hits, Lincoln Becker singled home a pair of runs, while Nate Soelter, Brendan Schmidtke, Landen Meyerdirk and Carsen Musser each contributed one hit to Post 1222’s winning ways.

Jacob Crissinger started on the mound, allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings pitched to net the victory. Crissinger struck out two and issued only one walk.

Musser pitched the final inning to receive the save for Fairmont.

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