Martins rout Hadley to win regional crown, clinch opening state bye

HADLEY — Back-to-back Region 13C amateur baseball championships and a second consecutive opening-round bye in the upcoming Minnesota Class ‘C’ state tournament.

Tyler Tennyson produced a game-best five RBIs on the strength of four hits — including a pair of home runs and a double — and scored four runs, while right-hander Collin Lovell fired a one-hit shutout over seven innings to power the Fairmont Martins to a 17-0, eight-inning flattening of the Hadley Buttermakers on Saturday.

Fairmont (22-2) — which posted a 12-0, seven-inning rout over Hadley in Game 1 of their best-of-3 championship series Wednesday — swept the Buttermakers to earn Region 13’s No. 1 seed, along with the No. 1 and 4 selections in Sunday’s pitching draft. The Martins added Ross Ackerman from the Windom Pirates and Ben Heichel of the Milroy Irish to their mound rotation for the state tournament with those respective picks.

Fairmont awaits the winner between Cannon Falls and Waconia in a 7:30 p.m. second-round state contest Friday, Aug. 28, at Yankees Field in Milroy.

No. 2-seeded Hadley (12-8) drafted the Irish’s Cody Mather and Pipestone’s Reid Homann with the second and fifth picks, respectively, from the rest of the regional field not advancing to state, while No. 3-seeded Luverne added Windom’s Kobe Lovell and the Irish’s Tyler Peterson with at No. 3 and No. 6, respectively.

Luverne swept the Milroy Irish in the third-place series, 6-1 on Wednesday night and 12-3 on Friday night. Region 13’s top three teams qualified for the state tournament that will be held at Riverside Park in Springfield and Yankees Field in Milroy.

Tennyson’s long-ball power proved the difference in the Martins’ regional-clinching victory over the Buttermakers for a second year in a row. Ironically, Tennyson’s solo HR in the bottom of the eighth inning at Herb Wolf Field in Fairmont accounted for the only run in the Martins’ 1-0 decisive Game 3 win over the Buttermakers in 2019.

However, that was hardly the case during Saturday’s Game 2 win in Hadley. Tennyson walked in the first inning, drilled an RBI double in the three-run second, belted leadoff HRs in the fourth and sixth frames, lined out to Hadley center fielder Justin Benda in the seventh and added a two-run single during Fairmont’s 10-run eighth at-bat.

“I knew the second one (home run) I hit was gone, but the first one I thought he (Benda) had a chance to rob me when he jumped and reached over the fence in center,” said Tennyson, who established Fairmont High School’s single-game varsity record when he connected for three HRs against Martin County West during his senior prep season.

“I did hit two (HRs) in the first game of our doubleheader against Hamline in the spring, but I haven’t done it (multiple-homer games) too many times,” added Tennyson, who has one collegiate baseball campaign remaining with Buena Vista University in the upcoming spring. “Actually, I thought I hit the ball better when I doubled in the second and lined out in the seventh.”

While Tennyson and his Martins teammates were pounding out 17 hits to complement eight walks drawn, Collin Lovell — a draftee from the Windom Pirates — carried a perfect game into the third inning and a no-hitter into the sixth to keep Hadley off the scoreboard. Ironically, Tennyson’s throw home in the bottom of the fourth helped maintain Lovell’s scoreless outing.

After Joe Larson reached on a throwing error, Alex Petersen’s sky-high fly ball to center was mishandled with two out during the Buttermakers’ fourth at-bat. Tennyson, who was playing second base, took the relay throw from the outfield and pegged a strike to Martins catcher Ethan Hurn to nail Larson — who injured his leg on his sprint to the plate.

After retiring the first seven Hadley batters in a row to open Saturday’s game, Lovell plunked Jeremy Steinle to end his perfect-game bid in the third. Shortstop Derek Shoen then erased Steinle by turning a double play on Garrett Johnson’s grounder.

Lovell worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth, but gave up a one-out single to Johnson in the sixth to spoil his no-hit bid. Lovell recorded a game-high nine strikeouts without issuing a walk in seven shutout innings to earn the win.

Martins’ right-hander Matt Lytle worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth inning to close out Lovell’s 1-hit gem.

Ironically, Kobe Lovell — Collin’s younger brother — tossed a six-hitter over 8 1/3 shutout innings during the Martins’ 1-0 regional-clinching win over Hadley a year ago.

Shoen, who went 2-for-3, delivered an RBI single to plate Levi Becker for a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Saturday. Becker reached by collecting the first of his two hits and scored the first of his three runs in the finale.

Tennyson’s RBI double and Jon Traetow’s run-scoring single on a scorched line-drive that drilled Hadley starting pitcher Tucker Sorenson in the wrist and hand fueled Fairmont’s third-run second at-bat. Sorenson — a draftee from Pipestone — stayed in the game and worked seven innings. The left-hander allowed seven runs on 11 hits, struck out six and walked five to take the loss.

Tennyson’s solo shots accounted for all of Fairmont’s fourth- and sixth-inning scoring before Hurn doubled and crossed the plate on Becker’s RBI single in the seventh for a 7-0 lead.

Shoen was hit by a pitch to lead off the Martins’ eighth at-bat before Fairmont plated four runs against Buttermakers’ reliever Trent Carlson, who exited the mound in favor of Johnson.

Traetow, who went 3-for-6, singled twice and generated two of his three RBIs in the Martins’ eighth, Eli Anderson produced a run-scoring single, Blake Crawmer and Tennyson each delivered two-run singles, while Adam Schmidt smacked a three-run HR off Johnson to cap the 10-run outburst.

Johnson, Hadley’s regular third baseman, gave up six runs on four hits in closing out the final 2/3s of an inning on the hill.

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