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O’Hara’s arm, bat help WBE zip W/S in sub-district baseball action

DIRTY DIVE — Winnebago Post 82/Blue Earth Post 89 runner Keegan O’Brien stirs up the infield dirt while diving safely back into first base on a pickoff throw to Welcome Post 553/Sherburn Post 356 first baseman Jacob Fiala during District 2, Sub-District ‘C’ American Legion baseball playoff action Friday night at Veterans Memorial Field in Blue Earth. (Photo by Kyle McAreavy)

BLUE EARTH — Logan O’Hara pitched his team into the championship.

Winnebago American Legion Post 82/Blue Earth Post 89 shut out Welcome Post 553/Sherburn Post 356 during second-round action in the Sub-District ‘C’ tournament Friday night in Blue Earth.

O’Hara completed the game, starting the final at-bat one pitch shy of the tournament pitch limit, allowing him to finish what he started.

With the win, WBE (11-1) moves on to face United South Central at 12:30 p.m. today at Veterans Memorial Field.

Welcome/Sherburn (3-9) moves to the elimination bracket where it will face Minnesota Lake at 10 a.m. today. Minnesota Lake beat Madelia 11-4 in Friday’s first game to keep its season alive.

“I wasn’t 100 percent sure about tonight,” O’Hara said of how he felt coming in to the game. “The other night I threw 44 pitches and my arm was kind of sore, but I warmed up a lot, more than usual and I felt good.”

The extra warming up helped, for he allowed only six baserunners on three hits and three walks, while striking out 12, including the side in the top of the seventh.

“You cannot overstate how huge that was for us, for him to come out and shove, throw a shutout and for us to play great defense behind him,” WBE head coach Paul Nienaber said. “Add on that we played great defense behind him, we only needed to use one pitcher tonight and that sets us up really well for the weekend.”

O’Hara also helped his cause on offense when he added two insurance runs to WBE’s total with a towering home run over the high center-field fence in the fifth inning, scoring Keegan O’Brien, who had walked to lead off the inning.

“Oh, my God, that felt really good,” O’Hara said. “That’s probably the farthest I’ve ever hit a ball.”

WBE started its scoring in the first.

Kean Hicks put Posts 82 & 89 on the board when he took a 2-1 pitch and sent it on a line over the wall in left-center field.

WBE added two more in the third when O’Brien led off with a line-drive single to left, then stole second before O’Hara singled to left for an RBI. It was O’Hara’s second hit of the day after he doubled in the first.

Ryan Madetzke followed with a ground ball through the left side of the infield to put runners on first and second, then Luke Mertens loaded the bases with an error.

James Allis grounded out for an RBI, putting WBE up 3-0.

O’Hara’s home run gave WBE a 5-0 lead, then Anthony Carr singled, stole second and scored on an Adam Schavey single down the right-field line in the sixth.

“Zach (Anderson) threw strikes, we made some plays, we just need to find a way to score runs,” Welcome/Sherburn head coach Phillip Rotunda said. “It doesn’t matter how many runs the other team scores, zero is not going to get it done.”

Zach Anderson pitched a complete game for Welcome/Sherburn, allowing six runs on nine hits, one walk and two hit batters, while striking out four.

O’Hara had a single, double and home run along with three RBIs, while O’Brien singled, walked and scored two runs.

Hicks homered, Schavey singled in a run and Allis had a hit and an RBI.

“That was easily the most complete game we’ve played all year,” Nienaber said. “And if you’re gonna decide to start playing at your peak, playoff time is a good time to do it.”

W/S 000 000 0 — 0 3 1

WBE 102 021 x — 6 9 0

Zach Anderson (LP) and Christian Bachenberg. Logan O’Hara (WP) and Ryan Madetzke.

LOB–W/S 6, WBE 6. 2B–Logan O’Hara (WBE). HR–Kean Hicks (WBE), Logan O’Hara (WBE). SAC–Luke Schonborn (WBE).

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