Kenyon-Wanamingo had a 10-0 lead going into the bottom of the third inning Tuesday night in Section 2 Class 2A tournament action and lost 12-11 to Le Sueur-Henderson.

The Knights sent 13 men to the plate in the top of the third inning, had eight straight hits in the inning, nearly hit for the cycle as a team and finished the inning with nine runs and nine hits to take that 10-0 lead.

Junior Jack Buelke started the game in a pitching plan the kids helped fashion in an attempt to get to the state baseball tournament.

They were hoping to pitch Matt Houglum against St. Peter in the second game Tuesday night and have Gavin Roosen available for Belle Plaine on Thursday and take it from there.

Buelke cruised through the first two innings, facing just one guy over the minimum and striking out the last two batters in the up and down in order bottom of the second. He headed out to the hill with a 10-0 lead, but had to sit a long time while his team scored all those runs and simply lost command of the strike zone.

The bottom of the third for the Giants started with a Knights error and then there were back-to-back walks.

Four batters later, Buelke was lifted and before the inning would end Le Sueur-Henderson would send 13 men to the plate. Five of his six walks in the 2-2/3 innings of work came in the third inning when he threw 35 of his 62 pitches and had just 10 strikes. When Buelke left the game he had not given up a hit.

Sophomore Tyler Ryan was brought into the tough situation and was greeted by a double on a 2-1 count to score a run. Then there were back-to-back walks, a two-run single by the No. 9 hitter and another walk before the inning came to a close and the Giants were right back in the game 10-7.

Meanwhile Kenyon-Wanamingo's bats went silent compared to the first three innings when they connected on 12 hits. They would only have three more hits the rest of the game.

Freshman Mitch Casperson came on for the win while shutting down the Knights over the last 4-1/3 innings. He also got the win against Medford in their 5-4 walk-off Saturday.

Kenyon-Wanamingo held onto their lead until the bottom of the fifth.

After an up and down in order fourth inning, Ryan was greeted by a single to open the bottom of the fifth, followed by an error.

The stage was set for a big inning and a single, double, triple later Le Sueur-Henderson had a 11-10 lead.

It would have been 12-10 but Roosen threw a perfect throw home to get a runner out at the plate.

In the top of the sixth the Knights showed their never say die attitude. Roosen opened the inning with a single and, after a strikeout with Matt Houglum at the plate, was thrown out trying to steal second base.

Early in the game the Knights were running at will against the Giants with four stolen bases in four attempts over the first three innings and Roosen had one of them.

Wouldn't you know it, after Roosen is called out at second, Houglum clubbed a double which would have tied the game.

Then there was an error that allowed Houglum to score for the tie which, would have been a lead for Kenyon-Wanamingo.

Le Sueur-Henderson left the bases juiced in the bottom of the sixth.

Buelke got a walk to lead off the top of the seventh inning. That was followed by a strikeout for the first out. Then Peyton Hilke laid down a bunt, moving Buelke to second, but the Knights couldn't bring him home.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Knights had to bring in catcher Dylan Craig to pitch because Ryan was near his pitch count limit.

Craig started the inning with a strikeout. The next batter got a single and was wild pitched to second. The Knights intentionally walked the No. 3 hitter to set up the double play and the No. 4 hitter, who was 0 for 4 before the last at-bat, got the walk-off game-winning hit.

It was head coach Randy Hockinson's last game and it's probably one that won't soon be forgotten. After the game he put it perfectly when he called the game, "an emotional rollercoaster."

The Knights had the thrilling feeling of a 10-0 lead when it looked like they were going to cruise to victory and probably end the game early and save on pitching.

And in the bottom of the same inning saw their opponent get back into the game and seize the momentum. There were 13 walks issued by Kenyon-Wanamingo pitchers, including the intentional walk, and five of them scored.

The Giants pitchers only allowed two walks.

Kenyon-Wanamingo out-hit Le Sueur-Henderson 15 to 9. The walks took their toll on the defense too, with four Knight errors and two by Le Sueur-Henderson.

Kenyon-Wanamingo finished their season 15-10 and the Giants improved to 13-10.

It was the final game for eight Knight seniors: Dylan Craig, Gavin Roosen, Carter Leninger, Matt Houglum, Calvin Steberg, Mitch Boyum, Peyton Hilke and James Schultz.

I felt bad for them because I really believe this was a state tournament caliber team.

If they would have stayed in the winner's bracket they would have given top-ranked Belle Plaine a run for the section title because Houglum and Roosen were lights out good in their playoff run on the hill, allowing five runs in the four games they pitched with two shutouts.

Kenyon-Wanamingo Lineup Card- photo by Gordy Kosfeld
Kenyon-Wanamingo Lineup Card- photo by Gordy Kosfeld




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