The Kenyon-Wanamingo Knights fought until the end but could not overcome 5 errors in a 8-6 loss today against Maple River in Minnesota Lake.

The MSHSL Section 2AA Eliminaton Bracket game was a very competitive contest that saw a couple of lead changes.

The Knights started very well against Junior left handed ace for the Eagles Lucas Doering.

Tyler Craig started the game with a walk, Gavin Sommer and Owen Hilke each collected singles before a groundout, sacrifice fly RBI and strikeout ended the inning.  Kenyon-Wanamingo had a 2-0 lead.

Senior left handed pitcher Owen Hilke was coming off a no-hit performance in his last outing.  The first batter for Maple River connected with the ball resulting in an error.  Unfortunately for the Knights it was a omen of things to come.

Hilke walked the next batter then got a strikeout.  He hit the cleanup hitter, the opposing pitcher to load the bases before junior Mason Frank clubbed a 2 run double to tie the game.

The next batter hit a fly ball to right field.  Senior Bray Olson caught the ball and made a perfect throw to home plate to gun down the runner and end the inning.  Kenyon-Wanamingo 2,  Maple River 2.

The bottom of the second inning started with another K-W error.  The runner at first was sacrificed to second .  The #9 hitter went into the batter's box and was safe on another error placing runners at the corners with one out.

Lead-off hitter junior Boden Simon smacked a RBI single.  The next batter senior Max Nelson had a sacrifice fly RBI before the inning ended with a groundout.  The Eagles led 4-2 after 2 innings.

In the top of the 5th inning after Doering had appeared to settle into the game retiring 11 of 13 batters with just one hit allowed over that span the Knights had all nine batters go to the plate.

Trevor Steberg jumped on an elevated fastball for a double to start the inning.  Kevin Vazquez hit a ground ball to second advancing Steberg to third when Vazquez was thrown out at first base.  A productive out and high fives in the dugout.

Tyler Craig jumped on the first pitch for a double scoring Steberg.  Sommer struck out but the ball got by the catcher to the backstop and he was safe at first base.  Hilke was hit by a 1-1 count pitch.

Following a popout Olson hit a bases clearing double to give the Knights a 6-4 lead.  There was a walk following that hit before a strikeout ended the inning.

Like before the lead did not last long.  In the bottom of the 5th the first batter was retired on one pitch.  This was an inning after Hilke struck out the side so it looked like he was locked in.

Nelson hit a slow roller that resulted in an error.  The next batter flew out to right field.  Doering got a base hit.  Frank clubbed a RBI double.  Junior Dylan Doyen had a RBI single.  After five innings it was Maple River 7,  Kenyon-Wanamingo 6.

The Knights had an opportunity to tie or take the lead in the 6th or 7th innings.  In the sixth the inning started with a Eagles error on a ball hit by Steberg.  Vazquez struck out looking after he couldn't get a bunt down to move Steberg to second base.

Steberg tried to steal second base and was called out.  Craig then walked (so Steberg would have been in scoring position although some Knights fans who had a better view of the play said Steberg was safe at second).

Sommer struck out to end that threat.

Hilke appeared to be cramping to me beginning at the end of the 4th inning.  He was bending over and tipping the toe of his cleat up but he told me after the game he slipped on the mound  and felt some discomfort.

The sixth inning started with a strikeout.  #9 hitter junior Ethan Evenson hit the 6th pitch of his at bat to right field.  Simon clubbed a 1-0 count pitch off the fence in left field for a double to score Evansen.  Nelson singled placing runners at the corners.  Nelson stole second base before Hilke got a strikeout swinging and strikeout looking of the #3 and #4 hitters in the lineup.

In the top of the 7th Hilke walked ending Doering's outing.  I had him at 116 pitches, 66 strikes.  He had 4 strikeouts, 3 walks and a hit batter.  Simon came in and the Knights loaded the bases with one out.  Olson and junior Alex Vold cracked back to back singles.

The next two K-W hitters were retired on a pop out and a strikeout to seal the 8-6 win for Maple River. The #3 seed in the tournament is now 14-6 and plays 4:00 p.m. in Gaylord Saturday.

The Knights ended their season wit ha 10-12 record.

Owen Hilke threw 102 pitches, 68 strikes over six innings.  He struck out 7 batters, walked 1, hit a batter while allowing 8 hits.  4 of the 8 runs scored by the Eagles were runners that got on base due to a Knights error.

Line totals were:  Maple River 8 runs,  8 hits,  2 errors, 5 runners left, 4 scoring position
Kenyon-Wanamingo 6 runs,  8 hits, 5 errors, 8 runners left, 5 scoring position

Cannon Falls defeated Blue Earth Area 3-0 in a Winner's Bracket game so the Bombers play Belle Plaine at 11:00 a.m. Saturday on KDHL Radio, 920 AM, 97.9 FM and on the KDHL app.  Belle Plaine bested Sibley East 4-3 in the other Winner's Bracket contest.

The winner of that game doesn't have to play again until June 10 and would have to be defeated twice in order not to go to the State Tournament.

In Elimination Bracket Saturday games in Gaylord at 1:30 p.m. Blue Earth Area plays New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale Geneva.  4:00 p.m. it's Maple River against Sibley East.

Winner's of those games play each other Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. in Gaylord.  The winner of that contest plays the loser of the Cannon Falls vs. Belle Plaine game 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

In other Thursday area high school playoff games.

Section 1A:  Hayfield 10  Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 0,  Wabasha Kellogg 8 United South Central 7, Southland 2  Spring Grove 0, Lyle-Pacelli 15  Rushford-Peterson 0

Elimination Bracket:United South Central 4  Waterville-Elysian-Morristown 0 (WEM out)
Rushford-Peterson  14  Spring Grove 8  (Spring Grove done)

Section 1AA:  Rochester Lourdes 15  Triton 0, Plainview-Elgin-Millville 13  Lewiston-Altura 0, Chatfield 6  Caledonia 2, Pine Island 10  Goodhue 0.

Section 1AAA: Elimination Bracket Jordan 1 Winona 0  (Winona done)
Eliminaton Bracket  Red Wing 5  Austin 4  (Austin done)

Section 1AAAA  Elimination Bracket   New Prague 5  John Marshall 4  (JM out)
Elimination Bracket   Rochester Century 8  Lakeville South 6 (LS done)

Check these out!

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