Saturday, August 18, 2007

Muckdogs advance to semifinals

Montrose routs Redfield en route to semifinals
Matt Bunke
The Daily Republic - 08/18/2007

SIOUX FALLS — After struggling a bit offensively in Tuesday night’s win over Vermillion, the Montrose Muckdogs made sure to score plenty of runs in Friday’s 12-4 victory over Redfield Dairy Queen in a quarterfinal game at the Class B state tournament.

But as it turned out, they didn’t really need many of them with (DH) on the mound.

(DH) gave up a run in the top of the first inning and ran out of gas in the eighth, surrendering three more runs, but for most of the night, Redfield struggled against the Muckdogs’ starter.

(DH's) final line showed three earned runs in 7 1/3 innings pitched, but the numbers weren’t indicative of his true performance.

After allowing a first-inning run on a Keith Gall RBI single, (DH) cruised all the way through the seventh inning. After stranding a Redfield runner at third base in the second inning, he didn’t allow another runner past second until the eighth inning.

“He was very impressive,” Montrose manager Jeff DeBates said. “He kept the ball down. He changed speeds and nothing was ever the same (arm) angle with him. He played a heck of a game.”

But after cruising through the seventh inning with barely a threat, (DH) began to tire in the eighth inning.

He allowed a walk and a single to open the inning, and after surrendering a two-run triple to John Tadlock, his night was over.

“I got a little tired, and the legs got a little loose,” (DH) said. “I just ran out of gas I think.”

For Redfield, however, it was far too late.

While (DH) was shutting Redfield down for six consecutive innings, the Muckdogs’ were busy building a 10-1 lead, making (DH's) eighth-inning hiccup virtually meaningless.

Montrose did much of the offensive damage in a six-run fourth inning. After Jeff Schultz and Jake Kloos opened the inning with consecutive singles, Matt Mathiesen’s sacrifice bunt set the stage for Eric Graves’ two-run single. An infield single by Jamie Grosdidier followed by an error on Redfield third baseman Mark Gulseth loaded the bases.

Chris Conrad drove in a run on a sacrifice fly, and with two outs, Chad DeBates followed with an RBI single. Jason Brown’s two-run double capped the inning.

“I guess they just came ready to play tonight,” Jeff DeBates said of his team’s offense explosion. “We had a lot of two out hits. Those were big.”

Montrose managed just one hit in the first three innings against Redfield starter Lonni Stover, who entered the tournament with a 7-0 record. But in the fourth through ninth innings, the Muckdogs banged out 18 hits.

After going scoreless in the first three innings, Montrose also scored in every remaining inning except the seventh, when singles by Graves and (DH) were wasted. The Muckdogs scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, and they plated a pair in both the eighth and ninth.

“We didn’t really hit ball early on,” said Brown, who finished with three doubles. “We just kind of hung with it and made some adjustments, and then we started hitting the ball a little bit.”

Schultz finished the game 4-for-6 with two RBI at the plate. (DH) complimented his nice pitching performance with four hits of his own, and Mathiesen, Graves and Grosdidier all had two hits for Montrose.

The Muckdogs advance to play in one of tonight’s semifinal games at 7:30 p.m. against either Irene or the Parkston Mudcats, who were scheduled to start at 8:55 p.m. Friday night. Results were not available at press time. Dell Rapids PBR and Larchwood will meet in the other semifinal at 1 p.m.

The two winners will advance to Sunday’s championship game in Sioux Falls. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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