Hanson drives in game-winner as Saints edge Morristown 4-3
Posted July 29, 2019
By Pat Beck, St. Peter Herald
Both teams had trouble hitting with runners on base, but St. Peter catcher Billy Hanson delivered the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Saints edged the Morristown Morries 4-3 in the first round of the Region 6C amateur baseball playoffs Sunday at Veterans Field.
With a light rain falling the entire game, Hanson worked his way to a 3-2 count and hit a line-drive single to left field that scored designated hitter Jovan Rodriguez who walked, went to second on an error and was stealing third.
"I got a pitch I fouled off 1-0," Hanson said. "Then we got to a full count, and he threw me a pitch middle in belt high, and I saw Jrod taking off from second on a full court. I just put the barrel on and hoped I got it over the third baseman. It takes one good at bat to finally get your swing back."
Both teams left 11 runners on base.
"We left a lot of guys on base," Hanson said. "That just means we're putting the ball in play and getting guys on base. You just got to get that clutch hit every now and then. That's what wins the game."
Seeded No. 4 in the River Valley League, St. Peter (14-9) took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Center fielder Sam Wenner bunted and reached first on an error. He stole second and went to third on overthrow of second. Shortstop Andy Regner walked and stole second. Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly to score Wenner.
Seeded No. 5 in the 13/60 League, the Morries (10-10) took a 2-1 lead with two runs in the second inning on a double, two singles, a sacrifice fly and an error.
St. Peter tied it 2-2 with a run in the fourth. Second baseman Austin Pinke singled to right, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Hanson and third on a wild pitch. First baseman Jeff Menk walked, and Pinke scored on an high-hop infield hit to third by Hunter Wilmes.
Morristown regained the lead 3-2 with a run in the fifth on a double, a sacrifice fly to third and an infield hit.
The Saints tied it 3-3 with a run in the seventh. Wenner reached on an error, Regner doubled down the right-field line, and Wenner scored on a wild pitch.
With the field getting wetter and wetter in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Saints managed to get Rodriguez on with a one-out walk. Pinke reached on an error, and Rodriguez scored with Hanson's game-winning hit.
St. Peter starting pitcher Jesse "Homie" Anderson (10-4) went the distance, allowing three runs (two earned) on 11 hits, two walks and four strikeouts.
Morristown starting pitcher Matt Samrow lasted seven innings and allowed two runs on seven hits. Tate Harmon pitched the last two innings, giving up two hits and two runs including the game winner for the loss.
"It started out as a pitchers' duel," Hanson said. "We were putting the ball in play with a few strikeouts here and there. Homie pitched well. He was hitting his spots. The defense had some ups and downs, but we stepped up when it mattered. We had two errors which is unheard of for us, but they had seven errors, and they kept us in the game."
The Saints had nine hits. Pinke and Menk both went 2 for 3 with a walk each. Wenner (1-4, stolen base, run), Regner (1-3, double, walk, stolen base), Hanson (1-4, RBI), Sowder (1-4, stolen base) and Wilmes (1-3, RBI) each had a hit.
Hanson said Morristown, who the Saints hadn't played before, "had hitters up and down the line-up. They aren't going to strikeout very often. Our defense was ready, and for a rain-soaked game, it wasn't too bad. The ball gets wet, so you worry about the throws, especially on ground balls. They had three or four throwing errors, so you pick up that ball, and it's greasy.
"We kept some dry balls in the game for the pitchers. Homie didn't show any signs of the mound getting slippery. It was getting close in the end. That clay will get slippery."
St. Peter will travel to 13/60 No. 1 Waterville (28-1), which beat Arlington 9-1 in the first round, at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3.
Although Waterville has a 28-game winning streak, Hanson said playoffs are s different animal.
The Saints are playoff tested, making state four of the last five years.
"We haven't played them in a long time," Hanson said. "(Former Saint) Ty Kaus plays for them. They're on a roll. Playoffs is a brand new season, and it doesn't matter what you did yesterday. It's all a matter of who shows up on that day. We found that out in the past whee we didn't show and we lost. If they don't plan on playing hard, we'll take it.
"We've got a playoff style team, if we can put it together. We're a tough team to beat. We've got speed, and we've got hitting. We turn a lot of singles into doubles."
123 456 789 r h e
Morries 020 010 000 — 3 11 7
Saints 100 100 101 — 4 9 2
W-Jesse Anderson 10-4. L-Tate Harmon