St. Peter bats come alive late in 10-0 win over Le Sueur; Little pitches shutout
Posted July 28, 2020
By Pat Beck, St. Peter Herald
It took a while for St. Peter town team bats to get going, but once they did, the Saints erupted for 10 hits en route to a 10-0, eight-inning victory over the Le Sueur Braves on Monday at Veterans Field.
Lefty Owen Little went the distance in throwing a two-hit shutout with four strikeouts, four walks and two hit by pitch to up his record to 3-1.
"His fast ball is his pitch," St. Peter manager Tom Lacina said of Little, who throws in the low 80s mph. "It's all about throwing strikes and getting a little movement on it. He's got to work on his breaking ball. He got ground balls [eight outs] when we needed them. He gave up quite a few walks. But we played good defense, so if you get ground balls, you get out of it."
The Saints committed no errors and turned two double plays.
After hitting into double plays in each of the first three innings, the Saints scored runs in all of the final four innings.
"It took a while, but we got clutch hits when we needed them," Lacina said.
The Saints took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning. Third baseman Chet Olsen led off with a double to left, catcher Billy Hanson sacrifice bunted him to third, and Olsen scored on a sacrifice fly by designated hitter CJ Siewert.
The Saints upped their lead to 2-0 with a run in the sixth. Center fielder Sam Wenner reached second on a error off the glove of the right fielder, shortstop Andy Regner singled through the shortstop hole, and left fielder Brad Morris singled to left to drive in Wenner.
St. Peter scored three more runs in the seventh for a 5-0 lead. Regner delivered the big blow, a three-RBI opposite field single to right to score Siewert (who walked), first baseman Jeff Menk (who singled to right), and Wenner (who was hit by a pitch).
The Saints finished off the Braves with five runs in the eighth. Second baseman Austin Pinke, Olsen and Hanson (intentionally) walked to load the bases. Siewert drove in Pinke with a ground out. Menk walked to load the bases again, and right fielder Hunter Wilmes cleared the bases with a double to center. Wenner ended the game on the 10-run rule with a walk-off single over the left fielder's head to drive in Wilmes.
Regner led the attack, going 3 for 4 with three RBIs. Morris also had multiple hits, going 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Five Saints had a hit each: Wenner (1-3, hit by pitch, two runs, RBI), Pinke (1-3, walk, run). Olsen (1-3, walk, two runs), Menk (1-3, walk, two runs) and Wilmes (1-4, double, two RBIs).
The Braves left six runners on base. Two were stranded on second and third (second baseman Brent O'Connell who walked and third baseman Cullen Bruce who singled) with no outs in the first inning. The Braves left the bases loaded with one out in the fourth inning when first baseman Ryan McPartland beat out an infield hit, catcher Mike May walked and pitcher Brandon Culbert was hit by a pitch.
Culbert pitched the first 6 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, no walks and one strikeout. Ryan Wolf pitched a third of an inning, giving up four runs on four walks and a double. Ryan McPartland finished the final third of an inning, allowing one run on two hits and a walk.
St. Peter has four new players (Little, Olsen, Morris and pitcher Luke Regner) who have sparked the team to a 9-2 record in the River Valley League.
Two veterans, pitcher Jesse Anderson and third baseman Shea Roehrkasse, decided not to play this year because they have young children who they are concerned about being exposed to the COVID19 virus.
"We're pretty young this year, but we've got through 11 games in three weeks," Lacina said. "It's been a good year so far, even though it's been short.
The Saints wrap up the regular season at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in a rematch at Jordan (10-1). The Brewers beat the Saints in their first meeting 3-0. If the Saints win by more than three runs, they would be seeded first in the Region 6C playoffs. Otherwise, St. Peter would be No. 2 and Jordan No. 1.
"We usually give Jordan a good game," Lacina said. "We just didn't hit well against them last time."
Either way, St. Peter will host a first-round playoff game at 6 p.m. Sunday. If seeded No. 1, St. Peter would play the winner of a play-in game Saturday between Henderson (0-12 and last in the River Valley) and the last place team in the 13-60 League (either Cleveland or Janesville). If seeded No. 2, St. Peter would host the No. 8 seeded team (either Lake Crystal, Janesville or Cleveland) from the 13-60 League.
"Hopefully we can at least win a couple of games and get to the last weekend, and you never know," Lacina said.
Three of the 17 teams in the region make it to the state Class C tournament Aug. 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 and Sept. 4, 5, 6, 7 at Springfield and Milroy.
They're in state if they win the first three in the region. If they lose one, they have to win five in the double-elimination tournament.
The Braves (5-6 with one game to go Tuesday, July 28 at Arlington) are guaranteed a No. 5 seed in the playoffs and will play on the road verus the 13-60 No. 4 seed in the first round.