Gaylord tops St. Peter 4-1 in state-qualifying game; Saints still alive in losers bracket
Posted August 11, 2020
By Pat Beck, St. Peter Herald
The Gaylord Islanders punched their ticket as one of three teams in Region 6C qualifying for the state Class C tournament by defeating the St. Peter Saints 4-1 in region semifinals Sunday at Veterans Field.
But the Saints are still alive and will play an elimination game at 11 a.m. Saturday against the winner of Morristown and St. Clair at Blue Earth. The winner plays the winner of Belle Plaine and Eagle Lake or Waterville in the third-place game at 4 p.m. to determine the third seed in the region to make state. The championship game between Gaylord and Jordan will follow at 7 p.m.
No. 2 seeded St. Peter (11-4) and No. 4 Gaylord (10-5) split a pair of regular season games in the River Valley League by the same score: 7-6.
But Islanders pitcher Erik Goetsch held the Saints without a run until the bottom of the ninth in the third meeting. Ed Reichenbach relieved Goetsch with the bases loaded and one out and got the final two outs with runners stranded on second and third.
Although the Saints had 10 hits, they left five runners on base. But the biggest killer was Gaylord's five double plays which stopped St. Peter rallies in the first, second, third, fifth and sixth innings.
The Islanders — who had seven hits, left seven runners on base and hit into just one double play — took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a walk, double, sacrifice fly and single.
Gaylord increased its lead to 3-0 with a run in the third on two walks, a bunt single and a ground out into a fielder's choice.
The Islanders went up 4-0 with a run in eighth inning on double, walk, sacrifice bunt, intentional walk and a ground out to second base.
The Saints scored their lone run in the ninth. Third baseman Jovan Rodriguez led off with a single and was forced out on a ground out by second baseman Austin Pinke. Pinch hitter Ryan Kapser singled to left to put runners on first and second including pinch runner Luke Regner. Catcher Billy Hanson singled to left to load the bases, and first baseman Jeff Menk drove in Regner with a ground out to first.
The top three hitters in the Saints' batting order all finished 2 for 4: center fielder Sam Wenner, left fielder Brad Morris and Rorriguez.
Four others had a hit each: Pinke went 1 for 2 with a hit by pitch, Hanson and Menk both batted 1 for 4, and Kapser went 1 for 1.
St. Peter starting pitcher Sam Carlson picked up the loss, going four innings and allowing three runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out one.
Kevin Sandborg pitched the next two innings without allowing a run on two hits, no walks and no strikeouts.
Starting shortstop Andy Regner pitched the last three innings, giving up one run on one hit, three walks and four strikeouts including striking out fellow Minnesota State University, Mankato alum Brody Rodning, who was drafted by the Toronto Bluejays and played in the minors for the last three years for three teams.