Errors costly for Mudcats in District 5 title game
PARKSTON — Errors played a big part in the District 5 championship game Saturday. The Parkston Mudcats committed three costly errors in the second to help Alexandria score nine runs in the inning. The Angels, who also won the regular season crown, went on to claim the title 11-3.
“We just had that one bad inning and things kind of fell apart on us,” Parkston Mudcats manager Dave Roth said. “Otherwise, it could’ve been a different game.”
After a scoreless first inning, Chris Marek singled to get things started for the Angels with one out. After Parkston starting pitcher Trevor Kuiper walked John Greicar, Pierce Smith recorded an RBI single to score Marek and take the lead — one it wouldn’t relinquish.
Later in the inning with two outs, Peyton Smith reached on an error and Cole Wenande had a two-RBI single to score Greicar and Pierce Smith. Thomas Gulledge followed with another two-RBI single, bringing in two runs and the score to 5-0.
The Mudcats recorded two back-to-back errors and Chris Marek took advantage by pounding a three-run homer to lift Alexandria’s lead to 9-0. After a walk, the inning ended on a flyout to center field.
“Getting a lead early on is huge for us,” said Marek, Alexandria’s manager and catcher. “We have great pitching and if you can get the lead and give us something to work with, it makes the game much more comfortable.
“An early lead is great, especially against a team that has quality pitching and plays good defense on a regular basis too.”
After a quiet third inning, the Mudcats got on the board when Matt Malloy hit an RBI single to drive in Jeff Fish, who was walked by Angels starting pitcher Trever Vermeulen. Malloy also drove in Jeff Fish for the Mudcats’ second run of the game in the sixth inning.
Alexandria added two runs to bring its lead to 11-2 in the bottom of the sixth. Parkston went on to score its final run in the eighth when the Angels committed errors of their own. But the momentum stopped there as top-seeded Alexandria went on to win the title, defeating defending district and state champion Parkston.
“This boosts our confidence but we know we’re not close to done yet,” said Vermeulen, who had nine strikeouts in eight innings. “We need five more wins to get to the ultimate goal of the state championship.”
Chris Marek led offensively for Alexandria by going 2-for-5 with three RBIs and a home run. Wenande and Pierce Smith each had a double and single with two RBIs, while Greicar added a double in the win.
For Parkston, Malloy went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three other players each recorded singles.
Kuiper got the loss on the mound, striking out two in two innings. Trevor Arnold threw four innings in relief, striking out four, and Luke Tiesler pitched the final four innings for the Mudcats.
Cory Marek pitched the final inning for Alexandria.
Both teams advance to the state tournament, which begins Wednesday in Sioux Falls.
NOTES — Parkston ace Brady Nolz did not pitch in the championship game due to a “sore arm,” according to Mudcats manager Dave Roth. Roth said he didn’t know if Nolz will pitch in the state tournament but the Mudcats will found out early in the week. ... Vermeulen was named the Most Valuable Player, while Malloy was the top hitter in the tournament, going 7-for-11 for a batting average of .640 in three games.
DIMOCK/EMERY 5, PLATTE 4
PARKSTON — Ben Wermers hit a single in the bottom of the ninth to score the winning run and lift Dimock/Emery over Platte 5-4 Saturday.
The Raptors will advance to the state tournament and Platte’s season ends with the loss. Dimock/Emery outhit the Killer Tomatoes 7-5 in the game.
Jason Schmidt was the winning pitcher and had two strikeouts. Schmidt threw two innings in relief after Richard Wiese pitched the first seven.
Myles Kuiper was the losing pitcher, striking out four in 8 1/3 innings. Frank Cutler went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the loss.
For Dimock/Emery, Wiese went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs.