Mudcats score 25 to beat Clearfield
As the lightning flashed in the distance Thursday night, the thunder came from the Dell Rapids Mudcats, who scored 25 runs at Cadwell Park.
The Mudcats proved they could hit in the first two rounds of the state amateur tournament, scoring a combined 40 runs. The team showed its offensive fire power again Thursday night when it shut out Clearfield, 25-0 in 4 1/2 innings.
"They're the best hitting team I've seen," Clearfield left fielder Kyle Beck said. "They're simply amazing."
The Mudcats move on to play Larchwood, Iowa, at 1 p.m. Saturday in a quarterfinal game.
Dell Rapids' leadoff hitter Jesse Kurtenbach was the first to score. After getting hit by a pitch, Kurtenbach scored when Travis Peters hit a hard base hit past Clearfield's diving Scott Meiners at second base. Kevin Meiners misplayed the ball in right and allowed Kurtenbach to score from first base.
After a walk and a strike out, Dell Rapids' Matt Wilber crushed the first pitch he saw over right field for a three-run home run, giving the Mudcats an early 4-0 lead.
After a scoreless first two innings by Clearfield, Dell Rapids added 12 more runs in the second inning. All but two of the Mudcats batted twice in the second inning, and 10 of Dell Rapids' runs came with two outs.
Clearfield starting pitcher Dave Campbell was knocked out of the game after 1 2/3 innings. The Sandburs had to change pitchers twice during the second. Campbell started the inning, then Doug Hesse came in and couldn't retire a Mudcat batter. Kelly Meiners got the Mudcats' 14th batter of the inning to fly out to the shortstop.
Dell Rapids would bat through its order again in the third, adding six more, giving the Mudcats a 22-0 lead. By the end of the inning, Clearfield totaled 10 total errors.
"We haven't played that bad defensively all year," Beck added. "It's too bad we saved it for the state tournament."
Clearfield could never get an inning going. In the first, Beck walked with two outs, then Rusty Arthur followed with a base hit, but a soft tap back to the pitcher by Kevin Meiners ended Clearfield's most productive inning.
For the next three innings, the Sandburs would go down in order. Clearfield's three hits of the game came from Arthur, Chris Burns and Casey Vietor.
After the game, Clearfield player and manager Kelly Meiners stood in front of his team and told his team to not let the loss destroy what the team did on the season.
The Mudcats' starting pitcher, Justin Siemonsma, faced only 19 batters. He pitched five innings, allowed three hits and struck out six.
Despite the loss, Beck was still positive after the game.
"This is the furthest a Clearfield team has made it in the state tournament," he said. "We're happy with what we did."