Run ends for Tabor in quarterfinals
Brady Welk had two hits and three runs batted in and Jay Huber pitched seven strong as the Clark Traders topped the Tabor Bluebirds 5-2 in quarterfinal action at the South Dakota Class B state amateur baseball tournament at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.
Clark got things going in the first inning when Brent Griffith walked, stole second and scored on a single by Lane Hovde. With one out, Hovde stole second and scored on a single by Bryce DesLauriers, giving the Traders an early 2-0 advantage.
Then, the pitchers took over.
Huber and Tabor's Doug Vanacek gave up no runs and only two hits through the fifth inning.
"Jay has had a good season, starting with no hitting Dimock/Emery," Clark manager Brock Greenfield said. "He relied on his defense and he pitched to contact."
Tabor coach Joe Vavruska said Vanacek gave his team a chance to win the game.
"Doug has come on late in the year," Vavruska said. "He wanted the ball, we gave it to him and he came through for us."
In the sixth inning, DesLauriers singled, Rhett Florey and Taylor Welk were hit by a pitch to load the bases. Brady Welk proceeded to hit a sacrifice fly, giving the Traders 3-0 lead. That lone sixth-inning run looked to become important as the Bluebirds got to Huber in the seventh inning.
Chris Sutera singled and Josh Berndt hit a ground-rule double to open the inning. Huber got a ground out and Austin Koch grounded out to the shortstop, scoring Sutera. A Clark error gave Tabor another run and it pulled the Bluebirds to within one.
The Traders opened up their lead in the eighth inning. With two outs, Florey reached on an error and Taylor Welk walked. A wild pitch advanced the runners and Brady Welk hit a single to drive in both runners.
"The one funny thing was Jay is a ground ball pitcher but by the fourth inning, we had already counted nine fly ball outs," Greenfield said. "Our defense was tremendous tonight and we snagged a couple of line drives that could have gone for extra bases."
Taylor Welk replaced Huber on the mound and put the clamps on any Tabor rally.
"We hit the ball well but right at them," Vavruska said. "We just couldn't get the key hit at the right time. That's the way it's been all year for us. We'd get guys on base and never get the key hit. It was a good game and our guys battled and it was a good game."
Tabor earned four hits with Berndt recording a double. Vanacek suffered the loss on the mound, giving up three runs, two earned, on four hits while striking out two in 5 1/3 innings.
Huber earned the win, giving up two runs, one earned, on four hits while striking out two in seven innings. Welk led the Traders offensively going 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
Clark advances to the semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday, while Tabor is eliminated and ends its season 12-9.