Chamberlain loses in slugfest at State B tourneyPLATTE — Eleven innings. Thirty-five runs. Thirty-five hits. Eight home runs. Three hours and 45 minutes. When all was said and done, it all added up to an 18-17 win over Chamberlain for Groton to start the Class B Legion state tournament Wednesday morning at American Legion Memorial Park in Platte.
By: Leah Rado, The Daily Republic
PLATTE — Eleven innings. Thirty-five runs. Thirty-five hits. Eight home runs. Three hours and 45 minutes.
When all was said and done, it all added up to an 18-17 win over Chamberlain for Groton to start the Class B Legion state tournament Wednesday morning at American Legion Memorial Park in Platte.
“The thing that’s been our constant all year is we’ve been able to hit the ball well,” Groton coach Travis Kurth said. “At some point, I thought we’d put some runs across the plate.”
What started out as a quiet game turned into a slugfest in the fourth inning and continued through the ninth when Joe Hieb hit a three-run homer to tie the game at 17 and keep Chamberlain alive.
Groton scored 17 runs in the fifth through seventh innings but was held silent in the eighth and ninth. Chamberlain, down 17-11 heading into the bottom of the seventh, scored three seventh-inning runs and three more in the bottom of the ninth thanks to Hieb’s third homer of the game to send the game into extra innings.
Chamberlain forced a pop out and turned a double play for a quick top of the 10th inning, but Groton ended up doing the same in the bottom.
Evan Erickson scored the eventual winning run off on an RBI single by Jeff Tobin in the top of the 11th to send Groton into the winner’s bracket.
“We may have lost a little bit of focus (after the fourth inning), but give credit to Groton: they came in and hit the ball,” Chamberlain coach Brock Sundall said. “We had a couple defensive errors that really cost us. Our Achilles heel all year has been giving teams extra outs.”
Cody Schreiber hit the first home run of the game in the first inning to put Chamberlain up 1-0, and that score stuck until the bottom of the fourth when it went off for seven more runs. Schreiber and Hieb each hit a solo home run in the inning and Ryan Smith hit a two-run double.
Groton, however, came back in the fifth with eight runs to tie the game at 8 thanks in part to four Chamberlain errors. Chamberlain committed nine errors in the game.
Groton took its first lead of the game in the sixth when Garrett Harms hit a solo homer to right center and picked up a 12-8 lead with four more runs — including a two-run homer by Heath Giedt — in the sixth.
Hieb hit his second homer of the game — a two-run shot — to get Chamberlain within one, 12-11, in the bottom of the sixth, but Giedt hit another two-run homer to fuel a five-run inning for Groton for a 17-11 lead.
Chamberlain got within three with three more runs in the seventh to set the stage for Hieb’s game-tying homer, but couldn’t keep Groton’s bats quiet in the end.
“Anytime you lose in day one, you put yourself in a hole,” Sundall said. “But, it’s a double-elimination tournament for a reason. We’re just going to come back and play the best we can and hopefully we get to play Friday.”
Matt Erickson threw the final 1.2 innings and picked up the win for Groton, which plays Vermillion today at 5 p.m. Giedt finished 3-for-5 with two homers and six RBIs and Matt Erickson was 4-for-5 to lead Groton.
Schreiber gave up 12 runs on 10 hits and struck out six in the first 6.2 innings for Chamberlain. Josh Denke came on in relief and gave up six runs on seven hits while striking out four and ended up taking the loss.
Hieb finished 3-for-4 with seven RBIs and Schreiber was 4-for-6 with two homers, two doubles and two RBIs.
Chamberlain plays Big Stone City at 10 a.m. today.