Crofton gets past Winner-ColomeSIOUX FALLS — Winner-Colome had the same problem in its first-round game at the Class B state tournament just one week ago. Errors. But in that game, they weren’t as costly. Instead, the Pheasants were able to slug their way past Bryant in the first round. Winner-Colome wasn’t as fortunate Friday night against Crofton.
By: Travis Mester, The Daily Republic
SIOUX FALLS — Winner-Colome had the same problem in its first-round game at the Class B state tournament just one week ago.
But in that game, they weren’t as costly. Instead, the Pheasants were able to slug their way past Bryant in the first round.
Winner-Colome wasn’t as fortunate Friday night against Crofton.
Crofton’s Mike Sturm kept the Winner-Colome offense at bay for much of the evening and the Pheasants committed three second-inning errors that led to four unearned runs as the Bluejays punched their tickets to the semifinal round with a 9-4 win Friday night at Sioux Falls Stadium.
“That hurt,” Winner-Colome coach Kevin Graesser said of his team’s second-inning miscues. “Every game we’ve given up runs because of errors, and tonight we weren’t able to make up for them.”
The Pheasants committed five errors in all, but it was the second-inning blunders that sealed their fate.
Left fielder Zach Harter couldn’t catch a fly ball after losing it in the sun to lead off the inning. That was followed up by singles from Chad Guenther and Kyle Mueller. Then, Blake Nielson dropped another popfly near the warning track in right field and second baseman Trent Sherman booted a ground ball. By the end of the inning, a 1-1 tie had turned into a 5-1 deficit for Graesser’s squad.
“We’re a team that when the opportunity arises, we can take advantage,” Crofton manager Carl Schieffer said. “That’s pretty much what we’ve done all summer long and that’s how we win games right now.”
Sturm tossed a complete game for the Bluejays. He allowed three earned runs on 10 hits and struck 11 batters.
The left-hander worked himself out of trouble a pair of times in the middle innings. He struck out Harter, J.J. Farner and lead-off man Derek Graesser in succession to get out of a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam in the fourth inning. In the sixth, Sturm struck out Shane Pajl and induced an inning-ending popout by Dane Driscoll to leave men on second and third.
“That’s pretty much what he does. He changes his speeds and he’s good on location,” Schieffer said of Sturm. “He works around the plate and he’s got a great cutter that guys aren’t familiar with.”
Schieffer also catches for the Bluejays and went 3-for-5 with a pair of singles, a triple and two RBIs in the game.
Derek Graesser pitched eight innings and allowed five earned runs on nine hits. He struck out three and walked five.
Winner-Colome got an RBI single from Rusty Arthur to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. But Crofton answered back with a run in the bottom of the first and then took control after the Pheasants kicked the ball around the field in the second.
Derek Graesser did bring Winner-Colome within one run with a two-RBI double in the sixth inning. But Sturm worked his way out of it and the Bluejays tacked on four insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth.
“We didn’t capitalize when we needed to at the plate, and the errors in the second inning were the difference in the game,” Kevin Graesser said. “You still have to hit the ball and make the plays and that’s what Crofton did. They get credit for that.
“They’re a very fundamental team and we would have had to play our best game to win.”
Farner was the only Winner-Colome player to have more than one hit. He went 2-for-4 from the No. 9 spot in the order.
Crofton faces Madison in a semifinal game at 7:30 p.m. today.
Trent Sherman wins SDUA scholarship award
SIOUX FALLS — Winner-Colome’s Trent Sherman was given the Dick Ruddell Scholarship Award Friday.
The award is an annual scholarship worth $500 given by South Dakota Umpires Association.
Sherman qualified because he is in his second year of post-secondary education, holds a grade point average of higher than 2.5 and attends a South Dakota school.