Starters going deep into games, no fear on moundWith the fear of the aluminum bats gone, pitchers at the Class B state amateur baseball tournament are going deeper into ballgames and shutting down offenses.
By: Kevin Pottebaum, The Daily Republic
With the fear of the aluminum bats gone, pitchers at the Class B state amateur baseball tournament are going deeper into ballgames and shutting down offenses.
“The pitchers go longer and aren’t afraid to pitch a little tired,” Clark manager Fred Obermeier said. “They know they probably aren’t going to get smacked around quite like they did with the aluminum bats.”
No pitcher threw nine shutout innings in a single game during last year’s state tournament, compared to five already at this year’s event plus an 11-inning effort by Wynot, Neb., pitcher Brett Wiebelhaus where he allowed just one unearned run.
Parkston Mudcats manager Dave Roth said that scoring runs with wood bats is more difficult, but he also said the shutouts at this year’s tournament are also a credit to the pitchers playing in the games.
“There have been some great pitchers so far in the tournament,” Roth said. “Plus with the wood, it’s a little harder to score runs on them.”
With the lower scoring games, each individual run has more of an impact in the games and teams such as Alexandria have focused on bunting and other tactics to work for a single run, rather than play for the big inning.
“With wood bats you have to score one run in an inning,” Angels manager Chris Marek said. “If you end up with six or seven at the end, you’re in great shape.”
Managers are also going to their top pitchers as much as possible.
Lake Norden got a complete-game shutout from starting pitcher Jordan Johnson on 126 pitches on Friday night, and then had him return to the mound in the team’s second-round game against Alexandria on Tuesday.
Johnson threw seven more scoreless innings before allowing two in the eighth and being taken out after 125 pitches. He did not record a decision on the mound as his team fell 5-2.
The Parkston Mudcats made a similar decision with their starting pitching. Brady Nolz threw 125 pitches in the team’s 5-2 win over Harrisburg on Sunday and Nolz got the nod to start Wednesday night’s contest against Milbank.
“He said he was ready to go and it doesn’t take him much time to recover after a start,” Roth said.
With the tournament games closer together at the end and the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship games all being played in three days, pitching Nolz Wednesday night was the best way to give the Mudcats’ ace an opportunity to throw in an extra game.
“If we win a couple of games he can get three starts in,” Roth said of his decision to start Nolz on Wednesday.
The decision paid off for Parkston as Nolz picked up the win with six innings of work in a mercy-rule shortened game. He threw 69 pitches in the victory.
Although Alexandria didn’t start its ace, Trever Vermeulen, in Tuesday night’s win over Lake Norden, Vermeulen was warmed late in the game with the importance of the game.
“Going into the last inning, if it was a one run game, it was his ball,” Marek said. “I wasn’t going to take any more risks. If (the tying run) got on base he was going to finish it.”
Vermeulen threw 137 pitches in the team’s 3-0 win Friday night against Wessington Springs.