Offense backs up Nolz in mercy-rule victoryAs impressive as Brady Nolz continues to be on the mound, the Parkston Mudcats’ offense is shining brighter. Even he’ll admit it.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
As impressive as Brady Nolz continues to be on the mound, the Parkston Mudcats’ offense is shining brighter.
Even he’ll admit it.
The Mudcats recorded 16 hits and defeated Milbank 14-1 by the mercy rule Wednesday evening, advancing to the quarterfinals of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament for the third straight year. On a cool night at Cadwell Park in Mitchell, where several Mudcat fans and team manager Dave Roth were wearing red and black long-sleeve shirts, Parkston hitters gave Nolz a comfortable lead right away.
“You can’t do any better than they’re doing right now,” said Nolz, a right-hander who started on three days’ rest after throwing a complete game Sunday afternoon in Parkston’s 5-2 win over Harrisburg, a game Parkston had 13 hits. “I don’t see any other teams putting up numbers like we are right now.”
Nolz threw six of the seven innings, allowed two hits, no earned runs and struck out eight. Against Harrisburg, he struck out nine and now has 17 in this year’s tournament. Nolz said he’s available to pitch again whenever the team needs him next, not ruling out Friday’s quarterfinal game, which will be played against Clark at 8 p.m. Friday at Cadwell.
To lead Parkston’s powerful offense, Trevor Freudenthal had two doubles, a single and three RBIs and Matt Malloy and Anthony Williams each had two hits with three RBIs. The trio helped keep the top of the Mudcats’ order rolling. In the first round, Parkston had 11 of its 13 hits from batters two through five.
While Nolz was efficient and threw only 69 pitches Wednesday evening, Parkston had a three-run lead in what seemed to be a blink of an eye. Milbank starter Jeff Fish threw 16 pitches, and the Mudcats’ first three hitters scored.
Williams and Malloy each had RBI hits. Williams, the second batter of the evening, drilled a single to right to score Jeff Harris, who led off with a swinging bunt to no man’s land. Harris’ hit was coupled with an error, as he moved to third on a wild throw that ran up the first-base line. After Williams stole second, Freudenthal reached on an error, and Malloy slapped a single to right for the early lead.
“Scoring three runs in the first inning was just huge,” Freudenthal said. “We built off that momentum.”
The Mudcats broke the game open with five runs in the top of the fourth for a seven-run lead. To start the rally, Williams worked a bases-loaded walk for an RBI. He trailed 0-2 in the at-bat, but fouled off tough pitches and watched ball four to push Roger Albrecht across the plate. Freudenthal followed Williams’ strong plate appearance with one of his own, pulling a double down the first-base line and scoring Jeff Heisinger and Harris. Williams eventually scored a Malloy’s sacrifice fly to right and Freudenthal plated the fifth run of the inning on a wild pitch.
Beau Behrend scored on a wild pitch in the fifth, Pat Harris and Dylan Dwyer each had RBI singles in the sixth, and the Mudcats added three in the top of the seventh. When asked to describe his team’s offense all Nolz could say was, “amazing.”
Nolz set Milbank down in order in the bottom of the first inning. The right-hander looked strong right away, overpowering Milbank’s Ronnie Krause with fastballs and a strikeout for the first out.
Milbank’s lone run came in the bottom of the third. Malloy, a shortstop, had errors on back-to-back plays to allow Ryan Conrad to score. Nolz got Fish to hit into a double play in the next at-bat to end the inning. On the play, Nolz fielded a hot-shot ground ball and turned and fired to Malloy, who finished the relay for the third out to first baseman Spencer Freudenthal.
Nolz ended his night by striking out three straight hitters in the sixth.
Pat Harris and Dwyer each had a pair of hits, and five other players had one each. The Mudcats have lost in the quarterfinal round at the state tournament each of the past two years, but Trevor Freudenthal is more confident heading into this year’s round.
“The last two years we wore red jerseys, so we’re not wearing red this year,” Freudenthal said.
NOTES: Mitchell High School athletic trainer Clayton Gropper received the South Dakota Athletic Trainer of the Year award before the game. DWU head athletic trainer Jarod Guthmiller presented the award to Gropper, who graduated from DWU in 2000, earning his bachelor degree in athletic training. From there, he started working at Avera Queen of Peace. … Luke Tiesler pitched the final inning for the Mudcats, allowing one hit. He retired two batters on fielder’s choices and the final out was a pop out. … The only person to reach twice against Nolz was Conrad, Milbank’s No. 9 hitter. He had an infield single in the third and walked in the fifth. … Fish threw four innings, allowed eight hits and seven earned runs for Milbank. He took the loss.