Schmidt's walk-off double lifts D/E in extras
SIOUX FALLS — Jason Schmidt made his only hit count.
“It feels really great,” said Schmidt, who was 0-for-4 before his final hit. “That was the only pitch I really got a hold of all night. I haven’t been this far with this team in the four years I have been playing with them, so it feels great to be heading to the semifinals.”
Schmidt and the Raptors face Winner/Colome in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday at Sioux Falls Stadium.
The big hit from Schmidt gave Dimock/Emery pitcher Phil Johnson the win. Johnson threw 12 innings, allowing one run on six hits, walking one and striking out eight.
Johnson’s only blemish came in the top of the ninth. With one out, Dimock/Emery looked to be headed toward a 1-0 victory, but Dell Rapids’ Nate Henry had other plans. He sent Johnson’s pitch over the right field wall to tie the game and send the game to extra innings.
The right-handed Dimock/Emery pitcher has thrown 18 innings, allowing just a single earned run in the tournament.
“I can’t say enough about Phil,” Dimock/Emery manager Brad Bartscher said. “The guy is a warrior. Obviously, he would like to have the pitch back that he threw to Nate Henry, but he came back and threw three more innings of lights-out baseball.”
Dimock/Emery (34-6) drew first blood, pushing across a run in the bottom of the second inning by playing a bit of small ball. Johnson led off the inning with a single up the middle. Audie Kuipers, a pick-up player from the Platte Killer Tomatoes, laid down a sacrifice bunt, which moved Johnson over to second. Johnson advanced to third on a groundout by Josh Engquist and scored on an RBI double from the bat of Rich Wiese.
Wiese finished 2-for-4 with one RBI to lead the Raptors offensively.
Due to Johnson’s effectiveness on the mound, Dell Rapids didn’t have many opportunities to score many runs early. Other than the ninth inning, Dell Rapids best chance to score was in the top of the third inning when it had runners on first and second with two outs. But the chance diminished as Henry grounded out to Dimock/Emery second baseman Engquist to end the inning.
Dell Rapids pitcher Dale Solberg went 9 1/3 innings, giving up one run on three hits.
“We have a never-say-die attitude,” Bartscher said. “We haven’t done anything impressive but battled and that is keeping us alive. We have played three very good teams, and we have done what we needed to do to survive.”