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Canova offense leads team past Volga

SIOUX FALLS -- With impending inclement weather heading toward the stadium Saturday night, the Canova Gang offense kicked into overdrive.

The Gang, clung to a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, but as the storm clouds began to surround Sioux Falls Stadium at the Class B state amateur baseball tournament, the Canova bats got rolling.

The result was a nine-run inning to catapult the Gang to a 12-2 win over Volga in the opening round of the tournament. The game was delayed Saturday night in the bottom of the sixth because of lightning and rain and concluded Sunday afternoon in 12 minutes at Augustana College’s baseball field in Sioux Falls.

Canova got three outs to end the game in the seventh inning due to the 10-run rule.

“As the rain started coming, someone said, ‘Well, maybe we should go up there and get three quick outs,’ ” Canova manager Dave Gassman said. “I said, ‘No you don’t want to do that because you never know what happens in a ballgame.’ Who knows? They might come back and you put yourself in a fix where you can’t get rolling again.”

The Canova offense got going in the fifth inning Saturday. To start the scoring was Garrett Gassman, who doubled to left field to score Nick Koepsell. Devin Alfson followed the double with a three-run home run to provide some added insurance runs to bring the score to 7-2. But Canova was not done. Matt Burpee, a pick-up player from Madison, and Lincoln and Tucker Gassman recorded three straight singles. Burpee’s was up the middle, while both of the Gassmans’ hits were to right field.

Tucker Gassman’s single scored Burpee, and Jimmy Bauer provided the other big hit in the inning with a two-run double to left field, which scored Tucker Gassman and Curt Carlson.

Jimmy Bauer and Garrett Gassman each led Canova with two hits and three RBIs.

“We started out a little tight, but the second time through the lineup we started hitting the ball well,” Dave Gassman said. “We are capable of hitting. We have a nice-hitting team. It was not surprising, but some days you can hit the ball well and hit it at people and some days like today we hit balls where they weren’t.”

Canova starter Jared Hegdahl threw six complete innings, giving up two runs on two hits, with no walks and four strikeouts.

Last year, Canova lost in the quarterfinals to Alexandria and could be on a collision course to face the Angels again this season. This time, if the two teams meet, it would be in the semifinals Saturday. In the second round, Canova meets Crofton, Neb., at 6 p.m. Wednesday.