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Nolz pitches Mudcats past Britton in first round

Parkston pitcher Brady Nolz flips the ball to first base to put out Britton's Ryan Wagner for the final out of the third inning during a Class B state amateur baseball tournament game against Britton Sunday at Sioux Falls Stadium. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)1 / 2
Parkston's Jeff Harris is congratulated after scoring the team's fourth run of the game in the second inning a Class B state amateur baseball tournament game against Britton Sunday at Sioux Falls Stadium. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)2 / 2

SIOUX FALLS -- Although it’s not unusual for Brady Nolz to throw a complete game for the Parkston Mudcats, this one was different.

Sunday in the first round of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament, Nolz went the distance to help the Mudcats defeat the Britton Lumberjacks 11-1 despite having two bone spurs in his right pitching elbow.

The injury, which originated in a July 26 game against Corsica/Stickney, sidelined the Parkston hurler for the District 5B tournament championship on Aug. 2. After resting 15 days, Nolz pitched the defending Class B state amateur baseball champion Mudcats past Britton in a game that ended in the eighth inning due to the mercy rule.

Nolz tossed all eight innings, allowing one run on six hits, while walking three and striking out nine.

“I was happy with my performance, because coming into the game I didn’t even know if I would be able to pitch,” said Nolz, who was the winning pitcher in the state title game against Crofton, Neb., last season. He pitched in all five state tournament games last year, earning the tournament’s MVP award with four wins and a save. “They gave me some medication and a cortisone shot and I have been doing all I can to get it ready.”

Nolz ran into a bit of trouble in the fifth inning when he gave up one run to the Lumberjacks. Pat Krause hit a Nolz fastball to right-center field, plating Ryan Wagner. With men on first and third, Nolz hunkered down, and got Aaron Kappes to fly out to center and B.J. Richter to pop out to first to end the threat.

“I just tried pounding the zone today as much as I could because I knew we were going to score runs,” Nolz said after the victory. “All my pitches worked pretty good and we have a pretty good defense behind me and I just did what I could.”

The Parkston offense did the bulk of its work in the top of the eighth. The Mudcats scored six runs in the inning, which put the exclamation point on the win and ended the game via the mercy rule after Britton couldn’t answer in the bottom half of the inning.

All of the Mudcats’ runs came off Lumberjacks starter Justin Link, who pitched eight innings, allowing 11 runs on 14 hits, while striking out two and walking six.

Myles Kuiper, a pick-up player from the Platte Killer Tomatoes, knocked in the first run of the eighth with a bloop single, scoring pinch runner Cole Donahue. Tyler Nolz led off the inning with a double to right field and gave way to Donahue on the bases. The Mudcats scored again RBI singles from Matt Malloy and Trevor Freudenthal. The final runs posted by Parkston came on a double by Pat Harris, scoring Malloy, and a RBI groundout by Spencer Freudenthal, pushing across Trevor Freudenthal.

“We played good defense and hit the ball well,” said Parkston manager Dave Roth, whose team lead 4-0 after the first two innings. “When you score some early runs it makes every run relax and play the game they are supposed to.”

Parkston was led by Kuiper, who finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Jeff Harris, Tyler Nolz and Trevor Freudenthal were each 2-for-4 and Pat Harris was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.

Malloy got the scoring started in the first inning with an RBI groundout that scored Jeff Harris from third. Harris led off the inning with an infield hit, advanced to second on a bunt single by Kuiper and reached third on a sacrifice bunt by Jeff Fish. Pat Harris was responsible for the other run in the inning, lining an RBI single to right field to score Kuiper and give the Mudcats a 2-0 lead.

Parkston added two more runs in the second, but neither came on a hit. The first came on a throwing error, and the next came on an RBI groundout.

With the win Parkston (19-6) advances to the second round, where the Mudcats face Tabor at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Sioux Falls Stadium.