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Marek's two-hitter propels Angels

Alexandria’s Cole Wenande is safe at third base as Redfield Pheasants player Drew Dickhaut attempts to field the ball during a second-round game at the South Dakota Class B state amateur baseball tournament Wednesday at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. (Brooke Cersosimo/Republic)

Cory Marek was in command all night on the mound.

The right-hander threw a complete-game, two-hit shutout to help lift the Alexandria Angels to a 7-0 victory over the Redfield Pheasants on Wednesday.

"He was in control the whole game," Redfield manager Jim Millar said. "He was always around the plate, and we just never got any good bats on the ball."

The Angels (21-2) advance to the quarterfinal round of the South Dakota Class B state amateur baseball tournament at 8 p.m. Friday at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. The Pheasants are eliminated and end their season 19-10.

Marek, who walked three batters and struck out five, said he felt good all night.

"It felt like an easy pitching performance because my defense did all the work for me," he said. "We had some double plays and it always gives you confidence when your defense is playing well."

The Angels, who had two errors, not only put up a solid defensive stand but had their bats swinging for the fences.

"We had a hop in our step from the first inning," said Alexandria manager Chris Marek, whose team edged Avon 4-3 in the first round. "We didn't have a slow first three innings like we did the other night. Once you get rolling, that energy carries all the way through."

On Wednesday, Alexandria got out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back. The Angels scored a run in the fourth and fifth innings and secured the win in the eighth with three runs.

Eight of Alexandria's nine batters recorded a hit in the contest with Cole Wenande, Cory Marek and Tyson Gau each having two RBIs. Thomas Gulledge had the hot bat of the game, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI for the Angels.

Redfield's two hits were produced by Christian Christianson and Sutton Masat.

This year is the second time the team made the state tournament since the team's inaugural season in 2010. In the 2012 tournament in Mitchell, the Pheasants were knocked out in the first round. This year's second-round appearance marks the best performance by the team in a state tournament.

"Any time we can play in the state tournament in Mitchell, it's a blast," Millar said. "The setting is perfect here and we enjoyed the experience we had down here."

NOTES: After the game, Angels pitcher Tyson Gau was recognized for being named a Mark Mehlhaf Memorial Courageous Comeback Player of the Year. Gau was one of two recipients of the award this year with the other being Tom Murtha of the Parkston Mudcats. Both players underwent Tommy John surgery on their elbows. This year marked the first time a father-son duo has won the award as Curt Gau, Tyson's father, won the award in 2003. Curt earned the honor after returning to play with Alexandria after suffering a heart attack. "My dad's was more severe than mine but it means a lot to us," Tyson said. "We're not people who like to give up." ... The Platte 13-14 VFW baseball team was honored between Wednesday night's second-round amateur games. Platte won the state B tournament in July and finished the season with a 14-5 record.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.