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Mudcats advance, beat Canova in extras

Parkston's Jeff Harris dives back to first base safely past the tag of Canova's Matt Burpee, a pickup player from Madison, during the Class B state amateur baseball tournament Friday at Sioux Falls Stadium. (Aaron Saunders/Republic)

SIOUX FALLS — Every time the Parkston Mudcats’ offense was called, it answered.

The Mudcats pounded out 14 hits en route to a 7-5 win over the Canova Gang in 11 innings to advance to the semifinals of the state tournament. The Mudcats face Alexandria at 7:30 p.m. today at Sioux Falls Stadium.

No hit was bigger than Jeff Fish’s two-run, two-out double that came in the top of the 11th inning, which broke the tie. After consecutive groundouts by Tyler Nolz and Spencer Freudenthal, Jeff Heisinger started a two-out rally with a double to left field. Next, Jeff Harris was intentionally walked, while Myles Kuiper, a pickup player, kept the inning going after hitting a ground ball that was fielded by Canova shortstop Trevor Oswald.

Oswald’s throw to first base was just high enough to force Tucker Gassman to jump for the ball, allowing a sliding Kuiper to beat the throw.

“We tried giving the game to them, but everyone hung in there and we came away with a win,” Parkston Mudcats manager Dave Roth said. “We had some big hits tonight and that is what it takes to win these big ball games.”

Down 5-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Canova got a pair of big doubles from Devin Alfson and Jared Hegdahl.

The first came from Alfson who drilled a Brady Nolz pitch to right center field for the first hit of the inning. After Jared Donahue replaced Alfson as a pinch runner, Hegdahl stepped up to the plate and lined a double just over the glove of Parkston third baseman Heisinger. The double scored Donahue and tied the game at 5.

Hegdahl started the game on the mound for Canova, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on 11 hits. Nolz got the win for Parkston after he went 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out 11.

Parkston came out swinging. The Mudcats scored two runs in the first inning and a pair of runs in the third. But Canova answered in the bottom of the third inning, scoring two runs of its own.

Nick Koepsell led off the inning with a pop fly to right field, which bounced off of the glove of Parkston second baseman Matt Malloy, allowing Koepsell to reach first and start a Canova rally. Mudcats starting pitcher Trevor Kuiper walked Jimmy Bauer and hit Garrett Gassman, loading the bases for Canova. With the bases loaded Alfson drew a walk, recording the Gang’s first RBI. Following a Matt Burpee strikeout, Lincoln Gassman hit an infield single, plating Bauer.

Lincoln Gassman led the Canova offense with three hits and was the losing pitcher, he threw 5 2/3 innings in relief giving up two runs on three hits. Koepsell and Alfson also had two hits apiece.

“You have to hit the ball when you have the bases loaded,” Canova manager Dave Gassman said. “We lost that game in the first couple of innings by leaving the bases loaded. You just can’t do that stuff when you are down here. We killed ourselves.”

After giving up back-to-back singles Trevor Kuiper was pulled and Brady Nolz threw in relief. Kuiper threw 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits, while striking out five and walking three.

Canova managed to get two runs off the Parkston reliever.