Saturday’s first-round game between Canton and Platte at the Class B State Amateur Baseball Tournament presented an opportunity for two teams that had rough regular seasons.
And it was Tyler Maxwell and the Aces that took full advantage at Cadwell Park. Maxwell held Platte to just five hits and Jake Roskam drove in all three runs as the Aces blanked the Killer Tomatoes 3-0.
For the Killer Tomatoes, it was a combination of not enough offense and badly timed defensive miscues with four errors, that spelled defeat for Platte.
“We had the four errors and that didn’t help. We just couldn’t get the bats going,” Platte manager Todd Strand said.
The Aces took advantage of a two-out Platte error in the fifth inning, as a dropped fly-ball by Riley Hoffman in center field allowed Dillon Schenkel to reach base. Schenkel stole second base and Roskam then singled to right field to give Canton an early 1-0 lead.
In the seventh, Canton strung together four straight singles, the last of which from Roskam scored both Schenkel and Blake Beard for a 3-0 lead. Roskam negotiated with Canton manager Nick Sehr about hitting in the No. 2 hole but Sehr won the battle and that move paid off for the Aces.
“I kept him in there because he’s probably our most clutch hitter,” he said. “That was big for us and we played really strong defense and we were running down flyballs and taking away those extra bases.”
Canton had 10 hits, three of them from Schenkel, with Roskam, Devin Skiles and Randall Waterbury each picking up two hits. Maxwell had five strikeouts to go with their five hits allowed.
Strand said Maxwell pitched well, keeping Platte at bay with a mix of fastballs and breaking balls.
“He didn’t throw that breaking ball right away and we just couldn’t adjust,” he said. “We’d like to hit something a little harder and a little faster and he kept us a little off-guard tonight.”
For Platte, Michael Buitenbos took the loss, allowing 10 hits, three runs (two earned), two walks and four strikeouts. Richard Sternberg had two hits and Ryan Allen had a double for the Killer Tomatoes, who left nine men on base.
Canton, which was 5-11 in the State Line League, will play the winner of Alexandria and Flandreau at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the second round. Platte’s season ends at 7-13.