Taylor Boerger struck out eight batters, Travis Lester legged out a memorable triple and Milbank topped Chamberlain in the opening round of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament.
Behind Boerger’s solid outing and just enough offense, the Firechiefs defeated the Mallards 5-1 on Friday at Cadwell Park. Milbank will play Mount Vernon at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.
Against Chamberlain, Milbank finished with 10 hits and none more memorable than Lester’s triple in the fourth inning. Lester smacked the ball to deep right center field and Chamberlain center fielder Jake Byre missed the ball, which rolled to the outfield fence.
“I was lucky enough to get it by a diving center fielder and it was probably the first triple I have had in my life,” said the heavier-set Lester.
After it rolled to the fence, Lester rounded second base, slid into third base and the Milbank dugout roared for their teammate.
“I honestly thought he was going to stop at second,” Boerger said. “But the outfielder didn’t have the ball yet. So he just kept on trucking. … It’s just a huge momentum thing to get the big man on the base, getting that triple and it gets the bats going.”
In the next at-bat, Jacob Jackson’s RBI single brought in Lester and Milbank led 3-1.
Lester, who finished 3-for-4, hit a standup double in the eighth inning. The Firechiefs then plated two more runs for a 5-1 advantage.
In the ninth, Boeger finished the job on the mound. Boerger allowed just three hits and one unearned run in the fourth inning.
Boerger got in and out of innings early to get into a rhythm. He retired the side in three of the first five innings.
“When you can go in and get a 1-2-3 inning, it’s huge,” Boerger said. “It saves your arm and saves innings. The more time you get out of those three and outs, the more you get into a groove and a lot of confidence.”
Brady Krause started the Milbank scoring with a two-out, RBI single in the second inning. Ash finished with two hits for Milbank. Jesse Krause, Dominique Boerger and Cole Gross each had a hit.
Byre, Evan Fluery and Mike Schwartz each finished with three hits for Chamberlain, which fell in the first round of the state tourney for the second straight season.
Up next, Milbank will turn their attention to Mount Vernon, which edged Larchwood (Iowa) 4-3 on Friday.
“We don’t know a whole lot,” Boerger said about facing Mount Vernon. “But that’s what the state tournament is all about. You don’t really know anything about anybody. You just come out and play your best and let the chips fall where they may.”