There weren’t a lack of base runners on Wednesday night at Cadwell Park.
Corsica-Stickney and Wynot (Neb.) combined for 29 hits and eight walks in the first round of the Class B amateur baseball state tournament. The Expos sprayed hits around the outfield, amassing 17 with a wild pitch driving home Chase Rolfes to end the game in eight innings, 16-6.
Wynot (16-11) advances to play Winner/Colome at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, while Corsica-Stickney finishes 4-16 this season.
“Tonight our offense scored some runs and put some pressure on them,” Wynot center fielder and manager Lee Heimes said. “... I thought we had good quality at-bats tonight. We didn’t swing at a lot of balls. We hit the ball, put it in play and made them make some plays.”
Despite scoring in each of the final seven innings and never being retired in order, the Expos didn’t pull away until the fifth inning.
A three-error top of the fifth helped the Horned Frogs tie the game at 6-all. Gavin Zomer doubled in a run to cut the deficit to 6-4, followed by Ryan Buck recording one of his three hits to tie the game. The Expos committed five errors in the win.
However, a more aggressive approach at the plate didn’t pay off for the Horned Frogs, while Wynot’s fielding woes turned into Corsica-Stickney errors. The Horned Frogs finished with five errors.
“They put the ball in play, but a couple of the errors we had were uncharacteristic,” Corsica-Stickney manager Bob Bamberg said. “Not that we don’t make any errors, but some of those guys are pretty reliable. It was a tough night, I don’t know if it was state jitters.”
Bamberg credited Wynot’s ability to avoid strikeouts and punch hits into the opposite field. It led to the Expos stringing singles together, finishing with eight players recording a hit and all nine players driving in a run.
Contact against Corsica-Stickney starter Ross Kortan, who allowed seven runs (six earned) in a four-inning start, became harder as the game went on. Wagner pick-up player Alex Kocer and Legion pick-up player Blake Moke surrendered nine runs (four earned) in the final 3.2 frames.
Although, Moke, a Dakota Wesleyan University commit, had his share of highlights. He nailed Jalen Wieseler trying to steal second in the first inning and picked up two hits.
“I think he has a bright future,” Bamberg said. “I think he’ll be an asset for DWU. I’m looking forward to getting him at DWU and seeing what happens. He’ll be a good guy to have on (Corsica-Stickney) next year hopefully.”
Devon Lammers recorded a team-high three hits in the win, while Rolfes, Wieseler, Heimes, Dave Schmidt and Dawson Sudbeck, who drove in three runs, all finished with two hits.
The Expos’ only extra-base hits came in the third inning when Wieseler tripled and Heimes doubled him home in the next at-bat to tie the game at 3-all. Jackson Sudbeck recorded his first strikeout in the next inning, striking out the side en route to a six-strikeout performance in which he allowed six runs (two earned).
“He’s a competitor,” Heimes said of Jackson Sudbeck. “Could have gotten out of some innings a little sooner, but he keeps battling and that’s what you like about him.”
Luke Bamberg and Aaron Groeneweg had three and two hits, respectively.
“It was kind of a rollercoaster ride,” Buck said. “A lot of ups and downs, a lot of opportunities. Unfortunately, we hit the ball hard but hit it right at them. Made a push at the end of the year to make the state tournament to give ourselves a chance. Tough game here, but it was a fun year.”