Grant Olson decided to throw his birthday party at Cadwell Park on Sunday, but Dimock/Emery was not thrilled to be invited.
The Dell Rapids Mudcat left fielder entered the Class B state amateur baseball tournament hitting .291, but he decided to celebrate his 32nd birthday with a pair of doubles and three RBIs, including a game-altering two-out, two-run double in the fifth inning of a 10-4 win over the Raptors.
Olson had tied the game with a double and scored the go-ahead run in the fourth, but his double in the following frame put Dell Rapids in control for good.
“You get to the state tournament and batting average goes out the window and the season starts over,” Olson said. “Phil (Johnson) mixed it up nice, he’s always a tough guy to hit. I just got comfortable up there.”
Phil Johnson gave Dimock/Emery the lead in the top of the first on an RBI double with two outs, but Mark Houck came back with a two-run double in the bottom half of the inning for Dell Rapids.
An error tied the game in the second and Sam Pischke gave the Raptors the lead in the third on a ground ball. But as the Mudcats began to find their rhythm at the plate, Dimock/Emery struggled to sustain any offense.
Dell Rapids starter Jared Donahue gave up two earned runs on four hits and four walks in six innings, striking out seven in the process. Then, Hartford/Humboldt Wood Ducks add-on Blake Svoboda did not allow an earned run in three innings of relief.
“Jared Donahue has always been a competitor and he knows how to pitch our guys,” Dimock/Emery manager Brad Bartscher said. “We squared up some balls, but he made better pitches in key situations. Tip your hat to him, that’s how baseball is.”
While Donahue and Svoboda were steady, the Mudcats began to solve the Dimock/Emery pitching staff. An error in right plated a run, Johnson gave up an RBI single to Travis Peters, ending his day after 4 2/3 innings.
Drew Kitchens came in to close out the inning, but Olson clubbed a 2-2 pitch to center field.
“Phil settled down in the middle innings,” Dell Rapids manager Jim Wilber said. “Just seeing him another time (helped). Our guys were aggressive, good hitters that just came up with some big hits, one right after another.”
Houck finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs as seven Mudcats had at two hits. Dell Rapids faces Four Corners at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Johnson gave up five earned runs on nine hits, while Jason Schmidt was 3-for-4 with an RBI at the plate and Gene Kitchens added two hits.
Dimock/Emery finishes the season 18-11.