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Dell Rapids Mudcats win defensive battle

After errors dominated the storyline in the opening game of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament, defense shined in the second game. The Dell Rapids Mudcats kept the District 6B champion Menno Mad Frogs off the scoreboard and earned a 2-...

Menno's Dylan Lehr (5) dives back to first base to beat the throw from the pitcher during a game against Dell Rapids in the first round of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament on Wednesday night at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. (Matt Gade/Republic)
Menno's Dylan Lehr (5) dives back to first base to beat the throw from the pitcher during a game against Dell Rapids in the first round of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament on Wednesday night at Cadwell Park in Mitchell. (Matt Gade/Republic)

After errors dominated the storyline in the opening game of the Class B state amateur baseball tournament, defense shined in the second game.

The Dell Rapids Mudcats kept the District 6B champion Menno Mad Frogs off the scoreboard and earned a 2-0 win in a first-round game in front of a large crowd at Cadwell Park in Mitchell.

In a fast-moving, defensive battle that pinned the Cornbelt League vs. the South Central League, Dell Rapids starting pitcher Drew Sweeter kept the Mad Frogs bats quite. Sweeter pitched 8 1/3 innings, allowing no runs on four hits with seven strikeouts.

"(Sweeter) came through with a tremendous game, what a competitor," Dell Rapids Mudcats manager Jim Wilber said. "He wanted the ball and he was ready to pitch. You saw the results. He was hitting corners and mixing it up."

The Dell Rapids Mudcats didn't waste anytime grabbing the lead, scoring on a wild pitch in the top of the first inning. Mudcat leadoff hitter Jimmy Bauer was hit by a pitch to start the game and came around to score on a wild pitch by Mad Frog starter Macon Oplinger.

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"It sure looked big most of the game," Wilber said about the early run. "Runs are big. Menno's pitcher pitched a great game, we only squared him up a few times. We had to earn every run we could get."

Menno had its first threat in the bottom of the third inning when Tyler Miller reached base on an infield single. A Mudcat error allowed Dylan Lehr to reach first and Miller to advance to third base. After a conference on the mound, Sweeter was able to record a big strikeout on Menno's Brad Ulmer.

"Our defense was good, our pitcher was great, we just didn't capitalize on any opportunities," Menno manager Ryan Liebl said. "We were way too aggressive at the plate early."

Nate Henry added to the Mudcats' lead with a two-out RBI single over that scored Travis Peters, who leadoff the inning with a single. After six innings, the Mudcats clinged to a 2-0 lead. It proved to be more than enough.

"Our defense made some nice plays," Wilber said. "Jimmy (Bauer) and Grant (Olson) hauled in a lot of balls (in the outfield)."

Both teams failed to score after the sixth inning, but the game wasn't without drama as Menno brought the game-winning run up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning.

After Cody Ulmer singled and Josh Berndt walked, Wilber pulled Sweet and brought in pitcher Mark Houck. Houck was able to Damen Robish with a strikeout and Tate Bruckner popped out to first base to end the game.

Oplinger allowed two earned runs on six hits with three strikeouts in nine innings pitched.

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With the win, Dell Rapids Mudcats (15-5) advances to play Dimock-Emery in the second round at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, while Menno's season ends at 11-6.

"Those guys have the big sticks," Wilber said about the Raptors. "That lineup is dangerous. We're going to have to make some more plays and pitch well."

NOTES: Game time was 1 hour and 55 minutes.

Dell Rapids Mudcats 100 001 000 - 2 6 1

Menno Mad Frogs 000 000 000 - 0 4 0

WP:Drew Sweeter; LP: Macon Oplinger; Save: Mark Houck; Pitchers: Dell Rapids Mudcats: Drew Sweete, Mark Houck; Menno: Macon Oplinger.

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