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Pheasants blast past Alexandria for District 5B title

PLATTE - Playing late Friday night and through the fog into Saturday morning, the Winner/Colome amateur baseball team couldn't be slowed down in the District 5B championship game.

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Winner/Colome's Dillon Lambley reaches down to tag out Alexandria's John Greicar during the District 5B amateur baseball championship game on Friday in Platte. (Matt Gade / Republic)

PLATTE – Playing late Friday night and through the fog into Saturday morning, the Winner/Colome amateur baseball team couldn’t be slowed down in the District 5B championship game.

The Pheasants (20-2) exploded for nine fourth-inning runs and defeated the Alexandria Angels 12-5 at American Legion Memorial Field to claim the district crown.

Both teams advance to the Class B State Amateur Tournament in Sioux Falls, which starts Wednesday. The teams will learn their draws for the 32-team bracket on Saturday.

“We played well, and it should give us momentum going into the state tournament,” Pheasant coach Kevin Graesser said. “I think Alex is the top team in the state, so it was a big win.”

It was a battle between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the state’s polls, and No. 1 started out with the lead, as Cole Wenande bashed a home run in the second at-bat for Alexandria to center field for a 1-0 Angels lead.

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That score would hold up until the top of the fourth inning, when Alexandria pitcher Tyson Gau hit W/C batters Reed Harter and Derek Graesser, and then walked Austin Richey to load the bases. Two batters later, Austin Calhoon put the Pheasants in front with a single that scored two and Dillon Lambley hit an RBI single. The Angels tried to limit the damage but Kelly O’Bryan broke the game open with a three-run triple to center for a 6-1 lead. Back-to-back RBI singles from Harter and Graesser pushed the lead to 8-1 and Graesser would later score on an error.

After an Angels error helped stretch the lead to 10-1, Alexandria got a handful of runs back in the fifth inning. Peyton Smith had a three-run double to right field to slice the lead to 10-5 but the defending state champions could not get any closer.

Calhoon hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning to cap a three-RBI night and to put a bow on the district title.

Connor Hopkins was the winning pitcher for Winner/Colome, tossing 12 strikeouts in seven innings. He allowed three hits and five earned runs with six walks. Tarell Bauld pitched the final two innings without allowing a run. Calhoon finished 3-for-5 with a double and a home run. Zach Harter knocked in two runs.

Gau took the loss, allowing eight hits and 10 runs (eight earned) in 7 1/3 innings with seven strikeouts. Jordan Gau retired the last five batters and allowed one hit and two runs. Winner/Colome outhit Alexandria 9-4 and took advantage of three Angels’ errors.

The game was already backed up by rain prior to the start of the last-chance game between Platte and Corsica-Stickney. In the top of the eighth inning of the title game, heavy fog rolled in and halted the game for a half-hour. The game resumed and finished at 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

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