August 24, 2022 at 4:01 p.m.

Elrosa advances in state

Elrosa advances in state
Elrosa advances in state

By Herman [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

It was déjà-vu when Payton Van Beck came off the mound Aug. 20 with Elrosa winning 3-1 over Montgomery in the state amateur baseball tournament at Faribault.

About one year ago, he had also come off the mound as the winning pitcher in a state tournament game. Then, he pitched for Spring Hill as a draftee. This year, he was pitching for Elrosa.

“It is a different feeling doing it for your own team – it is a lot of more fun,” Van Beck said.

Van Beck kept Montgomery in check well enough that he earned player-of-the-game honors. He scattered seven hits, taking a shutout into the eighth inning. The early part of the game did not indicate how he would dominate the final innings.

“I wasn’t in my groove to start, but I then found my form and started throwing pretty hard at the end,” he said.  

Three of his six strikeouts came in the seventh, when he struck out the side. He got a bit of a boost when his team gave him an early lead. In the second with two out, Ashton Dingmann’s double was followed by Peyton Winter’s single. Two-out hits were part of the Elrosa rallies. Kevin Kuefler singled in the fifth, then stole second, scoring on Jackson Peter’s two-out single.

“We found a way to get a couple of runs,” summed up manager AJ Hadley.  “The defense made all the plays and what can you say about Payton Van Beck.”

With a lead to protect and knowing he could trust his defense, Van Beck focused on retiring batters. Not even the noticeable Montgomery contingent (Montgomery is about 30 minutes from Faribault) seemed to faze him. He kept the crowd fairly quiet with the Mallards popping-up and grounding out. He faced 14 batters in the last three innings.

“He got stronger as the game went on,” said Hadley. “The velocity was definitely better, especially from the seventh inning. He was pumping up the velocity.”

The Saints took advantage of two wild pitches, scoring Will Van Beck in the eighth inning. It was their last offensive hurrah as relief pitcher Alex Wattermann retired all six batters he faced.

Elrosa had five productive hits in the game. Four of them either led to a run or drove in a run. Blaine Fischer singled for the fifth hit.  

“We knew a little about their pitcher, that he had a decent fastball and a couple different arm angles,” Hadley said. “He likes to get ahead then go to the slider.”

That was about all Elrosa knew of Montgomery. Van Beck knows a bit more about their next opponent, the New Ulm Brewers, who they face Aug. 27 at 11 a.m. in Dundas. Last year, New Ulm had a 2-1 win over Spring Hill.

“New Ulm is something like 30-3. That will be a test,” said Hadley. “Payton threw against them last year with Spring Hill in the second game of the tournament (a 2-1 New Ulm win).”

The déjà-vu continues.

Elrosa was the third seed of Region 15C. Others in the first round also earned wins. Second seed Watkins defeated the Pierz Lakers 6-5 Aug. 20 at Faribault, and fourth seed Richmond topped Hinckley 10-6 Aug. 21 in Miesville. St. Martin, the number one seed, had a first-round bye. 



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