August 16, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.
A squeeze bunt by Carter Holthaus scored Carter Philippi in the 13th inning, guaranteeing a trip to the Class C Minnesota Amateur Baseball Tournament for the Avon Lakers in the Region 8C Tournament.
The 8-7 win came over the Foley Lumberjacks in elimination bracket play Aug. 12 at Hellie Field in Pierz.
Later that day, Avon fell 10-0 to St. Stephen, giving the Lakers a No. 4 seed and the Steves No. 3 heading into the state tournament, which begins this Friday.
Avon’s first state tournament game is against Region 5C’s Red Wing at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 20, at Saints Field in Dassel.
Avon 8, Foley 7
With the score tied 7-7 in the top of the 13th and with one out, Philippi doubled to left. Nathan Sand followed with a ground ball to the infield and reached on an error, advancing Philippi to third.
Holthaus put a bunt down, scoring Philippi for the winning run.
Matt Pichelmann got Foley to go down 1-2-3 in their half of the 13th to seal the win and a trip to state.
The Lumberjacks jumped out to a 5-0 lead after four innings and held onto it until the top of the seventh. With one out, Matt Meyer drew a walk and advanced to second on a single by Caleb Curry. After a fly out, Joe Dolan walked to load the bases. A pop fly by Elian Mezquita mishandled by Foley scored Meyer and Curry.
Peyton Randall’s single to left scored Dolan and Mezquita, closing the score to 5-4 in favor of Foley, who added a run in the seventh to go back up by two.
The Lakers went ahead in the ninth. Curry started the rally with a single and scored on Reese Gregory’s double. Dolan followed with a double, scoring Gregory and tying the game. An infield grounder scored Dolan, giving Avon a 7-6 lead.
However, that advantage vanished in the ninth, when Foley scored a run to knot the game at 7-7.
Both teams went scoreless the next three innings, setting up the 13th-inning heroics for the Lakers.
Pichelmann got the win after taking over in the fourth inning from Mezquita and pitching the final 10 innings for the Lakers. He gave up eight hits and three runs, two earned, while striking out seven and walking two. He threw 122 pitches, 72% for strikes.
Randall and Curry both went 3-for-7 and Randall had three RBIs. Getting two hits each were Gregory, Dolan, Philippi and Holthaus.
St. Stephen 10, Avon 0
The win over Foley advanced the Lakers into the third-place game the same night, where Avon faced the St. Stephen Steves and lost 10-0 at Hellie Field in Pierz. The game ended after seven innings.
The Steves scored a run in the first and then three runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Sand and Mezquita got a hit each for Avon.
Levi Lampert pitched all seven innings for the Steves.
Jake Schelonka got three of St. Stephen’s 10 hits in the game. Mat Meyer and Charlie Kent picked up two hits each, with Cole Fuecker, Jack Greenlun and Andrew Wollak recording hits as well.
This is the third time the Lakers have played St. Stephen this season. The other two games were much closer, with the Lakers winning 3-1 July 28 and 3-2 in 10 innings July 14.
Buckman defeated Nisswa in the Region 8C championship game Aug. 11. Buckman enters the state tournament as the region’s No. 1 seed and Nisswa No. 2.