August 24, 2023 at 6:00 a.m.
Jackson Peter recorded Elrosa’s first and last hit and was a part of every Saints rally in the team’s 4-3 win over Hadley Aug. 19 at Saints Field in Dassel.
Peter tripled in the first inning, only to be stranded at third when the inning ended. In the ninth, he singled down the left-field line, driving in Andrew Weller with the game-winning run.
The game was one of timely hits, good pitching and rallies. Elrosa led twice in the game. In the second, it scored two runs without a hit. Back-to-back walks to Peter and Derek Wiener and a fielder’s choice put Wiener and Peyton Winter on base. A wild pitch moved the runners into scoring position and they scored on an infield error.
Brett Engelmeyer, drafted from Greenwald, started for Elrosa. He struggled at times and gave up three runs by the fifth inning. The Buttermakers scored on an unearned run in the second and took the lead with a two-run home run in the fifth.
Elrosa brought in Cole Fuchs, drafted from the Cold Spring Rockies, in the sixth inning. Fuchs kept Hadley quiet, facing nine batters in three innings. He did give up a hit, but catcher Blaine Fischer combined with second baseman Gavin Kampsen to pick him off.
Except for an Ashton Dingmann single in the sixth inning, Elrosa did not record a hit from the fourth to eighth innings.
A bunt single by Fischer opened the eighth inning and started the rally. Peter followed with a sacrifice bunt, putting Fischer on second base. Wiener’s double drove Fischer in to tie the game at 3-3.
Payton VanBeck came to the mound in the ninth and pitched a 1-2-3 inning as Elrosa’s three pitchers retired the final 13 Hadley batters.
Weller, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh, led off the ninth and was hit by a pitch. Leadoff batter Kevin Kuefler drew a one-out walk. Fischer’s fly ball to center brought up Peter with two outs. Peter sent a drive down the line and Welle, hustling on contact, had no problem beating a throw to the plate to score the winning run.
Elrosa faces Region 9A champion Minneota at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26 at Optimist Park in Litchfield.
The Saints were one of three Region 15C teams to play in the state tournament this weekend. Spring Hill posted a 6-4 win over Roseau and Kimball won 4-2 over Dumont. St. Martin, the Region 15C champion, had a first-round bye.
Of the 48 teams that qualified for the Class C tournament, eight are located in Stearns County. Four of them won in the first round and two others had byes.