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Buttermakers Take Region Title

By: Mark Zinnel- Buttermaker Reporter

The Hadley Buttermakers faced the Number 8 seed, Jackson Bulls for the Region 13C title and the Region #1 seed and a first round bye in the State Tournament.   Hadley dispelled with the Bulls in 2 games to take the Region title for the 2nd time in 3 years and earn themselves a week off. Here is the rundown of the week’s action

Wednesday

Hadley traveled down I-90 again to take on a hot Jackson Bulls team at Wacker Field on another hot and humid night for baseball. Jackson has been on a long winning streak after struggling the first half of the season.  Jackson was one of the last teams to beat Hadley at the end of the season in a rather convincing matter at home on Fan Appreciation Sunday a month ago.  Hadley had the bad taste in their mouth and wanted deeply to get rid of the taste and get some payback.  Both teams have gone through the playoffs undefeated to date, so someone was going home with an L that night. Whenever Hadley and Jackson face each other, the outcome of each game changes from game to game.  There are never any certainties.

Hadley sent Pipestone A’s draftee, Brandan Alfson to the mound to cool the hot Bulls team.  Buttermaker fans were hoping to see a performance from Alfson like the one against Fairmont the previous week.  Alfson’s control was not as sharp as last week but the end result was the same. Here is the game recap:

Hadley looked primed to get on the board in the 1st inning.  Joe Larson would shoot a lead-off single up the middle to start the game on a 0-2 count.  Derek Lieser would strike out after working the count full.  Nick Bruning would single.   Both Larson and Bruning would steal bases to move into scoring position, but the Bull starting pitcher would get Blake Rogers to strike out and Max Zwart to pop out to end the threat.

Jackson came up to bat looking confident.  The Bull leadoff batter would make Alfson throw 11 pitches before working out a walk.  The runner’s time on the base was short lived as Alfson would pick him off base on the next pitch as the stands erupted in a loud cheer.  Unlike Fairmont, Jackson would not have to wait until the 6th inning to get a hit off Alfson as the 3rd batter would single to left.  Brandan would get the next batter out on a strike out to move to the 2nd.

In the 2nd, Eric Wieneke would single to start off. Wieneke would move up to 2nd on a successful stolen base.  Trent Carlson would work out a walk to put 2 Buttermakers on base. Chris Halbur would hit a hard ground ball to 1st base for the 1st out as the runners moved up a base.  Derek Platt then would hit a slow roller between the pitcher and the 1st baseman that would just nip Platt at the bag as Wieneke crossed the plate.  Joe Larson would single to bring in Carlson and a 2-0 lead.  Derek Lieser would strike out for the 3rd out.

In Jackson’s at bat in the 2nd, things looked promising for the Bulls.  Alfson would get the 1st out quickly.  The next batter would work out a walk. The next batter hit ground ball to Eric Wieneke at 2nd that looked like a sure double-play. But, Wieneke would mishandle the ball as the inning continues.  Alfson would get another strike out for the 2nd out.  Eric Wieneke would mishandle another ground ball as the Bulls now had the bases loaded.  Brandan Alfson would strike out the next batter to end the Bull scoring opportunity.

Both teams would go down in order in the 3rd and 4th innings.  In the 5th, the Hadley bats woke up.  Derek Platt led off with a single and moved to 2nd on a stolen base.  Joe Larson then would single to score Platt.  After an out, Nick Bruning would double to score Larson.  Blake Rogers would then reach base on a Bull fielding error.  Max Zwart would step up and single to right.  Nick Bruning would score, but the Bulls would catch Blake Rogers too far from the bag as he rounded 2nd for the 2nd out.  Eric Wieneke would strike out for the 3rd out.

Hadley would add another run in the 6th.  Trent Carlson would lead-off with a hit a shot down the left field line for a single. Chris Halbur would reach base on a bunt single.  Derek Platt then would put down a bunt and beat the throw to 1st to load the bases.  The hot hitting Joe Larson stepped up but would hit into a double play as Carlson came home to score for a 6-0 lead. Derek Lieser would fly out to end the inning.

Jackson would put 2 runners on base in the 6th after a walk and their 2nd hit of the game off Alfson.  With 2 outs, the next batter would step up and make a wild swing as the bat flew down the 1st base line.  While everybody was watching the bat, Trent Carlson would throw down to Max Zwart at 1st base to tag the runner watching the bat for the 3rd out as the Buttermaker fans let out another loud cheer.

Hadley would pick up 2 more hits over the last few innings but were unable to add any insurance runs.  Jackson’s only scoring attempt occurred in the 7th.  Jackson would get their 3rd hit off Alfson when their lead-off batter would single to center and the ball would get by Joe Larson as the runner moved up to 2nd base.  A ground out would allow the runner to move on to 3rd base.  The next batter would hit a fly ball to Derek Lieser in right field.  Lieser’s throwback would get by both the cut-off and Trent Carlson at the plate.  The runner at 3rd made a move to score.  Unfortunately for him, Brandan Alfson was backing up the play and tossed the ball to Carlson at the plate and a rundown pursued.  The runner would be tagged out for the 3rd out as the Buttermaker fans erupted.

Alfson would only allow one other Bull batter to reach base as he got the final out on a strike out as Hadley would walk away with a 6-0 shutout victory. 

Brandon Alfson went the distance for Hadley to earn the victory.  Brandan Alfson recorded 8 strikeouts and 3 walks for the game and held the Bulls to just 3 hits while throwing 140 + pitches for the game.

Joe Larson had a good night at the plate as he picked up 3 hits and 3 rbis.  Nick Bruning, Chris Halbur and Derek Platt all had 2 hits.  Max Zwart, Trent Carlson, Eric Wieneke and Kellan Johnson each collected 1 hit.  Max Zwart, Nick Bruning and Derek Platt were each credited with 1 rbi.

Final Box Score

                          R   H  E

Hadley               6  13  4

Jackson              0   3   1

Saturday

Another big crowd was on hand in Hadley to watch the Buttermakers try to dispatch with the Bulls in 2 games. The Buttermakers came into the game confident and gave the ball to Sam Erickson to close out the series.

After having their offensive bats cooled on Wednesday evening, the Bull bats came alive from the first pitch.  Jackson’s first 2 batters singled to start the game. Sam Erickson would get a ground ball double play as the Bulls 1st run crossed the plate.  Jackson would follow with 2 more singles to put runners on the corner.  Sam Erickson would get a ground ball out to escape the 1st by allowing only the 1 run in so Hadley found them down a run as the game moved into the 2nd.  Hadley would get a hit in their half of the inning but unable to plate a run.

Sam Erickson would settle down and limit the Bulls to just two more hits through 5 innings. 

Hadley would tie the game in their at bat in the 2nd.  Trent Carlson led off the inning by singling down the left field line. After a fly out, Derek Lieser would double to put runners in scoring position.  Chris Halbur stepped up and sent a fly ball to medium left.  Trent Carlson would attempt to tag up and score.  The throw to the plate was on line to tag out Carlson, but Trent would make a nifty slide to avoid the tag and called safe.  Derek Lieser would get called out at 3rd attempting to steal for the 3rd out as the game moved along tied at 1.

Hadley would take the lead for good in the 4th as the Buttermakers went double happy.  Blake Rogers, Max Zwart and Eric Wieneke would hit doubles for the Buttermakers.  Chris Halbur would add a single in the inning as Hadley would go up 4-1.

Max Zwart would come into relieve Erickson in the 6th and put the Bulls down in order.  Hadley would add on to their lead in their at bat.  With 1 out, Eric Wieneke would single.  Derek Lieser would hit into a force out.  Chris Halbur would single to put runners at the corner.  Up would step Kellan Johnson and he would send a pitch just over the left field fence to put Hadley up 7-1.

Jackson would put a run on the board in the 7th after getting a walk and 2 hits off Zwart to move the score to 7-2 

In the 8th, Hadley would strike again.  Eric Wieneke would lead off and hit a home run to left center.  Chris Halbur would double and come around to score on a single by Kellan Johnson to go back up at 9-2.

Max Zwart would hit a batter and then a fielding error would allow another Bull runner to reach without any outs.  The Bulls were hoping for a rally, but Manager Myron Bennett decided to bring in Pipestone A’s draftee; Brandan Alfson in to close the game.  Alfson would throw a wild pitch to move the Bull runners up a base.  A ground ball out would follow as 1 run crossed the plate. A come backer to the mound would get another out.  Fans were at the edge of their seats waiting for the 3rd out and to properly celebrate.  However, Jackson was not quite ready to give up.  It seems like the only way to get a run off Alfson during the playoffs was to go yard.  That is what happened. Alfson would make a mistake pitch and the Bulls catcher would send it over the left field fence for a 2-run homer.  Unnerved, Alfson would get the next batter to fly out as the Buttermakers would take the Region 13C title with a 9-5 victory. 

All starters contributed in the Buttermaker hitting attack for the day, Eric Wieneke and Chris Halbur led the way with 3 hits.  Kellan Johnson chipped in with 2 hits with Blake Rogers, Max Zwart, Joe Larson, Trent Carlson and Derek Platt all getting 1 hit.  Kellan Johnson led Hadley with 4 rbis. Eric Wieneke and Chris Halbur had 2 rbis each with Max Zwart getting credit with 1 rbi for the game.  Sam Erickson earned the victory for Hadley.

Final Box Score:

                          R   H  E

Hadley              9  14    1

Jackson             5   9     1

Hadley will open State Tournament action on Saturday August 25th in Shakopee.  Hadley will face the winner of the Waconia/Buckman first round game.  Game time is set for 5:00 pm.  Hope to see you there.

The Hadley Buttermakers are looking at booking a fan charter to their first tournament game. Interested individuals should contact Bonnie Petersen at the Hadley Farmers Elevator at 836-6363.  Firm commitments and payment is needed before charter will be lined up.  Cost for charter expected to be $25 per rider.  The Buttermakers will need to know numbers by Wednesday August 22nd.