Buttermakers Win First Round
By: Mark Zinnel- Buttermaker Reporter
The Hadley Buttermakers began their run for a 7th straight Amateur Baseball State Tournament appearance as they started the first round of the Region 13C playoffs when they faced the 6th seed from the First Nite League, Mountain Lake Lakers, in the best 2 of 3 series. The Buttermaker prevailed in the first round playoff games as they took the series in 2 games. Here is the first round series recap”
Wednesday Game 1 in St. James
Hadley traveled to St. James on Wednesday evening to take on the Mountain Lake Lakers at Veterans Field. It has been 10 days since Hadley has seen any baseball action due to COVID-19 issues, so it was going to be interesting to see how the extended lay-off would affect the Buttermaker bats. Hadley faced the Lakers with a very limited bench so Manager Myron Bennett had few bench moves available to him. The Buttermakers would have to rely on their experience in this first round game. Rookie, Avery Weber was given the starting nod to take on the Lakers.
This is Avery’s first experience in playing in a play-off game and this youngster proved he was up to the task as he faced Laker starter, Andrew Hirsch. Hirsch, himself, had the task to shut down an experienced Butteremaker line up and he too proved that he was up to the task. Both starters were stingy in giving up hits to their opponents but Hadley was able to get 2 more hits than Mountain Lake. Those 2 extra hits were biggies as the Buttermakers would escape with a 3-1 victory.
Hadley got off to a good start in the 1st. With 2 outs, Kellan Johnson would send a pitch over the left field fence for a quick 1-0 lead. Avery Weber looked like he would shut down the Lakers in order in the bottom of the inning, but Trent Carlson would drop an infield pop up to put a runner on base. The runner would advance to 2nd on a stolen base, but Avery would strike out the Laker clean-up hitter to move the game along. Both starters would not give up any hits through the 3rd inning. Avery Weber ran into a slight problem in the 3rd inning when walked 2 Laker batters with 2 outs. Avery would get the 3rd out on a routine fly ball to right field.
In the 4th Inning Kellan Johnson would get Hadley’s 2nd hit of the game when he singled to left with 1 out. He would advance to 2nd on a stolen base, but that would be as far as he would go. Mountain Lake would get their first hit off Weber in their at bat to start the inning off. Mountain Lake tried a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner. Avery was quick to get to the bunt and throw the runner out at 2nd base. Hadley would turn a double play to end the inning.
Mountain Lake pulled even to Hadley in the 6th inning. Avery ran into some control problems. After getting the 1st out, Avery would walk and hit the next Laker batters to put 2 runners on. Avery would get a fly ball for the 2nd out. The next batter would battle at the plate and finally hit a ground ball just out of Joe Larson’s reach at short and roll into left field. Denver Decker charged the ball and his throw to the plate was high as the run slid across the plate while the other 2 runners advance to 2nd and 3rd. Avery would get another routine fly ball out to end the inning all tied at 1-1.
In the 7th, Mountain Lake applied another charge to take the lead. Mountain Lake would lead off the inning with a single. A successful sacrifice bunt would move the runner to 2nd. Avery would walk the next batter forcing a pitching change. Nick Bruning was brought in to squelch the Laker scoring threat. Nick would hit the next batter to load the bases. With the infield drawn in, Nick would get a slow grounder to Joe Larson near the bag at 2nd base. Joe would fall down as he got to the ball and step on the bag on his knees and stand up and get the runner out at 1st for an inning ending double play.
Alex Petersen would lead off the 8th for Hadley with a single, but Hadley was unable to move him around. Nick Bruning would walk a Laker batter, but Mountain Lake couldn’t take advantage as the game headed into the 9th all tied.
Joe Larson led off for Hadley in the 9th. Joe would hit a high hopper to short. As the Laker shortstop came rushing in, the ball bounced over his glove into left for a single. Nick Bruning would hit a hard hit fly ball to left for the first out bringing up Kellan Johnson. Kellan would put himself into a 0-2 hole. He would take the next 2 pitches for balls to even the count. Kellan would then get a pitch he liked and send the ball over the left field fence for his 2nd home run of the game giving the Buttermakers a 3-1 lead. Nick Bruning would put the Lakers in down order in the bottom of the inning to escape with the 3-1 victory.
Kellen Johnson had a great game for Hadley as he went 3-4 at the plate and accounted for all 3 rbis. Joe Larson and Alex Petersen collected Hadley’s other 2 hits. Avery Weber went 6 plus innings in his start and limited Mountain Lake to just 3 hits. Nick Bruning was awarded the victory as he held Mountain Lake hitless in his 2 2/3 innings of relief.
Final Box Score
R H E
Hadley 3 5 2
Mt. Lake 1 3 0
Saturday Game 2 in Hadley
Hadley was hoping to put the Lakers away and avoid having to play on Sunday. Just like on Wednesday night, Mountain Lake was not going to make it easy for the Buttermakers. Sam Erickson took the ball to turn the Lakers upset bid awry.
The Lakers started out the game with a lead-off single. The runner was quickly erased on a 1-6-3 double play. A routine fly out ended the Lakers first at bat. Hadley came up to bat and led off with singles by Joe Larson and Nick Bruning. Kellan Johnson fouled out for the first out and then Max Zwart grounded onto a double play to end the Buttermakers at bat.
Mountain Lake would lead the 2nd inning off with a single. A fielder’s choice would follow. The Laker runner would advance to 3rd base on a passed ball and wild pitch, but that would be as far as Sam would let the runner go. Hadley couldn’t do anything in their at bat in the 2nd.
Hadley would get on the board in the 3rd inning. The Laker starter got the first 2 Buttermakers outs without any problem. Joe Larson would then single and Nick Bruning would follow with a 2-run homer over the left field fence. Kellan Johnson would follow with a single, but Max Zwart would ground out to end the inning with Hadley in front; 2-0.
Mountain Lake would get a runner on base in the 4th but Sam Erickson held the Lakers at bay. Hadley would add to their lead in the bottom of the inning. Eric Wieneke and Alex Petersen led off by reaching base after getting hit. Justin Benda would move the runners up a base on a successful sacrifice bunt. Wieneke would come into score on a Trent Carlson ground out. Denver Decker struck out to end Hadley’s scoring.
Mountain Lake would put a serious threat to score in the 5th. The Lakers first 2 batters would single. A sacrifice bunt would move the runners up a base. The Buttermaker infield would be brought in. The next batter would hit a grounder to Max Zwart at 1st. Max checked the runner back at 3rd. The cat and mouse game ensued as Max debated on getting the out at 1st. The runner at 3rd made a move to head to the plate. Max would throw to the plate and a rundown followed with Max finally tagging out the runner in the end. Both runners moved to 2nd and 3rd. Sam was then able to get the next batter to hit a sharp grounder to Nick Bruning at 3rd. Nick made a long toss to Max Zwart at first that was low, but Max was able to scoop up the throw for the 3rd out keeping Mountain Lake scoreless. Hadley would put 2 runners in scoring position but failed to add to their lead.
Sam Erickson would shut the Lakers down 1-2-3- in the 6thand 7th innings. Hadley would add an insurance run in the 7th. Nick Bruning and Kellan Johnson would lead off with singles. Kellan Johnson would come around to score when Eric Wieeneke doubled. It looked like Hadley would blow open the lead, but the Laker starter would bear down and leave the 2 Buttermakers on base in scoring position and only a 4-0 lead.
Both teams would put 2 runners on base in the 8th innings. Both starters would hold their ground and leave runners on base in scoring position, as the game moved to the 9th inning.
Sam Erickson was set to shut down the Lakers and walk off with a shutout. Things started out right for Erickson and Hadley. Sam Erickson recorded the 1st out on an infield pop-up. The next Mountain Lake batter would single. Things then got dicey as the next batter would hit a pitch that just cleared the left field fence to cut Hadley’s lead in half. Max Zwart was brought in to relieve Erickson. Max would struggle with the first batter he faced but got a strike out for the 2nd out. Max when then induced a soft ground ball that Avery Weber corralled at 1st base and stepped on the bag to end the game with Hadley walking off with a hard fought 4-2 victory.
Nick Bruning led the way for Hadley going 3 for 3 and driving in 2 runs. Joe Larson and Kellan Johnson picked up 2 hits each, with Eric Wieneke and Trent Carlson getting 1 hit each and picking up 1 rbi each. Sam Erickson picked up the win with Max Zwart earning the save.
Final Box Score
R H E
Hadley 4 9 0
Mt Lake 2 8 1
Hadley will now have to wait to see how the Region 13C seeds fall out to see who their next opponent will be and where they will start play on Wednesday. Hadley will have a home game on Saturday with a 2:00 pm start time.