Angels crush Gnats to open the Region 14C tournament
MENAHGA - The Nimrod Gnats didn't have much of a chance against the Detroit Lakes Angels in the first round of the Region 14C tournament on Thursday.
At least when Angels starter Matt Olson didn't give Nimrod's hitters much of an opportunity to put the ball in play.
Olson tallied eight strikeouts over an eight-inning complete game to carry Detroit Lakes in a 10-0 win shortened by the mercy rule.
"Once my curve ball starting going over, it went pretty easy after that," Olson said.
He also helped himself by hitting a solo shot to left in the third inning that scored the first Angels run.
"I didn't think it had a chance," Olson said. "But I guess I'll take it."
Besides pitching and power, smart play scored runs as well.
With a runners on first and second, and one out on the board in the fifth, the Gnats third baseman didn't come in to protect against the bunt.
On his own volition, Chris Engberg saw an opening to lay one down.
"He was playing deep at third base," Engberg said. "I figured I could drop the bunt down and try to move the runners up."
The ball ended up drifting slowly to Nimrod pitcher Adam Johnson, who tried to make a play.
Johnson didn't notice that his third baseman, Aaron Funk, wasn't on the bag. He threw the ball and immediately knew that it went into foul territory. Wade Whitworth came home easily.
"Luckily he (Johnson) didn't see anyone there and (we) scored a run off of it," Engberg said.
"He did it on his own," said Angels coach/centerfielder Phil Kirchner of Engberg's bunt. "He's been playing baseball for 10-15 years and he's a pretty good No. 9 hitter."
Taylor Fuhs ended what turned out to be a three-run rally with an RBI single that scored Olson to put Detroit Lakes up 4-0.
Olson started the rally with an RBI single that brought in Noah Johnson.
The Angels continued to put the pressure on in the seventh during an inning that had the potential for conflict before cooler heads prevailed.
After Johnson gave up a sin-gle to Engberg, who then stole second, he then plunked Fuhs.
After a slow walk and stare-down at Johnson, Fuhs took his place at first. Johnson wasn't shy about the matter either as he took a few steps towards Fuhs before stopping.
That short confrontation didn't help Johnson's confidence as he gave up a three-run home run to Nick Omberg in the next at-bat.
The Angles went on to score three more times in the eighth, helped along by Omberg's two-RBI single.
Omberg ended up with three RBIs on the night.
Engberg's RBI single scored Matt Nustad for the first run of the inning.
At first glance, it didn't look as if Olson was heading for a good game. He allowed a walk and a hit in the first before buckling down to get two outs to end the threat.
"I was just overthrowing it in the first few innings," Olson said.
Nimrod also put two runners on in the fourth with two outs before Ben Bestland popped up to center.
The Gnats wouldn't get a runner on the rest of the way.
"It all starts with our pitching," Kirchner said. "When you can play with a lead, it's a lot more comfortable batting because you're not pressing yourself."
Detroit Lakes takes on Carlos on the road on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Region 14C Playoffs. Detroit Lakes at Nimrod, Thursday, July 31.
Angels 001 030 33 - 10 12 0
Gnats 000 000 00 - 0 5 2
AB R H Bi
Fuhs 4 1 2 1
Omberg 5 1 2 5
Kirchner4 0 0 0
Haus 4 0 0 0
Nustad 3 1 0 0
Mooney 1 0 1 0
Johnson 3 2 1 0
Whitworth 4 1 1 0
Bohr 1 0 0 0
Olson 4 2 2 2
Engberg 4 2 3 1
Totals 37 10 12 9
AB R H Bi
P. Funk 3 0 0 0
J.Brockpahler3 0 0 0
S. Funk 3 0 2 0
Johnson 3 0 0 0
A. Funk 2 0 1 0
Sumne 1 0 0 0
A.Brockpahler3 0 1 0
Bestland 3 0 0 0
Milbradt 3 0 0 0
Shequen 3 0 1 0
Totals 27 0 5 0
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k): DL - Olson (WP) 8-5-0-0-1-8 Nim-rod: Johnson (LP) 7-9-7-5-1-6; Shequen 1-1-1-1-0-2.