Angels peaking at right time; upset No. 1 seed
The hum of the Detroit Lakes Angels' playoff engine can be heard and it's getting louder.
The next highest gear was hit Saturday in Deer Creek as the fourth-seeded Angels upset the top-seeded Wadena-Deer Creek Shockers 3-2, thus ensuring DL a berth in the Region 14C tournament, which starts Thursday, July 31.
"We finally have everyone back in the lineup, which is a big help," said Angel co-manager Mark Jorgenson.
The 2008 Angels' version has been that of a broken down one, with injuries in crucial spots throughout the regular season.
Defense has also been lacking, but Saturday against the Shockers, both defense and depth played an important role in the victory.
For the start of the Hi-10 League playoffs, the healing has already begun.
"It's a big win, going on the road and beating the top seed in their own park," Jorgenson added.
The victory sends DL to Perham Friday night, where they will face Bluffton at 7:30 p.m. Both teams are in the regions, while the winner of W-DC and Perham will earn the third spot.
Saturday's game featured a pitching dual -- and a big double play by DL in the bottom of the eighth to squelch a W-DC rally -- between the Angels' Justin Berg and the Shockers' Jordan Wohlwend.
The Angels struck first, scoring in the second inning.
With one out, Matt Nustad reached on a Shocker error, advanced to second base on a fielder's choice and scored on a Chris Engberg single.
The Shockers answered right back in the home half and tied the game up as Jeremy Erickson singled with one out and would score on a fielder's choice with two outs.
In the top of the eighth, the Angels picked up a pair of decisive runs.
Noah Johnson walked to start the inning and Berg sacrificed Johnson to second.
Nustad followed with a single to left, which scored Johnson.
Nustad advanced to second base on the play from where he would score on a Matt Olson single to give the Angels a 3-1 lead.
The bottom of the Angels' order came up clutch, as all three RBIs were produced by the bottom three batters. Nustad went 2-5, with two runs scored with an RBI, while Olson and Engberg each had a hit and RBI.
"When we can bat Engberg at the No. 9 spot, we are a much better team," Jorgenson said. "Offensively, it is a matter of having everyone in the lineup."
The Shockers came right back in the bottom of the eighth, as Jamie Nordlund singled to lead off, and Travis George was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second.
Matt Huberty came on to relieve Berg, with JJ Truax hitting a short fly to center that fell in front of Kirchner who came up with the ball and forced out George at second for the first out.
Erickson was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Andrew Dornbush fouled off several pitches before singling to center to score Nordlund and cut the score to 3-2.
Casey Johnson came up for the Shockers and grounded into a shortstop to second to first for a huge double play.
Olson made the play of the day, as he was able to scoop the throw out of the dirt at first to end the Shockers threat.
Huberty retired the Shockers in the ninth, with a strikeout and two lazy fly balls to pick up the save. Berg picked up the win for the Angels, by pitching seven plus innings allowing two earned runs on six hits.
With a win Friday night against Bluffton, DL will host the Hi-10 championship game Sunday. A loss will force the Angels to play Saturday at the winner of the W-DC and Perham tilt.
Hi-10 League playoffs: (4) Detroit Lakes at (1) Wadena-Deer Creek, Saturday, July 19.
Angels 010 000 020 - 3 8 0
Shockers 010 000 010 - 2 7 2
AB R H Bi
T. Fuhs 5 0 2 0
N. Omberg 4 0 0 0
P. Kirchner 3 0 2 0
T. Haus 4 0 0 0
N. Johnson 4 1 0 0
J. Berg 0 0 0 0
M. Huberty 1 0 0 0
C. Griffin 2 0 0 0
M. Nustad 5 2 2 1
M. Olson 4 0 1 1
C. Engberg 3 0 1 1
Totals 35 3 8 3
Pitching: DL - J. Berg (WP), M. Huberty (SV)...WDC: J. Wohlwend.