Angels' Region 14C ascension still on track
CARLOS - A brilliant offensive display didn't lead the Detroit Angels to a win over Carlos in the Region 14C playoffs on Saturday.
It wasn't superior pitching either - notwithstanding a good performance on the mound from Detroit Lakes starter Chad Griffin.
Instead, a combination of hustle, Carlos' miscues and a couple of crucial calls by the umpiring crew led Detroit Lakes to a 3-2 victory.
Rallying in the seventh from a one-run deficit, the Angels put the final two runs up in a surprise swoop compared to previous innings.
Matt Olson hit a double for Detroit Lakes' second hit of the game to start the rally. Chris Engberg singled to move Olson to third and then stole second.
Taylor Fuhs struck out for the second out before Nick Omberg reached on a handling error by Cougars shortstop Justin Steidl.
Steidl bobbled the ball for a split second that allowed a hustling Omberg to beat the throw by a hair. Olson came home to tie the game.
"They were shaky all day in the field, so I kept hustling," Omberg said. "(And) good things happen."
Omberg thought it would be a routine grounder to end the inning.
"You never know," he said.
Meanwhile, Engberg kept running hard as he rounded third. Ryan Severson threw home, but it was too late. Engberg slid under the tag for what turned out to be the winning run.
The drama wasn't over quite yet.
Carlos attempted a rally of its own in the top of the ninth - the Cougars were the road team after losing a pre-game coin flip.
Steidl walked and tried to steal second. Fuhs threw a bullet to second to Omberg, who got the tag down.
At least that's what the second-base umpire thought on the bang-bang play. The ump didn't hesitate, though, on the close play as he immediately signaled an out once he realized that Omberg still had the ball.
It turned out that out mattered more than usual in the scheme of things. Ben Bruggeman doubled later in the at-bat that would have scored the tying run.
Bruggeman later went to third.
Angels reliever Justin Berg bore down and struck out two straight Cougars batters to end the game.
Before Detroit Lakes took the lead, the Cougars had a chance to tack on a few insurance runs in the sixth.
Carlos had runners on the corners with one out.
Aaron Noetzelman's bunt to Griffin, who threw to Fuhs at home to tag out Troy Putnam at the plate stopped what looked like a sure run.
"Grif made a great play fielding the bunt and made a good feed," Fuhs said.
Another ball hit straight to Griffin, who tossed it to first, ended the threat.
The Cougars had two runners in scoring position in the fifth. But a 1-3 play and a strikeout frustrated Carlos yet again.
Carlos' only runs came in the second.
An error by Griffin, plus two straight hits loaded the bags.
Griffin threw a wild pitch to score the first run.
The second run to come across was part of an inning-ending controversy.
Joe Snaza singled to bring in Putman from third. Steidl tried to score and appeared to cross the plate before Noetzelman was thrown out trying to advance from first to third.
The home plate umpire ruled that Noetzelman was out before the run scored.
Detroit Lakes' first run came in its turn of third as part of a three-error inning by Carlos' defense.
Fuhs reached on an attempted double play that went awry on Steidl's throwing error to first.
With his feet doing the most of the work, Fuhs sole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on an error by catcher Brad Nyberg trying to throw him out at third.
All totaled, the Cougars had seven errors in the game.
Griffin pitched six innings in striking out eight and allowed six hits. Berg picked up the win with three innings of relief in allowing one hit and striking out two.
Cougars starter Neil Jenzen didn't fare badly despite being tagged with a loss. He threw a complete game in allowing just four hits. All three runs scored by the Angels were unearned.
"Carlos is a good team every year," said Angels player/coach Phil Kirchner. "We knew we had to play perfect game to beat them. Except for that inning where we gave them two runs, we played near perfect."
Detroit Lakes travels to Carlos again on Sunday for a 1:30 affair where the winner advances to the Region 14C title game next Saturday.
Carlos vs. Detroit Lakes, Saturday, August 2.
Cougars 020 000 000 - 2 7 7
Rangers 001 000 20X - 7 4 3
AB R H Bi
Noetzelman 4 0 1 0
Snaza 5 0 1 1
Severson 3 0 0 0
Nyberg 4 0 0 0
Nathe 4 0 1 0
Jenzen 4 1 0 0
Putnam 3 1 1 0
Steidl 3 0 2 0
Bruggeman 4 0 1 0
Totals 34 2 7 1
AB R H Bi
Fuhs 4 1 1 0
Omberg 4 0 0 1
Kirchner 3 0 0 0
Haus 4 0 0 0
Johnson 4 0 0 0
Nustad 4 0 1 0
Griffin 2 0 0 0
Berg 1 0 0 0
Olson 3 1 1 0
Engberg 3 1 1 0
Totals 29 3 4 1
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) DL: Griffin 6-7-1-0-3-8, Berg (WP) 3-1-0-0-1-3. Carlos: Jenzen (LP) 9-4-3-0-2-7.