Angels secure berth in second-straight state playoffs
CARLOS - The Detroit Lakes Angels know that their margin for error is low this time of the year with the playoffs in full swing.
After beating the Clarissa Flyers 7-4 on Sunday in the Region 14C tournament, the Detroit Lakes Angels did well enough to come out on top.
In the end, a win is still a win and Detroit Lakes booked a return ticket to the state amateur baseball tournament for the second straight season.
"We've started playing well at the end of the year and our pitching and defense have been coming through in the last week or two or so," Angels player/coach Phil Kirchner said. "That's what wins games."
Andy Kratzke and Terry Haus - each batted in two runs apiece as part of a five-run rally in the second inning that put the Angels on top for good.
Kratzke had his first chance to make a difference with the Angels after being drafted from the Perham Pirates following the Hi-10 League playoffs to help give regular catcher Taylor Fuhs a break.
After not playing much thus far in the playoffs, Kratzke said the adjustment wasn't that difficult.
"It's not too bad," he said. "I played with lot of these guys back when back they played in Perham. You just don't try to do more than you physically can.
"It's a game that I've played since I've been little, so it's not too hard."
He went 2-for-3 at the plate, while also drawing a walk.
All in all, the Angels brought 10 men to the plate in the second.
Clarissa could have jumped out to a large in the first, but was limited to scoring just the game's first run.
Detroit Lakes starter Nick Berg struck out the first two Flyers batters before struggling with his control.
Berg allowed a single and then three straight walks to score Jared Morrill from third.
But Berg induced a popout to get out of the jam.
He pitched 4 1/3 innings - allowing eight hits and two runs - after throwing three innings of relief in Saturday's win over Carlos.
The Flyers' big inning came in the fifth when they scored three to cut Detroit Lakes' lead to 5-4.
Mike Hinzmann and Scott Lieser had RBIs. Hinzmann's came from a single and Lieser hit into a fielder's choice.
Hinzmann scored after Angels reliever Matt Huberty's throw to first on a routine play was off target.
With runners on second and third, and two outs, Huberty induced an easy fly to get out of trouble.
The only other spot of trouble that Huberty got into came in the sixth with runners first and second with no outs. A grounder, strikeout and a long fly ended the Flyers' last real chance for a comeback.
Clarissa's loss came down to unfulfilled chances. The Flyers stranded 14 baserunners on the afternoon.
Saturday's win over Carlos came down to a combination of hustle, the Cougars' 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.
The Angels have a week off before the Region 14C title game next Sunday in Carlos. The game gets underway at 1:30 p.m.
Detroit Lakes vs. Clarissa in Carlos, Region 14C playoffs, Sunday, August 3.
Angels 050 010 001 - 7 9 1
Flyers 100 030 000 - 4 10 0
AB R H Bi
Fuhs 5 1 2 0
Omberg 5 0 0 0
Kirchner 4 0 2 1
Haus 4 1 1 2
Johnson 3 1 1 0
Nustad 3 0 0 0
Olson 3 1 0 0
Griffin 4 1 1 1
Kratzke 3 2 2 2
Totals 34 7 9 6
AB R H Bi
Johnson 4 0 1 0
Kuhn 5 0 2 0
Morrill 5 2 1 0
Blum 4 1 1 0
B. Hinzmann 4 0 2 0
M.Hinzmann 3 1 2 2
Lieser 5 0 0 1
Greenwald 4 0 0 0
Cuchna 4 0 1 0
Totals 38 4 10 3
Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) Detroit Lakes: Berg 4.1-8-2-2-3-8, Huberty (WP) 4.2-2-2-1-4-2. Clarissa: Noland (LP) 1.2-5-5-5-2-0, Cuchna 4.1-2-1-1-2-2, B. Hinzmann 3-2-1-1-0-1.
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. C: Jenzen (LP) 9-4-3-0-2-7.