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Angels stumble vs. Bertha; prepare for playoffs

Angels' second baseman Nick Omberg throws out a Bertha batter at first base Wednesday during Detroit Lakes' home doubleheader against the Blazers.

Yes, this is baseball, but the Detroit Lakes Angels had a fumble at a crucial time of the season Wednesday at Washington Ballpark.

The Angels had firm control of their destiny to earn the top seed in the upcoming Hi-10 League playoffs before the visiting Bertha Blazers spoiled that with a doubleheader sweep of Detroit Lakes by the scores of 10-5 and 9-6.

The losses potentially could drop the Angels to the fifth seed or, depending how their games turned out Friday and Sunday, the No. 2 seed.

It's a quagmire of four teams fighting for the top four spots, all even with each other.

"Hopefully we'll be full strength for the playoffs with some of the guys coming back from vacations and so forth," said Angels co-manager Phil Kirchner. "We've proven we can pitch well and play defense well, but it's a bundled up Hi-10 this year."

Four errors led to the Angels' demise in game one, mixed in with some hot Bertha hitting, which accumulated 10 hits off of starter Matt Huberty.

The Blazers jumped on Huberty early with three runs in the first inning off of three hits and an error, but the DL pitcher settled in to pitch three scoreless innings.

Bertha kept hitting away, registering two hits in the fifth, along with another Angel error, to take a 5-0 lead.

Four hits in the sixth upped Bertha's lead to 8-0 and two in the seventh put them up 10-0.

Kirchner keyed a last-ditch effort by DL by blasting his second grand slam in three games to cut the gap in half at 10-5 -- but it was too little, too late.

Kirchner's searing hot bat stayed that way in game two, after he went 4-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, but the Blazer's offense was once again too much for DL to handle with 12 hits in a 9-6 victory.

DL pitcher Jon Tolbert grinded out five solid innings, giving up four runs (two earned) as DL held a 5-4 edge heading into the bottom of the sixth.

Max Saarinen relieved for Tolbert in the sixth with one out and a pair of runners on the pads, before Bertha started timing his pitches down for three runs -- all coming on a three-run homer over the leftfield fence for a 9-5 lead.

Again, it was too much for the Angels to swallow, as they loaded the bases in the top of the seventh (Bertha was the home team since it was a makeup game), but gained just one run on a Reed Oistad walk.

The Angels' had a clutch RBI single by Taylor Fuhs in the sixth to score Oistad, who had doubled earlier.

Zach Fulmer scored the first run of the two-run sixth after he led off with a single and took third and home on a pair of wild pitches.

DL did manage 11 hits, with four coming off of Kirchner's bat and each of Fulmer and Kyle Danner recording two.

"Bertha just hit the ball well and we couldn't hold them," Kirchner said.

Kirchner has been on fire at the plate by going 8-16, two grand slams and 14 RBIs in the last four games.

"I'm finally seeing the ball better after starting slow," Kirchner said. "Hopefully I continue this in the playoffs."

Even though the Angels could be a higher seed and host a playoff game, they will have to play on a neutral field Wednesday, since DL is hosting the VFW District playoffs starting the same day.

The top three teams coming out of the Hi-10 playoffs will qualify for the Region 14-C tournament.

Kirchner grand slam

propels Angels

Kirchner had a power surge this past weekend by racking up two home runs for a total of nine RBIs against the pair of Dent squads Friday and Sunday.

Kirchner's biggest blast came in DL's 16-4 spanking of the Dent Bulldogs Friday, as the Angels' co-manager lasered a grand slam in the third inning to give his team a commanding 9-0 lead.

He finished with seven RBIs in the tilt, while he notched another longball against the Dent Wildcats Sunday in an 8-3 losing cause.

The split enabled the Angels to remain in control of the Hi-10 League with a 9-5 record, while Bertha trails with a 9-6 mark and Wadena-Deer Creek and Perham are maintaining pace with 9-7 records.

In the 16-4 thrashing of the Bulldogs, Fuhs went 3-5 with three runs scored and an RBI, while second baseman Jeff Smerud was 3-5 with an RBI and Marcus Mooney collected three hits.

Justin Berg pitched the first four innings for DL, allowing just one hit, while Chris Gilson cleaned up the final three frames with eight strikeouts and two earned runs.

The Wildcats had their claws out and ready at the plate Sunday by compiling 21 hits against the Angels in an 8-3 victory.

Kirchner's two-run homer put DL up 2-0 early after one inning of play, but Dent scratched out five runs in the second on RBI singles by Troy Schrupp, Isaac Stoll, Brock Collins, Brandon Fritz and Ryan Hendrickson.

Dent added two runs in the eighth with Mac Stoll lining a one-out two-run double for a 7-2 advantage.

One more run in the ninth by Dent upped the ante to 8-3, as DL managed one tally in the bottom of the ninth on an error to score Trevor Tappe, who doubled.

Bryan Buhr gave up seven runs on the mound through eight innings, while Jon Tolbert gave up a run in the eighth.

Brock Collins went the distance, allowing only four hits.

Angels results

Bertha at Detroit Lakes, Wednesday, July 15.

Bertha 300 023 2 - 10 10 0

Angels 000 000 5 - 5 7 4

Detroit Lakes


K. Danner 3 0 0 0

N. Omberg 4 1 1 0

P. Kirchner 4 1 1 4

D. Dickey 3 0 0 0

Z. Fulmer 3 0 0 0

M. Huberty 2 1 2 0

B. Buhr 3 0 1 0

M. Saarinen 2 1 0 0

M. Mooney 3 1 1 1

Totals 27 5 6 5

HR: Kirchner...2B: Huberty.

Pitching: DL - Huberty (LP) 7-10-10-6-2-5.

Angels 200 012 1 - 6 11 1

Bertha 003 105 x - 9 12 0

Detroit Lakes


T. Fuhs 4 1 2 1

Omberg 3 0 0 0

Kirchner 4 2 4 1

Dickey 3 0 0 0

Fulmer 4 1 2 0

Buhr 3 0 0 0

T. Tappe 3 0 0 0

Oistad 3 1 1 1

Danner 4 1 2 0

Totals 31 6 11 3

2B: Fuhs, Kirchner, Fulmer, Oistad, Danner.

Pitching: DL - Tolbert 5.1-9-6-4-2-4; M. Saarinen (LP) .2-3-3-3-1-2.

Dent Wildcats at Detroit Lakes, Sunday, July 12.

Dent 050 000 021 - 8 21 3

DL 200 000 001 - 3 4 2

Detroit Lakes


T. Fuhs 4 1 0 0

B. Buhr 4 0 0 0

P. Kirchner 4 1 1 2

N. Omberg 4 0 0 0

Z. Fulmer 3 0 0 0

K. Danner 4 0 1 0

T. Tappe 4 1 1 0

J. Tolbert 4 0 0 0

M. Mooney 4 0 1 0

Totals 35 3 4 2

HR: Kirchner.

Pitching: DL - B. Buhr (LP)...Dent: B. Collins (WP).

Detroit Lakes at Dent Bulldogs, Friday, July 10.

DL 135 006 1 - 16 15 3

Dent 000 004 0 - 4 4 3

Detroit Lakes


Fuhs 5 3 3 1

C. Gilson 3 3 2 1

Kirchner 4 1 2 7

N. Eidenschink 1 0 0 0

Fulmer 3 1 1 1

M. Huberty 3 0 0 0

Tolbert 2 1 1 2

Danner 5 0 0 0

Buhr 2 2 0 0

J. Smerud 5 1 3 1

M. Jorgenson 0 0 0 0

J. Berg 0 0 0 0

M. Mooney 4 4 3 0

Totals 25 3 6 1

HR: Kirchner.

Pitching: DL - J. Berg (WP), Gilson (SV)...Dent: K. Ostlie (LP).

Hi-10 standings

Bertha 11-6

Detroit Lakes 9-7

W-DC 9-7

Perham 9-7

Bluffton 9-8

Dent Bulldogs 2-13

New York Mills 1-15.