Season ends for Angels with 4-1 loss to Braves in Hi-10 playoffs
For the first time in their history, the Detroit Lakes Angels -- the second incarnation of the team -- won't be making a trip to the state tournament.
The Bluffton Braves topped the Angels 4-1 in New York Mills in a Hi-10 League elimination game. Bluffton qualified for the Region 16C tournament as a result of the win.
It was over early, at least scoring wise, for the Angels as Bluffton jumped out to a four-run lead after two innings.
Kyle Geiser and Matt Seelhammer started the rally in the second by hitting two grounders straight to Detroit Lakes shortstop Jake Kiebke. Kiebke couldn't make a throw on either play.
"In playoff games, you need to play a perfect game to get into the regions," said Angels co-manager/ outfielder Phil Kirchner. "We gave up some unearned runs and put ourselves in the hole."
Cody Geiser scored Kyle Geiser and Kurt Mursu with a single to left.
The final run for the Braves in the game came when Brent Weller scored from third on a wild pitch.
Weller scored Bluffton's first run in the first inning.
He made it from first to third when Angels starter Matt Huberty missed Phil Doll at first, trying to get Cody Geiser out on a shallow excuse-me hit right back to the mound. The run came from a fielder's choice by Kyle Dyckhoff.
The Angels finally got on the board in the eighth, but it was a little late for the bats to materialize, as Dyckhoff, the Braves starter, didn't give the Detroit Lakes batters much to handle.
There wasn't much power shown by the Angels, as a lot of the batted balls ended up being popped up or hit right to an outfielder.
In a crucial stretch for Detroit Lakes, they left seven runners on base from the sixth to the eighth innings.
Kircher said that there weren't any excuses for the lack of offense with runners in scoring position.
"We didn't get some clutch hits," Kirchner said.
Chris Gilson scored the lone run for the Angels in the eighth. He walked to lead off the inning and Phil Doll singled. They moved up a base when Nick Omberg reached first after Cody Geiser committed a handling error at shortstop.
Kiebke hit grounder to Cody Geiser in the next at bat, for an RBI that scored Gilson.
In the seventh, the Angels managed to get two runners on with no outs and eventually loaded the bases. A strikeout, flyout and groundout ended the threat.
Huberty hung on for much of the game after giving up the runs early on. He got into a bit of trouble in the eighth with runners at second and third, but induced a pop-up to first to end the inning.
"Give him (Huberty) a lot of credit," Kirchner said. "Last week, we scored a bunch of runs and then this game, we just got one run across."
Dykhoff, though, didn't allow much either. He gave up six hits and struck out 10.
Wheels fell off for Angels late in season
At the start of the season, one of team's main concerns was defense.
And that proved to be the case throughout the season.
It was rare for the Angels to get through a game without committing multiple errors, especially in the final month of the season.
A blow to the team was losing out on the No. 1 seed for the Hi-10 playoffs.
Detroit Lakes held a two-game lead before losing four of its last five regular-season games.
That dropped the Angels to the fifth seed, where they didn't get a first-round bye and didn't get a home game.
Starting pitching turned out to be strength for the Angels, despite a concern going into the season as Matt Huberty recovered from a shoulder injury to pitch 67 1/3 innings in leading the team.
Bryan Buhr led Detroit Lakes record-wise by going 6-1 with one save.
On the offensive front, Fuhs led the team in hitting with a .340 average, and Kirchner hit six home runs and had 28 RBI.
While not making state was disappointing, Kirchner said that the Hi 10 League was balanced.
"Every year we try to get to the pinnacle of the state tournament," Kirchner said. "But this year we fell short. Next year, we need to get some young guys in there and work hard."
Detroit Lakes vs. Bluffton at New York Mills, Wednesday, July 29.
DL 000 000 010 - 1 6 3
Bluff. 130 000 000 - 4 5 2
AB R H Bi
T. Fuhs 4 0 2 0
C. Gilson 3 1 0 0
P. Kirchner 4 0 0 0
P. Doll 4 0 2 0
N. Omberg 3 0 0 0
J. Kiebke 4 0 0 1
D. Dickey 4 0 0 0
K. Danner 4 0 0 0
B. Buhr 3 0 1 0
Totals 33 1 5 1
AB R H Bi
B. Weller 2 2 1 0
C. Geiser 4 0 2 2
K. Dykhoff 3 0 1 1
M. Geiser 1 0 0 0
M. Sweere 4 0 0 0
W. Dykhoff 4 0 0 0
D. Geiser 4 0 1 0
K. Geiser 3 1 0 0
J. Seelhammer3 1 0 0
K. Mursu 3 0 1 0
Totals 31 4 5 3
Pitching: DL - M. Huberty (LP); B - K. Dykhoff (WP).